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

By Rainier Spencer | Go to book overview

5
Final Proposal, Final Recommendation,
Final Decision

Will look forward to giving you and ii [the Interracial Individuals Discussion List] updates in the weeks ahead and I encourage them all to make their feelings known -- to be supportive of the interagency recommendations so we don't get lost in the "politics" of others who do not wish us well and only wish to manipulate our community for their own personal or political goals.

-- Ramona Douglass, president, Association of MultiEthnic Americans1


Proposal

The challenge for America lies in determining how to move away from the fallacy of race while remaining aggressive in the battle against racism. As an aspect of civil rights compliance monitoring, federal racial classification ironically works against the former goal while serving the latter especially well. Any alteration to federal racial classification therefore demands the closest scrutiny. The claim of multiracial advocates that a federal multiracial category would destabilize race and at best do no harm to antidiscrimination monitoring efforts is not credible. The reality is that a federal multiracial category would not serve these purposes, but would instead inhibit them both by cementing the idea of race further in place while simultaneously reducing the effectiveness of civil rights compliance monitoring.

One of the more interesting developments to emerge from the 1997 congressional hearings on revising OMB Directive No. 15 was the abandonment in May of that year of an explicit multiracial category by Project RACE in favor of a "mark all that apply" (MATA) alternative, and the subsequent support of that alternative by the Association of MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA).2 This development represented no less than a fundamental strategic shift in approach by the primary multiracial advocacy organizations in the United States. Whether this modification was voluntary in the sense of being the result of considered changes

-167-

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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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