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Race and Multiracial Americans in the U.S. Census | Pew Research Center
From 1790 to 1950, census takers determined the race of the Americans they counted, sometimes taking into account how individuals were perceived in their community or using rules based on their share of “black blood.” Americans who were of multiracial ancestry were either counted in a single race or classified into categories that mainly consisted of gradations of black and white, such as mulattoes, who were tabulated with the non-white population. Beginning in 1960, Americans could choose their own race. Since 2000, they have had the option to identify with more than one.

The first census in 1790 had only three racial categories: free whites, all other free persons and slaves. “Mulatto” was added in 1850, and other multiracial categories were included in subsequent counts. The most recent decennial census, in 2010, had 63 possible race categories: six for single races and 57 for combined races. ... responses to the Census Bureau’s question about “ancestry or ethnic origin.” Here respondents are allowed to write in one or two responses (for example, German, Nicaraguan, Jamaican or Eskimo). These can then be mapped into racial groups.

For most of its history, the United States has had two major races, and until recent decades whites and blacks dominated the census racial categories.17 (American Indians were not counted in early censuses because they were considered to live in separate nations.) At first, blacks were counted only as slaves, but in 1820 a “free colored persons” category was added, encompassing about 13% of blacks.18

In a society where whites had more legal rights and privileges than people of other races, detailed rules limited who was entitled to be called “white” in the census. Until the middle of the 20th century, the general rule was that if someone was both white and any other non-white race (or “color,” as it was called in some early censuses), that person could not be classified as white. This was worded in various ways in the written rules that census takers were given. In the 1930 census, for example, enumerators were told that a person who was both black and white should be counted as black, “no matter how small the percentage of Negro blood,” a classification system known as the “one-drop rule.”

Some race scientists and public officials believed it was important to know more about groups that were not “pure” white or black. Some scientists believed these groups were less fertile, or otherwise weak; they looked to census data to support their theories.20 From the mid-19th century through 1920, the census race categories included some specific multiracial groups, mainly those that were black and white.

“Mulatto” was a category from 1850 to 1890 and in 1910 and 1920. “Octoroon” and “quadroon” were categories in 1890. Definitions for these groups varied from census to census. In 1870, “mulatto” was defined as including “quadroons, octoroons and all persons having any perceptible trace of African blood.” The instructions to census takers said that “important scientific results” depended on their including people in the right categories. In 1890, a mulatto was defined as someone with “three-eighths to five-eighths black blood,” a quadroon had “one-fourth black blood” and an octoroon had “one-eighth or any trace of black blood.”

The word “Negro” was added in 1900 to replace “colored,” and census officials noted that the new term was increasingly favored “among members of the African race.”22 In 2000, “African American” was added to the census form. In 2013, the bureau announced that because “Negro” was offensive to many, the term would be dropped from census forms and surveys.

Although American Indians were not included in early U.S. censuses, an “Indian” category was added in 1860, but enumerators counted only those American Indians who were considered assimilated (for example, those who settled in or near white communities). The census did not attempt to count the entire American Indian population until 1890.

In some censuses, enumerators were told to categorize American Indians according to the amount of Indian or other blood they had, considered a marker of assimilation.23 In 1900, for example, census takers were told to record the proportion of white blood for each American Indian they enumerated.

In the 1960 census, enumerators were told that people they counted who were both white and any other race should be categorized in the minority race. People of multiracial non-white backgrounds were categorized according to their father’s race. There were some exceptions: If someone was both Indian and Negro (the preferred term at the time), census takers were told the person should be considered Negro unless “Indian blood very definitely predominated” and “the person was regarded in the community as an Indian….

In most censuses, the instructions to enumerators did not spell out how to tell which race someone belonged to, or how to determine blood fractions for American Indians or for people who were black and white. But census takers were assumed to know their communities, especially from 1880 onward, when government-appointed census supervisors replaced the federal marshals who had conducted earlier censuses…

It was not until the 1980 census that all Americans were asked whether they were Hispanic. The Hispanic question is asked separately from the race question, but the Census Bureau is now considering whether to make a recommendation to the Office of Management and Budget to combine the two.

Until 1980, only limited attempts were made to count Hispanics. The population was relatively small before passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which broadly changed U.S. policy to allow more visas for people from Latin America, Asia and other non-European regions. Refugees from Cuba and migrants from Puerto Rico also contributed to population growth….

The addition of the Hispanic question to census forms reflected both the population growth of Hispanics and growing pressure from Hispanic advocacy groups seeking more data on the population. The White House responded to the pressure by ordering the secretary of commerce, who oversees the Census Bureau, to add a Hispanic question in 1970.
classification  race  census 
23 hours ago by shannon_mattern
Kim WhyNot on Twitter: "White privilege doesn't mean your life hasn't been hard. It means that your skin color isn't one of the things making it harder."
“White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard.

“It means that your skin color isn’t one of the things making it harder.”
privilege  race  2018  twitter 
yesterday by handcoding
Old Urbanist: American Zoning as an Expression of Nativism
"A connection that hasn't been made as clearly is how single-family zoning and the total exclusion of commercial uses were specifically targeted at the immigrant businesses and housing options described above. A newly-arrived immigrant (and most people in general) did not have the capital to construct an entire "mixed use" building. After some time, though, he might be able to add a very small commercial addition onto an existing building, as shown in the photo above, or convert the first floor into a storefront. Zoning would forbid this development in two ways: first, by instituting setbacks, and secondly by eliminating commercial uses altogether. Even native residents needed commercial uses in close proximity, but these were to be relegated to special corridors where competition would be greater and immigrants would have more difficulty gaining a toehold."
zoning  history  race  us 
yesterday by pacpost
Probe found Fla. police chief told officers to pin unsolved crimes on random black people: report
The police chief in a small Florida town is accused of encouraging his officers to pin unsolved crimes on random, nearby black people so the department would have a better arrest record, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.
race  law 
2 days ago by jellis

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