The Brain Likes Categories. Where To Put Mixed-Race People?

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Humans like to place things in categories and can struggle when things can’t easily be categorized. That also applies to people, a study finds, and the brain’s visual biases may play a role in perceptions of mixed-race people.

The study, published in Psychological Science on Monday, asked people to sort images of people as either white or black, but it included multiracial faces in the mix, too. There has been much less research into attitudes about mixed-race people, even though they are the fastest-growing racial group in the United States.

The 235 study participants, who all self-identified as white, signed up through the online survey site Mechanical Turk and provided their ZIP codes. The researchers then used U.S. Census data to determine their level of exposure to other racial groups.

People who lived in areas with more racial diversity categorized the faces with less hesitation, according to analysis of the participants’ use of a computer mouse during the experiment.

The researchers say that by using mouse tracking they were able to get a clearer sense of the participants’ reactions, unlike other studies of unconscious racial bias that have relied on surveys where participants could change or correct their answers. The mouse movements of those who lived in less racially diverse areas meandered more between the two choices before picking one.

“Where you live influences how easily you process biracial faces which may, without your awareness, be affecting your attitudes toward them,” according to Diana Sanchez, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers and an author of the study.

The researchers then asked a second group of 148 people to rank images of white, black and mixed-race faces for trustworthiness. The participants all identified themselves as white. Those who had more exposure to mixed-race people in real life were less likely to categorize them as untrustworthy.

Some of the bias could be explained not just by lack of familiarity, but by the brain’s insistence on putting people into rigid categories, according to Jonathan Freeman, an assistant professor in New York University’s department of psychology who was lead author of the study. “Some portion of the bias in certain cases can be explained from the way we visually experience other individuals.”

In other words, in some measure it’s literally an issue of perception.

Data & Identification of Multiracial Students

    Contrary to Prior Publication, Minority Enrollment Increasing







from The Miami Student – Opinion


To the editor:

In the Feb. 26 edition of The Miami Student, the article “Campus Climate Forum Discusses Minority Retention” cited a decrease of “between 25 and 80 percent” in domestic minority student enrollments at Miami in recent years, based on a study by James Porter. This statement is incorrect — enrollments of domestic racial and ethnic minority students have steadily increased on the Oxford campus, from 1,610 students in 2009 (9.5 percent) to 2,286 students in 2015 (12.1 percent).

The data to which Dr. Porter refers came from our office (the Office of Institutional Research) but were incorrectly interpreted by Porter and his students. Porter reviewed five years’ worth of enrollment reporting. During that five-year period, the guidelines for reporting race/ethnicity to the federal government changed.

Beginning in 2010, students were allowed to self-identify more than one race/ethnicity. Prior to 2010, multiracial students could only identify one race/ethnicity. For federal reporting, this coding change means that multiracial students who previously identified as a single race are now included in the category multiracial.

As the result of this classification change, Miami has gone from zero multiracial students on the Oxford campus in 2009 to 568 multi racial students in 2015.

Internal reporting allows us to see that 144 of the multiracial students identified Black or African-American as one of their races, but they are not counted as Black or African American for federal reporting — they are counted as multiracial. The same is true of the other racial categories — the number of students self-identifying as a single racial category has decreased because students are now able to self-report as multiracial.

Essentially, Miami University’s enrollment of domestic minority students has increased in recent years. More students are identifying as multiracial rather than a single racial category.

I respectfully request that you print a correction indicating that enrollment of domestic minority students on the Oxford campus has actually increased in recent years, not decreased.

If you would like to review the data, detailed historical enrollment information by racial/ethnic category is publically available on our website.

Denise A. Krallman
Director, Office of Institutional Research

Andrea I. Bakker
Associate Director, Office of Institutional Research

Now THAT’S Encouraging! Demographics of Federal Workforce Summarized

At a time when most of us could not be any more baffled by the world of government and politics in the United States, we were surprised and delighted to see the following report in which the feds used the term “multiracial” in their own demographics! That is something to feel good about!

Following is an excerpt from the latest OPM annual report on demographics of the federal workforce describing how it is changing over time and how it compares with the overall labor force.

The percentage of minorities in the Federal Workforce increased by 0.4 percent to 35.3 percent in FY 2014 from 34.9 percent in FY 2013, which is notably greater than the percentage of the Civilian Labor Force that is comprised by minorities (32.5 percent). The Federal Workforce is 18.1 percent Black, 8.4 percent Hispanic, 5.6 percent Asian, 0.4 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.7 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, 1.2 percent Non-Hispanic/Multi-Racial, and 64.7 percent White. Minorities as a whole constituted 35.3 percent of the Federal Workforce.

Black employees represented 18.1 percent (343,663) of the permanent Federal Workforce as of September 30, 2014, compared to 18 percent in FY 2013.

Hispanic employees represented 8.4 percent (159,540) of the permanent Federal Workforce as of September 30, 2013, compared to 8.3 percent in FY 2013.

Asian employees represented 5.6 percent (106,111) of the permanent Federal Workforce as of September 30, 2013, compared to 5.5 percent in FY 2013.

Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander employees represented 0.4 percent (8,486) of the permanent Federal Workforce as of September 30, 2014, the same as in FY 2013.

American Indian/Alaska Native employees represented 1.7 percent (31,409) of the permanent Federal Workforce as of September 30, 2014, that same as in FY 2013.

White employees represented 64.7 percent (1,229,456) of the permanent Federal Workforce as of September 30, 2014, compared to 65.1 percent in FY 2013.

Non-Hispanic Multi-Racial employees represented 1.2 percent (22,752) of the permanent Federal Workforce as of September 30, 2014, compared to 1.1 percent in FY 2013.

Women comprised 43.2 percent (821,899) of all Federal permanent employees as of September 30, 2014, compared to 43.4 percent in FY 2013.

Men comprised 56.8 percent (1,079,518) of all Federal permanent employees as of September 30, 2014, compared to 56.6 percent in FY 2013.

The percentage of minorities in the Senior Executive Service (SES) increased by 0.8 percent to 20.7 in FY 2014, compared to 19.9 percent in FY 2013 . The SES is 11.1 percent Black, 4.4 percent Hispanic, 3.2 percent Asian, 0.2 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.2 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, and 0.6 percent Non-Hispanic/Multi-Racial.

The percentage of women in the Senior Executive Service (SES) increased by 0.2 percent from 33.7 percent in FY 2013 to 33.9 percent in FY 2014.


Portuguese today, Hispanic tomorrow?

Portuguese today, Hispanic tomorrow?
The United States Census Bureau is at it again. Now, they are planning to add Portuguese to the Hispanic classification of ethnicity for the 2020 National Census. This is an important issue to the Portuguese community and to the multiracial community especially for those who have some Portuguese heritage.
Project RACE is working with Portuguese community leaders and The Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States (PALCUS) to ensure that the community knows about the Census Bureau plans. It is important that people get involved in this issue now. Planning for the 2020 census has already begun. 
PALCUS is conducting a national survey to answer this question: Should Portuguese be considered Hispanic? Please take the time to fill out the survey at the following link:
The survey thus far has approximately a 75% NO response to the specific question: Do you agree that Portuguese should be added to the Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish Origin category for the Census 2020?
Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey and let family and friends of Portuguese heritage know about it. We will have much more on this issue very soon. 

Multiracial Data Representation

Multiracial Data Representation 

Below is the student population pie chart from the California Department of Education. It is the closest illustration to what we need! The only difference is we would have preferred to see “Multiracial” instead of “Two or More Races.” Also, if multiracial people are in the combined format used by the US Census Bureau, we do not have an important aggregate number of multiracial people. I wish some of the government folks and “advocates” could understand this concept. -Susan 

Pie chart of 2010-11 student racial/ethnic makeup. Hispanic 51.43%, White 26.63%, Asian 8.52%, African American 6.69%,  Filipino 2.56%, Two or More Races 1.81%, None Reported 1.08%, American Indian or Alaska Native 0.70%, and Pacific Islander 0.58%.

Census Bureau Disregards Multiracial Population

Census Bureau Disregards Multiracial Population

Our US Census Bureau released its statistics for 2011 school enrollment today. They refuse to give us total numbers of multiracial students. They do have the races as “alone” or “in combination” with other races and Hispanic ethnicity. 

We should be given the total number of what they call “in combination” or “people who check more than one race.” They have the data, but they still want a kind of “one drop rule” for a major race IN COMBINATION with another race. We also do not know if they re-tabulate multiracial people into one category or more. They don’t understand that multiracial is an identity itself. Project RACE has put our request in writing to the Census Bureau and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Some of those tables are below or you can go to the URL below for more data.

School Enrollment

CPS October 2011 – Detailed Tables

Table 1. Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage: October 2011

  • All Races [XLS – 38k] [CSV – 6k]
  • White alone [XLS – 39k] [CSV – 6k]
  • White alone non-Hispanic [XLS – 45k] [CSV – 5k]
  • Black alone [XLS – 32k] [CSV – 5k]
  • Asian alone [XLS – 39k] [CSV – 5k]
  • Hispanic [XLS – 32k] [CSV – 6k]
  • White alone or in combination [XLS – 38k] [CSV – 6k]
  • White alone or in combination non-Hispanic [XLS – 38k] [CSV – 6k]
  • Black alone or in combination [XLS – 45k] [CSV – 6k]
  • Asian alone or in combination [XLS – 33k] [CSV – 5k]
  • Foreign Born [XLS – 39k] [CSV – 5k]
  • Children of Foreign Born Parents [XLS – 38k] [CSV – 6k]

MULTIRACIAL Population Report

 2010 Census Shows Multiple-Race (Multiracial) Population
Grew Faster Than Single-Race Population

The 2010 Census showed that people who reported multiple races grew by a larger percentage than those reporting a single race. According to the 2010 Census brief The Two or More Races Population: 2010, the population reporting multiple races (9.0 million) grew by 32.0 percent from 2000 to 2010, compared with those who reported a single race, which grew by 9.2 percent.

Overall, the total U.S. population increased by 9.7 percent since 2000, however, many multiple-race groups increased by 50 percent or more.

The first time in U.S. history that people were presented with the option to self-identify with more than one race came on the 2000 Census questionnaire. Therefore, the examination of data from the 2000 and 2010 censuses provides the first comparisons on multiple-race combinations in the United States. An effective way to compare the multiple-race data is to examine changes in specific combinations, such as white and black, white and Asian, or black and Asian.

“These comparisons show substantial growth in the multiple-race population, providing detailed insights to how this population has grown and diversified over the past decade,” said Nicholas Jones, chief of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Racial Statistics Branch.

Changes in Race Combinations

–Four groups were the largest multiple-race combina­tions, each exceeding 1 million people in size, white and black (1.8 million), white and some other race” (1.7 million), white and Asian (1.6 million) and white and American Indian and Alaska Native (1.4 million).
–Since 2000, two multiple-race groups exhibited the most significant changes — the white and black population, which grew more than 1 million and increased by 134 percent; and the white and Asian population, which grew by about 750,000 and increased by 87 percent.
Multiple-Race Populations by State
–There were 16 states where the people who reported more than one race exceeded 200,000 or more. The top three states (California, Texas and New York) each had a multiple-race population of half a million people or more.
–The percentage change in the multiple-race population was 70 percent or greater in nine states — South Carolina, North Carolina, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Mississippi and South Dakota. Each state, with the exception of South Dakota, was a southern state. The multiple-race population grew by 50 percent or more in 22 additional states.
Multiple-Race Populations by Place
–Among places with populations of 100,000 or more, Urban Honolulu CDP, Hawaii (a census designated place) was the place with the highest proportion of multiple-race whites, multiple-race Asians, and multiple-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders. Lansing, Mich., was the place with the highest proportion of multiple-race blacks, and Anchorage, Alaska, was the place with the highest proportion of multiple-race American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Race Definitions
People who responded to the ques­tion on race by indicating only one race are referred to as the race-alone population, or the group who reported only one race. For exam­ple, people who marked only the “white” cat­egory on the census questionnaire constituted the white alone population. This population can be viewed as the minimum number of people reporting white.

The “two or more races” population refers to people who reported more than one of the six race categories, and this term is used in Census Bureau statistics as well as the tables and figures in the report. In the text of the report, we also refer to the “two or more races” population as the group that reported more than one race, or the multiple-race population. For example, people who reported they were both white and black or reported they were both black and Asian would be included in the multiple-race population. There are 57 possible mul­tiple-race combinations involving the five race categories and the category “some other race.” The report presents statistics for each of the 57 mul­tiple-race combinations.
Source: US Census Bureau

Hispanic Question on Census: The Multiracial Advocacy

Latinos may get own race category on census form

Under proposed changes under consideration by the Census Bureau in its once-a-decade census forms, Latino and Hispanic would be added to the list of government-defined races, rather than being listed separately as an ethnicity. And people from the Middle East and North Africa, now counted as white, would be allowed to write in their country of origin.

By Lornet Turnbull
Seattle Times staff reporter
U.S. residents of Spanish origin typically have no trouble checking the box on their census form that asks whether they are Latino, Hispanic or Spanish.
It’s a different question — the one that asks their race — that apparently gives some of them pause.

In the 2010 census, well over one-third — perhaps unsure how to answer that question — either checked “some other race” or skipped the question entirely.

Now, in advance of the 2020 count and as part of its ongoing effort to allow Americans to better reflect how they see themselves, the U.S. Census Bureau is researching ways to clear up the confusion by adding Latino or Hispanic to a list of government-defined race categories that includes White, Asian, Pacific Islander, Black and American Indian, along with a “two or more races” option.

The bureau is also considering an end to use of the term Negro, which is listed alongside black and African American on the form. And it’s floating the idea of allowing people from the Middle East and North Africa, now counted as white, to write in their country of origin.

The question of race has long been a thorny one, and over the decades the categories for it on the once-a-decade census form have morphed and expanded.

While government definitions of race groups are set by the White House Office of Management and Budget, any changes to the census form ultimately must be approved by Congress.

Luis Fraga, a political-science professor at the University of Washington who directs its Diversity Research Institute, said, “identifying ourselves by racial grouping is at the very core of who we are as a nation and how we understand political power.”

Results from the decennial survey not only help direct more than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed each year, but they also help evaluate how well government policies are responding to historical disparities among various racial and ethnic groups.

“As much as we hope we become a country where these racial distinctions don’t matter — and that’s a worthy goal — it is central to how we understand ourselves as a people and how we decide who has opportunity, rights, privileges and protection under the law,” Fraga said.

The changes under consideration are based largely on an experiment in 2010, when nearly 500,000 households were given forms with the race and ethnicity questions worded differently from those that other households received.

The bureau found many people who filled out the traditional form didn’t feel they fit within the five main race categories, while the alternative questionnaire, designed to address this concern, improved response rates and accuracy.

The Latino question
Of the possible changes, the one affecting Latinos — who now number more than 50 million nationwide, including an estimated 755,790 in Washington state — is likely to ignite the most debate.

Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race, which means although those in the population share a common language, culture and heritage, they can be of any race.

The census has had the separate ethnic question since the 1970s, asking respondents to indicate if they are Spanish, Hispanic or Latino and then giving them the option of noting their country of origin. It then prompts an answer to the question on race.

While in the 2010 census a majority chose white, some 18 million checked the catchall “some other race” category.

Under the proposed changes, the two questions would be combined, allowing respondents to check a single box.

While Latino advocates generally support the idea, it has been met with mixed reaction, with one concern being whether it could lead to a decline in the number of people who identify as Latinos.

“Latinos are the only group in the country with their own question on the census form,” said Angelo Falcón, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy in New York City and a community adviser to the census. “The question that comes up right away is: Why would we give that up?”

He and others acknowledge there has been confusion, that large numbers of Latinos already consider their ethnicity a race.Officials with El Centro de la Raza in Seattle, an advocacy organization that helps educate Latinos about the importance of the census, will be closely watching how the conversation unfolds.

“We want to make sure that everybody is counted and at the same time everyone has the opportunity to self-identify,” said Enrique Gonzalez, a policy advocate for the group. “Those two concerns have to be balanced.”

Middle Easterners
For Middle Easterners, the concern isn’t so much about preserving an identity as it is establishing one. More than one-third of all Middle Easterners are Muslim, and among them there appears no real consensus about providing specific identifying information to the government, given a strained relationship with federal law enforcement.

While some worry the information could be used to target them, they also recognize the need for useful demographic data.In the early 1900s, to get around entry quotas and achieve greater opportunities, Arabs lobbied to be classified as white, defined as the original people of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

“Now it’s kind of the opposite,” said Samer Araabi, head of governmental relations with the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C., which promotes the concerns of Arabs and is a partner with the Census Bureau. “The community wants an identity for itself, to be counted as a unique group separate from whites.”

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Arab American Community Coalition, conducted a survey to gauge how people felt about a separate identity for Middle Easterners on census forms.

Feelings at the time were still raw, and people were fearful of how the government would use the data, recalls Rita Zawaideh, who runs a travel agency called Caravan-Serai in Seattle that provides travel tours to parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

Years later, it came up again.”There was a feeling we needed to have a voice,” she said. “We weren’t known as Americans. The politicians weren’t courting us. We weren’t being counted as a group.”

But now, with a rise in cases of racial profiling, “we’re back to square one,” she said.
Zawaideh said she usually completes her census form by checking “some other race” and then writing in “Arab.” She’d prefer to see a separate race category for Middle Easterners and North Africans, not just a write-in option, she said.
Source: The Seattle Times. com 


Washington Humor

This has to be a joke. We have not seen how the Census Bureau makes information accessible to stakeholders and the general public. In fact, they pretty much ignore the multiracial community. 

Census Bureau Recognized at White House Innovation Event

Posted on August 24, 2012   

Written by: Tom Mesenbourg, Acting Director

Yesterday at the White House, U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel recognized the Census Bureau as a leader in the effort to make government information more easily accessible to the public.
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau

Multiracial Advocacy Alert: Multiracial Advocacy Blog

Multiracial Advocacy Alert: Multiracial Advocacy Blog

Tom Mesenbourg, Acting Director of the US Census Bureau wrote the following blog post today:

The Times, They Are a -Changin’
Effective August 12, I was appointed Acting Director.  I am honored to have been asked to lead this great organization and I look forward to working closely with our stakeholders, oversight organizations, partners, data suppliers, data users, and Census Bureau staff to make the Census Bureau an ever more efficient, effective, and responsive organization.  Dr. Nancy Potok is the new Deputy Director and I could not be more pleased.

We at Project RACE doubt that anything will change under the Acting Director. Miscalculations and re-aggregating of multiracial data will continue.