civil rights law; constitutional law; law and race


The focus of this Article is the underlying assumption of the Brookings Institution report that multiracial individuals constitute a separate racial category. My discussion of legal racial categories focuses only ongovernment “racial” definitions. Multiracial individuals should enjoy thefreedom to self-identify as they wish—and, like others, be afforded theprotections of antidiscrimination law.The question is whether a separate legal racial category is needed to provide that protection. Race in this country has been “crafted from the point of view of [white] race protection” protecting the interests of white Americans from usurpation by non whites and, unless the creation of a separate multiracial legal category advances this goal, change will be resisted. Commentaries grounded in Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause and federal statutory antidiscrimination jurisprudence shape the construction of racial categories in U.S.law. This jurisprudence influences the racial categories and definitions used for the census. The next Part briefly discusses the attempt to get a multiracial category on the U.S. census.