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

By Rainier Spencer | Go to book overview

though, there are attempts to distort the debate and to shift the issues under consideration away from what they are, thereby reframing the discussion in terms that are not valid. One sees this when multiracial advocates attempt to turn federal racial classification from a civil rights compliance monitoring tool into a vehicle for the enhancement of self-esteem and the validation of personal identity. It is apparent also when proponents of multiracial ideology invoke an alleged "right to self-identify" without providing any philosophical argument as to why such a right, even were it to exist, would be satisfied by the addition of a single new category to the federal standards.

Generally, the inconsistencies and logical errors of the multiracial position have not been part of the debate. Rather, the opponents of a federal multiracial category have accepted without question the distorted parameters set by multiracial advocates. In this chapter, I have outlined practical objections to instituting a multiracial category, the most prominent being the harmful impact on civil rights compliance monitoring that would ensue. In doing so I have subjected federal multiracial category arguments to a level of analysis they heretofore have not been required to endure. The stakes here, which include the crucial need to maintain momentum in the battle against overt and covert racial discrimination in the United States, demand nothing less.


Notes
1.
House Subcommittee on Census, Statistics, and Postal Personnel, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, Hearings on the Review of Federal Measurements of Race and Ethnicity, testimony by Steven Carbo on June 30, 1993, 103d Cong., 1st sess., April 14, June 30, July 29, and November 3, 1993, 194.
2.
Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, "Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity", by Sally Katzen, Federal Register 59, no. 110 ( June 9, 1994): 29832.
3.
Reading the text of the congressional hearings held on the OMB 15 review in 1993 by Representative Thomas Sawyer, and in 1997 by Representative Stephen Horn, one comes upon agency after federal agency expressing satisfaction with the existing federal race categories as minimum standards.
4.
House Subcommittee on Census, Statistics, and Postal Personnel, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, Hearings on the Review of Federal Measurements of Race and Ethnicity, 103d Cong., 1st sess., April 14, June 30, July 29, and November 3, 1993.
5.
House Subcommittee on Census, Statistics, and Postal Personnel, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, Hearings on the Review of Federal Measurements of Race and Ethnicity, testimony by Sally Katzen on July 29, 1993, 103d Cong., 1st sess., April 14, June 30, July 29, and November 3, 1993, 220.
6.
National Research Council, Committee on National Statistics, Spotlight on Heterogeneity: The Federal Standards for Racial and Ethnic Classification, Summary of a Workshop, ed. Barry Edmonston, Joshua Goldstein, and Juanita T. Lott ( Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1996), v.

-160-

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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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