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For those with multiracial families, how do you identify race when you can only choose one option?

I remember being told once by a juvenile detention officer that for mixed kids they [the state] identifies race according to the striking physical features--meaning I am categorized as 'Black' because I have a dark complexion although I identify myself as Asian-American.

My son, on the other hand is half Puerto Rican, about a quarter Black, & a quarter Asian & while the most obvious answer for this situation is Hispanic or Latino, I wonder how do other families feel about this situation? My son's father is not as involved as he would like to be since he lives in a different state so my son is mostly exposed to a lot of Asian culture through me & my mom. Knowing first hand the experiences of being a mixed kid, I would never ask my son to choose only one thing to identify himself as, but I absolutely HATE having to fill out official forms for schools, assistance, etc that do not allow you to choose more than one option. Even when I try to leave them blank when I go to turn them in the person helping me will ask me again & I will simply say I am primarily Black & Asian while his father is full Puerto Rican to which they always circle the Hispanic/Latino option.

So what do you do? I know it's silly, but man oh man do I imagine myself having a little temper tantrum each time I run into these situations--like how can you categorize my son as just this when he is really mixed with a whole bunch of things!?

Also note, I am aware of the 'Other' option, but I'm talking about when even this option isn't listed because I would definitely settle for that!

Answer Question

Asked by crystaLuv at 1:47 AM on Apr. 29, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 7 (169 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • I am AA and my husband is Caucasian. I used to get so angry and insist on putting both. I had this one lady insist that I choose so i chose Other. If I can't put multi racial or Black and White then I choose Other. That's if I put anything at all.

    Answer by MokaMommy at 1:53 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • I personaly think that this question should be dropped off applications. A lot of us if we traced our family origions would find that we have many lines. Such as native american and Irish with a bit of scottish. I know when I fill out a app or paper work for my two kids that are puerto rican and my line is mixed as well but considered white, I put latin with other and list it all.
    What exactly is the question for any way? is it going to influence the reader to not except you because of your blood line or color? Perhapes so they can keep a record of your race for when things go wrong or right. then they can point a finger. As for identity perposes they have a picture of you on file with your state ID or DL. That it self should be enough.
    I look at race as being the color of your skin and it is only skin deep. It doesn't tell anyone who you are as a person. it is just another way that you can be judged upon and that is sad.

    Answer by A522R at 2:03 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • Great question by the way and it is totaly frustrating and can be insulting too... If the other option is not there I put it there. All your lines are what makes you and it is like shuting the door on your family heritage if you have to choose just one option.

    Answer by A522R at 2:09 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • By law, you are never required to answer this portion, under any circumstance.

    For your child's race-related social cognition, however, remind him that the elements of his DNA are a unique, precise blend that make him the special person he is meant to be; he will, in turn, learn to love his uniqueness and appreciate it in others as well.


    Answer by Dr.MJ at 3:20 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • Most have a new option called "other" I check that

    Answer by zoejains_momma at 3:25 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • I'd leave it blank if you can't list but one or if you have to check other.I see checking other as one downgrading their culture.

    Answer by prdVirgobby at 8:06 AM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • I go by the one drop rule. Even though my kids are biracial (mixed with black and white) I still consider them black.

    Answer by keisha613 at 12:23 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

  • Im white my husband is from Pakistan. They are consider to be asian, I guess
    my daughter is asian american al though once I put white, then i put asianamarican
    & from now on i will be putting ( non of your dam business) Im sorto of confused what to put know too
    she is starting to look more asian then white & I love that.
    A522R I am irish/scottish on my dad side & my moms is german & polish. Had a polish lady tell me I have polish cheek bones &a scttish women tell me my maiden name (JONES) is a scottish name, anyway yes if you look you will see that we are all mixed w/ something

    Answer by ZeenaS.Muh at 2:53 PM on Apr. 29, 2011

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