It became more apparent when evaluating the 2010 Census that Americans are diversifying their views of race. One in 14, or 21.7 million of the United States Census takers chose to write in their own response when it came to when identifying their race. Terms such as “Arab,” “Mexican,” “Haitian,” and “multiracial” were frequent responses according to NBC Latino.
“I have my Mexican experience, my white experience but I also have a third identity if you will that transcends the two, a mixed experience,” explained Thomas Lopez who chose to write in his own response. “For some multiracial Americans, it is not simply being two things, but an understanding and appreciation of what it means to be mixed.” The Census Bureau first offered the ability to check an alternate box since 2000 and since then people like Lopez have been doing just that.
The increase of people marking “some other race”, 24 percent, could cause a skewing of information for those evaluating the Census which is used to help allocate government funds, implement anti-discrimination laws and draw political districts.
“The world is changing, and more people today feel free to identify themselves however they want — whether it’s black-white, biracial, Scottish-Nigerian or American. It can create challenges whenever a set of people feel the boxes don’t fit them,” said University of Minnesota sociology professor Carolyn Liebler.
The Census Bureau has been using focus groups to search for ways to offer better responses for those filling out the Census. ”These histories of exclusion, discrimination, and racism are central to the identities of several minority populations,” commented Howard University sociologist and former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau, Roderick Harrison.