Photograph by Martin Schoeller
"…The U.S. Census Bureau has collected detailed data on multiracial people only since 2000, when it first allowed respondents to check off more than one race, and 6.8 million people chose to do so. Ten years later that number jumped by 32 percent, making it one of the fastest growing categories.
The multiple-race option has been lauded as progress by individuals frustrated by the limitations of the racial categories established in the late 18th century by German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, who divided humans into five “natural varieties” of red, yellow, brown, black, and white. Although the multiple-race option is still rooted in that taxonomy, it introduces the factor of self-determination.
It’s a step toward fixing a categorization system that, paradoxically, is both erroneous (since geneticists have demonstrated that race is biologically not a reality) and essential (since living with race and racism is).
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