Perspectives on Race

A Discussion about Events Concerning Race

How Much is Enough?

with 6 comments

I recently got an email regarding the ethnicity survey, mentioned in an earlier blog, which is now on ISIS . The email reads referring to selecting one’s race: “New guidelines permit students to make multiple selections, instead of just one.” Reading this email made me wonder what it takes for people to consider themselves of one or multiple races. I remember growing up, if you were of more than one race, you would just check the ‘MULTICULTURAL‘ box on all your forms and that would do it. Although I always though this was a little ambiguous, leaving it open to check as many boxes as one sees fit seems overdone and possibly even more vague and ambiguous.

So what does it take to consider yourself part of one of multiple races? I have a great grandfather who is native american, making me one-eighth seminole. Would that qualify me to check ‘NATIVE AMERICAN‘ on that survey? What percentage would qualify?

Or would it be what you consider yourself culturally? I obviously don’t consider myself native american, and even though I’m half white, I identify myself as my other half Asian because that’s how I was mentally brought up and thats the culture I was raised in. At least before everyone of more than one race could check the ‘MULTICULTURAL‘ box and not have to worry about getting into the details.

How would having a system so ambiguous and vague and the one suggested in this email lead to any continuity?

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Written by justinjayjones

October 21, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. I can see how this could bring about a lot of confusion, especially since many people have very diverse backgrounds. I want to know what the point of it is… if an individual is multiracial/cultural why do they want specifics? Also, do they want you to list the exact percentage (like you mentioned 1/8 Native American)?

    rhenf1989

    October 22, 2009 at 5:22 pm

  2. This kind of ties in with the whole race situation of our president. Everyone refers to him as the first black president although really he’s half black and half white. So, why don’t people refer to him as a multicultural president. Plus he grew up in a white community, not a black one.

    derekjwood

    October 23, 2009 at 1:39 am

  3. This is so true. I have often wondered how one goes about identifying themselves with one race or another. It seems that it has more to do with the way that you are brought up (how one defines themself, that is.)

    kellerae

    October 23, 2009 at 2:23 am

  4. I completely agree. i am in the same situation i dont necessarily consider myself just one ethnicity. I hate having to choose one over another. Interesting point made.

    mzarandy1

    October 23, 2009 at 8:07 pm

  5. I think the purpose of allowing multiple selections is so people have the option of selecting multiple races rather than being expected to only select one. How people decide what race or category they belong to is completely based upon their beliefs, appearances alone are hard to tell so people select the groups of which they most associate with.

    3graffiti

    October 24, 2009 at 4:36 am

  6. I have heard of people labeling themselves as ‘multicultural’ even though those parts in question may be as minute as 1/32nd or so, just to appear something other than white. I consider myself primarily hispanic because of my culture and the way I was brought up… I think everyone will define themselves differently perceive being multicultural uniquely from others.

    alinak88

    November 6, 2009 at 12:44 am


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