Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Brandeis Journal of Family Law

Publication Date

1997

Abstract

The public dissemination of census data invites battles over how human beings will be known. One census battle that has been at the forefront of the public debate is the demand for a "multiracial" category. The multiracial classification, as proposed, would be one of the race categories a respondent could choose in lieu of those currently listed by the Office of Management of Budget (OMB): American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, White, or Other. The stated aim of the new racial classification is to obtain a more specific census count of the number of mixed-race persons in the United States. Yet, the recent governmental recommendation to count mixed-race persons, by authorizing for the first time the checking of more than one racial category, is viewed as unacceptable to Multiracial Category Movement (MCM) spokespersons, because of the absence of an actual multiracial category. Thus, an OMB decision to permit multiple box checking as a mechanism for counting mixed race persons will not terminate the MCM census battle. After analyzing what interests interracial families have in a multiracial category itself, this commentary will address the question of whether the MCM has any legal recourse for demanding an actual multiracial category.

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