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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What Creates Our Identity

Chart by Glenn Robinson of CommunityVillage.us  -- click to enlarge

Charts to assist those who ask 
"What are you?"
"What am I?"

Chart by Charo Robinson

Make your map free at bubbl.us

Our identity is made up of our culture, our nature and our self. 

"There are no races, there are only clines."
-Frank Livingstone, anthropologist

It has been illegal for the government of France to collect data on ethnicity and race since 1789.
However, civil rights lawyers in the U.S. use 'race' data to prove discrimination. 
Colors are not races.
People are Tints and Shades of flesh color.
Original photo from National Geographic.

If there were black and white people, their offspring would be grey.
"Citing Blumenbach by name, Emerson agrees that races shade into each other imperceptibly."
-Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People
The 'race' check boxes are not derived from physical science, but from political science with an underlying ideology of exclusion.
Makeup from brushesbykaren

Hair from headkandy
In 1997, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists urged the American governmnet to phase out the use of race as a data category and to substitute ethnic categories instead. Geneticists studying DNA ... were also concluding that race as a biological category made no sense. --Nell Irvin Painter
Some chapters from the book "Modernizing the U.S. Census"
Modernizing the U.S. Census
Modernizing the U.S. Census
Modernizing the U.S. Census
YouTube response explaining One Human Race

Here is the information I could not find on the US census website. The answers to the questions: How many 'race' categories does the US feel are worthy of recognizing? Why has the US been collecting data on race and ethnicity? How is the data used?

From the webpage:

A Brief History of Census “Race”

Changes in “Racial” Categories

A problem faced by the census today is that many Americans no longer take the “race” question seriously. This is a consequence of the 1960 switch to self-reporting. Having opened the door to self-classification, the bureau has been unable to stop millions of Americans from checking off the “other” category and filling in “human,” or something equally frivolous or non-racial. To discourage such lack of cooperation, the bureau has threatened criminal prosecution of anyone who fails to choose a government-approved “race.” From 1790 to 1880, the census recorded only “color,” not “race.” The word “race” first appeared in the census in 1900. From 1900 to 1940, the census asked each person’s “color or race.” In 1950, the word “color” was dropped and the census asked only for the person’s “race”. In 1970, “color” made a brief comeback. The census asked each person’s “color or race,” as in the 1900-1940 period. This was the last census to use the word “color.”

Changes in Stated “Racial” Goals
The earliest mention of the need to classify free Americans by “race” was in the late 17th century, long before the census (or the nation) was founded). At that time (1691-1723), the reason given was that: (1) Racial classification was necessary to prevent intermarriage, (2) Intermarriage had to be prevented to stop the birth of Americans of mixed Euro-Afro ancestry, (3) The existence of mixed-ancestry Americans would enable alliance between European and African involuntary forced laborers, and (4) Such alliance would overthrow English rule and turn colonies into free maroon communities.[19] In fact, Latin American colonies encouraged intermarriage (and consequent mixed-ancestry colonists) and yet were not overthrown. In the 1830s, as a consequence of the Nat Turner incident, free African Americans came to be seen as a threat. The justification for “racially” classifying Americans on the census was to prevent African-American migration to the free states. Several Midwestern states’ constitutions forbade African-American immigration.[20] In fact, no evidence ever emerged that free African Americans were a threat. In the 1850s, intermarriage was believed to produce mentally defective offspring. Census “scientists” published findings that mixed-ancestry children were usually born retarded or insane. And so, the justification for “racially” classifying Americans on the census was to prevent intermarriage and thus protect public health.[21] In fact, even cursory examination of the data shows it to be falsified, since many communities reported more insane mixed-race individuals than their entire population. In the Jim Crow era (1900-1965), the elites in power argued the importance of preserving “White racial purity.” The justification for “racially” classifying Americans on the census was that it helped to prevent contamination of the White “race.”[22] In fact, liaisons between White males and Black females were encouraged while the reverse was often punished with death by public torture.[23] Since 1970, U.S. society has tried to atone for slavery and the state-sponsored terrorism of the Jim Crow era by enforcing laws, regulations, entitlements, policies, and practices that favor African Americans. Since that time, “racially” classifying Americans on the census has been justified on the grounds that such classification is needed in order to fight “racism.”[24] In fact, no “anti-racist” or civil rights federal regulation or law enforcement over the past 30 years has ever used census data.[25]
Multiracialism In America - Jane Junn

Choose one or more: ☐ Mixed ☐ Other ☐ Unsure ☐ Don't know ☐ None of your business
Snoop finds out what percentage of Native American, European and African he is.

Should I stop using the word "race"?
Unless you are a physical anthropologist, or discussing the word itself, the word 'race' should be avoided.
Replace the word 'race' with ethnicity. True, the meaning is different, but conversations about human differences usually revolve around ethnic differences.
The term 'race' equates to the noun 'breed'. Humans do not want to be thought of as breeds.  -getgln Nell Irvin Painter Professor of American History, Princeton Speaking about the History of White People
Using the term 'race' runs the risk of sounding uneducated, and worse, the risk of sounding racist.
NYTimes.com - Being Multiracial in America‬

Mixed‬ Listen at 3:20

Learn More about 'race' and ethnicity at understandingrace.org


  1. The U.S. government uses the term "white" instead of European-American to avoid reminding everyone that white people are not native; Indian / Native American is used to avoid reminding everyone that Indigenous Native American's were in the Americas first.

  2. There is negativity associated with the word 'race'. There is racist baggage with sorting people by races and there are many in-between 'races'.

  3. It's poetic justice that sorting academic scores by 'race' has shown that Asians as a group statistically have the highest scores. Now "closing the achievement gap" is about everyone catching up to the academic performance of Asians.