Multiracial America As our country becomes more multiracial, are we becoming more tolerant and accepting?
History American people are mostly multi-ethnic descendents of various culturally distinct immigrant nationalities. We are a country of “mutts”
History http://www.understandingrace.com/history/index.html http://www.understandingrace.com/lived/game/index.html Although we can celebrate the many victories that have faced our fight against discrimination, we still live in cities towns , communities and neighborhoods that are segregated by race. What is race?
Race Race does not exist in nature. Race is constructed by society. Race is an indicator of differences, but there are no biological differences between us. The primary indicator of race has primarily been skin color. “Whiteness gives us status.” During the 1920’s not even the color of skin guaranteed whiteness – Japanese and Irish – “not white”.
Reasons for Diversity Immigration patterns Interracial marriages increasing US military presence in Asia Most importantly Loving vs Virginia
Loving vs Virginia Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving were married in the District of Columbia. They moved to Virginia and were charged for violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. The judge sentenced them to one year or suspended sentence if they left the state. He said, “ Almighty God created the races, white black, yellow , malay and red and he placed them on separate continents…the fact that He separated the races means He did not intend for them to mix.” Supreme Court overturned the decision in 1967
Thurgood Marshall In 1967 Thurgood Marshall was only months away from appointment to the Supreme court when he suffered an indignity which today seems outrageous. He and his wife could not live in Virginia because he was black and she was Asian. The supreme court struck down the anti-interracial laws in Virginia and 18 other states. In 1967 these laws were not leftover scraps from an extinct era. A Gallop poll done in 1965 showed that 72 percent of Southern whites and 42 percent of Northern whites wanted to ban interracial marriages.
Eldrick Woods and wife Kultida Fast forward to more recent times and another black and Asian couple – Their son is Tiger Woods. He is black and Asian , but also Chinese, white and American Indian. Tiger has refused to be labeled and has embraced his multiracial heritage.
Census The 2000 census over 6.8 million Americans marked an identification with two or more races. The 2000 census was the first census to allow respondents to choose more than one race.
2.4 percent of the United States is multiracial Hawaii has the largest multiracial population. – 24.1 percent of its population. Alaska is second with 5.4 percent. The five least multiracial states are Mississippi, West Virginia, Maine, Alabama, and South Carolina. All have multiracial populations less than 1 percent
Multiracial Celebrities Jimi Hendrix – Black, Caucasian and American Indian Malcom X – Half African American, ¼ Grenadian, ¼ Caucasian Mariah Carey – Black father, Irish mother Halle Berry – black father, white mother Vin Diesel - ? Admits he is multiracial but refuses to name specifics – good for him. Tyson Beckford – black and chinese Tiger Woods - Cablinasian – white, black and asian.
Hypodescent – or the one drop rule Americans are uncomfortable with the idea that you can be more than one thing. One drop rule is deeply ingrained in our society. Obama has led to some frank discussions about race (see below) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehhxGC0cd4E http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtWgl1qF3Y0
Future projections It is expected by 2050, the majority of the US population, nearly 75 million, will identify with more than one race. Thirty years ago it was 1-100, today it is 1-20.
What does it mean? The multiracial individual is a visible indication of our country’s move towards acceptance not just tolerance. As we become more integrated as a society, discussions of race may become unnecessary. Diversity is not only about race but experiencing various perspectives, values and the thoughts they bring with them.
Ways to combat racism. Face our reluctance to discuss race. Realize that sometimes it isn’t what we say it is what we do not say. Let children lead the way. Confront stereotyping when it occurs. Don’t wait for Heritage Days and History months. Beyond Tolerance: Expecting Acceptance.
When they asked –Arnold Arnaff When they asked If I was Black or White or what. I said: I was Black and White and what difference did it make to them. and they said: did I have the answers to the math problems? and I had the answers.