American Turban

The growth of the multi-racial

"Martin Schoeller’s unexpected portraits illustrate America’s 'melting pot' nature." (Source: National Geographic)

“Martin Schoeller’s unexpected portraits illustrate America’s ‘melting pot’ nature.” (Source: National Geographic)

In the National Geographic, Lise Funderburg writes about the growth of the “multiracial” in the United States (via @v4vaishali):

…for most multiple-race Americans, including the people pictured here, identity is a highly nuanced concept, influenced by politics, religion, history, and geography, as well as by how the person believes the answer will be used. “I just say I’m brown,” McKenzi McPherson, 9, says. “And I think, Why do you want to know?” Maximillian Sugiura, 29, says he responds with whatever ethnicity provides a situational advantage. Loyalties figure in too, especially when one’s heritage doesn’t show up in phenotypical facial features, hair, or skin. Yudah Holman, 29, self-identifies as half Thai and half black, but marks Asian on forms and always puts Thai first, “because my mother raised me, so I’m really proud of being Thai.”

And, while race may no longer be considered by the mainstream as primarily along black and white lines, it still matters. The article cites a study from the University of Colorado which suggests people identify race even faster than they identify one’s gender. As such, this has implications for those who would be considered multiracial:

We may be a pluralist nation by 2060, when the Census Bureau predicts that non-Hispanic whites will no longer be the majority. But head counts don’t guarantee opportunity or wipe out the legacy of Japanese-American internment camps or Jim Crow laws. Whites, on average, have twice the income and six times the wealth of blacks and Hispanics, and young black men are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. Racial bias still figures into incarceration rates, health outcomes, and national news: A recent Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial family prompted a barrage of negative responses, including claims of white genocide and calls for “DIEversity.”

Read more at the National Geographic.

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