Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, and their American stories — how checking multiple boxes on a survey helped redefine race in America.
For the first time, citizens of the United States were not asked to define themselves by checking a single ethnic box in the census. In all of the census counts through 1990, an individual’s race was supposed to be indicated by checking only one of the boxes presumed to correspond to the main social racial categories. Thus, there was no allowance made for multiracial identification, although the category “other” was recognized in the 1980 and 1990 census and on many local record-keeping forms. Advocates worked throughout the 1990s to rescind this “one box” policy. This change will lead to a discussion of the demographics of hybridization and the hybridization of demographics at the turn of the 21st century in the U.S. and in the world. We will also look at the concept of race as a construct and the notion of racial purity.
Teja Arboleda, is a filmmaker, television producer, director, writer, entertainer and founder of the multi-platform multimedia company Entertaining Diversity, Inc.. Arboleda’s 2008 documentary, “Crossing The Line: Multiracial Comedians”, won a Telly award for its intelligent look towards the relationship between humor and race.
Noel Ignatiev Ph.D. is an American history professor at the Massachusetts College of Art best known for his call to “abolish” the white race, a race defined primarily by access to “white privilege”. Ignatiev is the co-founder and co-editor of the journal Race Traitor and the New Abolitionist Society. His dissertation on antebellum northern racism against Irish immigrants, How the Irish Became White (Routledge), asserts that through acts of violence against free blacks and support of slavery, the Irish, initially discriminated against themselves, gained acceptance as members of white America.
Kimberly McClain DaCosta is Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and of Social Studies at Harvard. DaCosta is interested in the intersections of cultural ideas of race and family and their practical effects. Her book Making Multiracials: State, Family and Market in the Redrawing of the Color Line (Stanford University Press) examines how multiracialism emerged as a topic of public discussion in the last quarter century, and how “multiracial” became a recognizable social category and mode of identification.
Maureen T. Reddy Ph.D. is a member of the Department of English at Rhode Island College. She has written extensively about race. Her books include Traces, Codes, and Clues: Reading Race in Crime Fiction, Crossing the Color Line: Race, Parenting, and Culture, and Traces, Codes and Clues: Reading Race in Crime Fiction.