News Stories

What Race are You?

Newswise - The races identified in the U.S. census are: white(Caucasian), black (African-American), Hispanic (usuallySpanish speaking natives from South America), NativeAmerican (American Indians) and Asian. The problem is thatpeople are allowed to check more than one box in reply toracial questions. When this happens, government computersidentify them as full members of their minority race, evenif they are partially (or mostly) white.

Sociologist David Harris says "Because race is a socialconstruct, the allocation of individuals into racialcategories is a social process. As a result, a person whoseexpressed race is white and Asian might be treated as Asianby some people, but multiracial or white in contexts wherealternative racial ideologies are operational." An exampleof this is the golf champ Tiger Woods, whose mother is blackand whose father is Asian. He considers himself Asian, whilethe media seems to consider him black, probably becausethere are so few golf stars from that race. Harris thinksour racial data will continue to be wrong as long as weallow people to identify their race themselves. Harris says,"Race is important, but the individual is the wrong unit ofanalysis."

In other words, even though we THINK or FEEL like we belongto one race, scientists may say we actually belong to another.

Photo credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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