evaluate the multiracial category debate in a way that takes them all into account.
My goal in writing this book has been to provide the fullest account of multiracial identity politics that has yet been compiled. Thus, I have striven to integrate historical and current conceptions of race in the United States, the dependence of multiraciality on biological race, the significance of federal racial
categorization and its relation to civil rights compliance monitoring, and discussions of the need to move away from racial classification eventually, into a comprehensive work that delves into far more detail than any article and that has
more conceptual weight and thematic unity than any anthology. The effort has
been worth it in terms of my own determination to write sincerely and forcefully
about the problem of racial categorization in the United States, but if it contributes in some way to eroding the race concept in America, it will have been
well worth it many, many times over.
Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made ( New
York: Vintage Books, 1974), 414.
Race terms in this book are always a reference to people's misguided belief in the illogical American racial paradigm. Given that my topic concerns the notion of racially distinct and racially mixed people in the United States, my use of such terms in some instances is necessary as I endeavor to engage the current racial paradigm and provide
evidence of its shortcomings. Race terms in this text, therefore, should always be read as if
preceded by the words so-called. It was my original intention to illustrate the contested and
problematic 3nature of race terms by always presenting them in italics, and up until my
final revisions that is how the manuscript read. However, I found the resulting number of
italicized words in the text somewhat distracting, and so in a concession to practicality I
let that idea go. Some will no doubt take issue with my use of Afro-American as a substitute for black. I acknowledge this criticism and can only offer that at the very least AfroAmerican is somewhat farther removed from the notions of race and biology that the term black invokes. The only other alternative would have been to deploy a cumbersome phrase
such as "persons who are perceived as, or who consider themselves to be, black or AfroAmerican," which would have been even more distracting than the italicized terms.
Unless otherwise noted, references to America and American apply specifically to the United States.
Michael Omi and
Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the
1960s to the 1990s, 2d ed. ( New York: Routledge, 1994), 3.
Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, "Revisions to
the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity," by Sally Katzen
, Federal Register62, no. 210 ( October 30, 1997): 58782, 58784. With regard to the
multiracial category question, OMB announced that it was accepting the recommendation of its Interagency Committee for the Review of the Racial and Ethnic Standards. For
the full report of the interagency committee, see Executive Office of the President, Office
of Management and Budget, "Recommendations from the Interagency Committee for the
Review of the Racial and Ethnic Standards to the Office of Management and Budget Con-