The Myth of Race and Self-Identification


The US Census of 1850 described people by Color. There were 3 choices which included “white”, “black”, or “mulatto”. Mulatto described as a mix of colors. In the US Census of 1880 people were described by 5 choices of Color with the choices, “white”, “black”, “mulatto”, “Chinese”, and “Indian”. As you can see race as described by color was starting to fall apart as a definitive way to determine race.


So, in the US Census of 2000 people were described by both race/ancestry with 14 choices. One of the choices was the option to make up your own race, if you did not believe you fit into one of the choices.


So, what is indicated is that race is a social construct or an invention of society. Race is only legitimate because people agree to behave as if race exists. So, why not agree to a racial makeup of Black-Red ancestry and write that in next time you have an opportunity to self-select your race/ancestry or in the space labeled “other” write in Black Red race/ancestry.


Article by CherokeeCloud

Written September 18, 2006

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