A question about being multiracial came up in my office?

  1. I was wondering if anyone knew the answer to this...

    What do you have to be to be considered multiracial? I was told you have to be part black to fit in this category. How much is part black? Is it 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 etc. Any ideas? I tried to google to find the answer to this, but can't.

    I do know multiracial is not being 1/2 white and 1/2 latin...go figure...it is if you think about it. That is two different races.

    Also, what percentage black do you have to be to be considered black?

    This all came about when people were discussing all the forms you have to fill out for pretty much everything in life...from jobs, to registering for things like school, on exams etc.

    Any help is appreciated.
  2. Interesting work discussion, lol. You know, I actually never really thought about it. I didn't even know they didnt consider someone multiracial unless they were part black either. . .weird. Sorry I'm not much help, I'm very interested to know the answer(s) as well.

    PS. It always takes people awhile to register the fact that I'm half black when I tell them. I look a lot more like my mom so I'm considerably lighter than my brother who takes after my dad, and even though we have the exact same parents no one believes us right off the bat that we're full brother and sister. Also, for all my school records I'm registered as black so people dont expect. . .well, me. Heh :shame:
  3. weird!
    To me personally, multiracial would be if you are multi-racial! LOL!
    meaning a mix of 3 or more races.
    2 would be bi-racial to me. . . but why would it depend on which races you are?
  4. Race is so difficult to "prove". Most racial categorization is based on what the person physically looks like.

    The multiracial category is not just for black people...it's for anyone of various racial ancestry. Could be Latino/white, Asian/white, Black/white, Black/Asian, Latino/Asian....

    There used to be some categories to denote how much African ancestry a person had....mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, mestizo. But people don't seem to use them anymore.
  5. isn't it more weird that it even matters?
    I'm caucasian, but the largest percent of me is Native American weighing in around 25-35%.
    I personally think it's a little ridiculous that ANY form can even ask this question. Why does it matter, KWIM?
    It shouldn't change whether you're admitted to a school, get insuarnce coverage. . . .
  6. From what I understand having worked for Uncle Sam at one time, you are what you declare yourself ethnically. The only groups that *might* be asked to show proof are Native Americans, many are asked to show they are descendents of people that were on the Dawes Rolls (tribal lists).
  7. They don't even issue "Indian Cards" anymore. . . my Mother has one, I should really try to get one before she isn't here anymore. Apparently you can get one if your immediate relative has one.
  8. There used to be something called the "one drop rule" but that applied only to people with African heritage. Here is a wikipedia article about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-drop_rule or you can google for more about it.

    I think the only law that currently applies to racial classification today is for claiming Native American tribal status, and someone needs at least 1/16th heritage to do that.
  9. ^interesting. . . I've never claimed it, but am well over 1/16th.
  10. Okay, I am a Sociology Prof, so this is the "official sociological" answer. What proportion of black you need to have to be considered black varies by what country you are in. In the US, the general view is what's called the "one drop rule" If you have any percentage of African American ancestry, you are considered African American. This was not always the case here. Historically, if you had 25% or less, you could decide for yourself. In effect, you can decide for yourself anyways as no one is "checking" and the categories are fairly meaningless anyways--from a biological point of view the categories are arbitrary and meaningless. And socially constructed! How's that for some fancy language on a purse forum! Latino is not a race--it's an ethnic designation which refers to culture. Latinos are often multi-racial though. If you use a three-race category system, then you have to be black to be multiracial because if you are only of two categories, then you are bi-racial. If you had a system with more races (when I was growing up in the 50s, I was taught in school that there were five races. That seems to have changed) then you wouldn't have to be part black because you could be of 3 or more of the other races. I know this is a thick answer, but I've just condensed a whole semester of Urban Ethnic Minorities into one post.
  11. I never realized that being multi racial needed to hinge on any percentage of any particular race, just that it needed to be more than 2....I would hope the black/not-black part would be in error.
  12. Regarding what I said about Native Americans, I can't actually find a link to support it. So I'm not sure that the federal government actually has a 1/16 standard at all. It might just be a standard that many tribes hold for membership.

    I looked on the Bureau of Indian Affairs website and it says "Each tribe determines whether an individual is eligible for membership. Each tribe maintains it's own enrollment records and records about past members."

    I just want to make sure I wasn't spreading misinformation.
  13. I just read the wikipedia entry and to be honest it makes my brain bleed. However, I do get it that if one is not visibly black, you can determine yourself as whatever... Is that true?
  14. i agree with swankymama...black is the only other race now? whatever!

    multiracial is anything more than one (i guess one could be both multi and bi-racial).
  15. Wow-- what a topic... I think that most of us whose families have been here in America more than 2-3 generations are most likely 'multi-racial'. And as for black-- there a very few black Americans (non-immigrants) who aren't multi or bi-racial.