Spurious Issues: Race and Multiracial Identity Politics in the United States

By Rainier Spencer | Go to book overview

4
The Multiracial Category Initiative

If we have multiethnic categories, are they going to be telling us something? . . . With the multiracial/multiethnic categories being comprised of so many different combinations, what would the data tell us? What is the commonality? among individuals in these categories?

-- Steven Carbo, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund 1


Overview

The multiracial ideology outlined in Chapter 3 has given rise to a growing movement, generally referred to by its constituents as the multiracial movement, that seeks to modify, though not challenge, the American racial paradigm. The movement is made up of various groups and organizations ranging from college support groups to regional associations to a national umbrella organization, the Association of MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA). Efforts sponsored by some in this movement -- specifically AMEA and another national organization, Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) -- have been designed to change the designations used to categorize people racially on school, hospital, employment, government, and other forms. Although the two organizations have at varying times taken different strategic positions, at one point they shared the goal of revising OMB Directive No. 15 by adding an explicit multiracial designation to the existing official U.S. racial categories and to the census. Whether separately or jointly, however, these organizations have lobbied the U.S. government consistently on behalf of their respective causes.

The basic position of these two organizations (although there is significant ideological variation between them, as I shall describe) can be articulated by the following three points: (1) that some sort of basic right to have one's heritage acknowledged is being abridged by the absence of a federal multiracial category, (2) that the lack of a federal multiracial category is a specific health hazard, and (3) that a federal multiracial category will facilitate the dismantling of the American

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Spurious Issues: Race and Multiracial Identity Politics in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • A Note About Electronic Sources xiii
  • Acronyms xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 10
  • 1 - The American Racial Paradigm 13
  • Notes 49
  • 2 - Federal Racial Categorization 55
  • Notes 82
  • 3 - Multiracial Identity 87
  • Notes 119
  • 4 - The Multiracial Category Initiative 125
  • Notes 160
  • 5 - Final Proposal, Final Recommendation, Final Decision 167
  • Notes 185
  • 6 - Thinking About Transcending Race 189
  • Notes 198
  • Bibliography 201
  • Index 213
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