A Moment of Your Time  

by Susan Graham 

We’re not asking for a month or a day-but just a moment during this week. June 7 to 14 is National Multiracial Heritage Week. I know, I know, you’re getting tired of all these groups with all their months, weeks, and days. Does every group need a special time-slot? Probably not, but if they do, we want one too.

This special week now has the official sanction of the Governors and legislators of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia. The multiracial population is the fastest growing racial group in the country. We’ll only get bigger.

Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) is in its 25th year of “introducing” the multiracial community to the rest of the world.

The word “multiracial” has had a stormy ride. In the 1990s, when we were trying to convince the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that people needed to be able to check more than one box, they advised us to give them a definitive word to use. We had the choice of multiracial, biracial, mixed-race, and others. We asked the community and the consensus was the term “multiracial.” It is more inclusive than biracial. It doesn’t grate as much as “mixed,” which lends itself too easily to “mixed nuts” or “mixed up,” not to mention the problem that “mixed” is the opposite of “pure,” and that’s not a place we want to go.

Yes, the nomenclature is a problem. I wish we could be as successful in changing terminology as the gay community. Remember when people used the term “homosexual”? Not anymore. I wish we could be as savvy as the community once known as colored, then Negro, then Black, and now African-American. But for reasons beyond our control, we remain more mixed than multiracial, more “other” than biracial, and more forgotten than other populations. But are we invisible? Didn’t you see that light tan baby being pushed down the street in the stroller yesterday? The dark woman pushing it was not the nanny-she was the mother. What about the family with the children who look part Asian? Yes, they take after their Asian mother and their white father.

When we were trying to reason with OMB, we also ran into the U.S. Census Bureau. But they still call us “MOOMs”-people who Mark One or More races, or the “combination” population. It’s hard to get bureaucrats to change once two or more of them make up their minds.

Then there is the United States Department of Education. They might allow schools to let students check more than one race, but then they redistribute us to other racial categories with some strange algorithms. If a student checks Hispanic as one of their ethnic parts, then they become 100 percent Hispanic.

Then we have the United States Department of Justice, and all of their concerns about discrimination. They depend on the data to ensure that minorities are not discriminated against in any way. How could a multiracial person prove discrimination based on the fact that they are multiracial if no such multiracial numbers exist? It’s a real quandary.

Choosing to be multiracial is just that: a choice. If you want to be monoracial based on your personal history or just because that’s how you feel today, that’s great. However, if you wish to celebrate your entire heritage, the choice should be yours and yours alone.

So, if you can, think about how you can contribute to Multiracial Heritage Week from June 7th to 14th. Give us a moment. Perhaps you can simply acknowledge a grandchild, teach about famous multiracial people, think about what you are going to call that multiracial person you know, or contribute to our cause. Join us. Google us. Befriend us. Follow us. Help us get the message out that this is the start of something big-something multiracial.

Susan Graham is the president of Project RACE, Inc.


Multiracial Advocacy and Two more States!



We now have written support from the State of California and the State of Illinois!

Check back here for a complete list very soon.

The Multiracial Population and History

This article appeared in Education Week. While it is sad that complete Hispanic  history is not taught in civil rights history, at least some things are taught. The civil rights of the multiracial population is never taught. -Susan

Hispanics Are Forgotten in Civil Rights History

Whenever civil rights has been covered in history class, or when I’ve seen a documentary or read an article concerning such, I have always been very aware of what is missing, and it is something that I am interested in and looking for. As an American of Hispanic descent, I never see any information related to my ethnicity’s cause for civil rights. Where is the plight of Hispanics represented in the civil rights discussion and history of the United States?

In my household, I have heard the stories from older relatives about the treatment of Mexican-Americans in Texas in the 1900s. From what has been relayed to me, it was not much different from how black Americans were treated in Mississippi. Through my parents, I have heard of schools for Mexican children, separate drinking fountains, having to sit in the “black” balconies at movies, and not being able to go to restaurants and other establishments that were designated as “whites only.”

Even with ground-shifting demographic changes, many public schools continue to be highly segregated 60 years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the principle of “separate but equal” education, but those shifts have also created opportunities to approach diversifying schools and classrooms in new ways.

But the public record of what the conditions were for the people of my background is severely lacking. It is as if we did not exist in this country between the Alamo in 1836 and the introduction of Freddie Prinze to the world in “Chico and the Man” in 1974.

When discussing civil rights milestones, where are the discussions about Mendez, et al. v. Westminster School District of Orange County, et al.? This 1946 case challenged the racial segregation that was occurring in Orange County, Calif., schools against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. This landmark litigation was instrumental in repealing many of the segregationist provisions in California law, but it is not presented at all in the canon of civil rights milestones. In fact, even as a Hispanic, I had not heard of this case until President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sylvia Mendez, the daughter of the lead plaintiff of the lawsuit, in February 2011, and I searched for who she was and why she was being honored.

“It is as if we did not exist in this country between the Alamo … and the introduction of Freddie Prinze.”

When discussing civil rights milestones, where are the discussions about Hernandez v. Texas? This 1954 case established that the protection granted by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was not only for white and black Americans, but that all racial groups required equal protection. This case questioned the use of Jim Crow laws against other classes of Americans, and determined that Americans of Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, Inuit, Native American, and other nonwhite or black descent should also be treated equally.

Along with the discussions of the Freedom Riders and freedom marches, where are the discussions of the 1938 pecan shellers’ strike and the wrongful arrest and imprisonment of over 700 Mexican-Americans peacefully protesting a cut in wages and walking off the job in San Antonio? This action was seen as impacting the creation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which defines many of the occupational rules that govern workers’ rights. Should the name of the Mexican-American labor leader Emma Tenayuca be, at least, presented alongside other civil and women’s rights activists when the conditions that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are presented?

Considering that people of Hispanic descent make up more than 16 percent of the total population of the United States today, efforts should be made to shine a light on the history, conditions, people, and effects of Latino activists and legislation. It’s time to give a large portion of the population its due, so that maybe when educational resources are developed into lesson plans, Hispanics have an element of pride and purpose in knowing that our predecessors also played a role in shaping the world and civil rights that we enjoy today.

Nicholas Dauphine is a senior at Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson High School in San Antonio, where he is a National Hispanic Recognition Program Merit Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society.

Source: Education Week

Why aren’t you mad?

Aren’t you MAD?


Opinion by Susan Graham, Project RACE

I’m mad and I’m wondering why you aren’t. If you’re reading this, you are probably an advocate for the multiracial population. If you’re not, you may be against us or just curious, and that’s fine.

I came across a publication today called Diverse. They cover diversity issues in higher education. They have designated sections for Black, Latino, Asian and American Indian groups. They do not include a group called “Multiracial” or anything close to it. Can this really be a magazine (print and digital) that calls itself “Diverse” and yet excludes the rapidly growing multiracial population?!

I put “multiracial” into their search box, and a few articles did come up, but we shouldn’t have to search them out.

It’s starting to remind me of Education Week, that good old publication about anything and everything related to education. Oh, except for multiracial students. They do have data that include “other” for administrators, researchers, media, etc. We do not consider “other” to be multiracial and we don’t appreciate when we aren’t included. Education Week has been around for a long time. They use statistics from the National Center for Education and Statistics, U.S. Department of Education (DOE), which also does not include a multiracial count (see earlier opinion pieces).

Education Week and Diverse could raise the issue of inclusion of multiracial people with the DOE. They could put pressure on other media and the Washington bureaucracy to provide multiracial data. They could, but they don’t and it makes me mad. You?



How Multiracial Students are COUNTED

How Multiracial Students are RE-TABULATED

by Susan Graham, Project RACE

Below is an article that appeared in Education Week about the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka involving school desegregation and discrimination in education. That, along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, allowed the U.S. Department of Justice to sue states and school districts. One of the major reasons the schools and federal Department of Education collect racial and ethnic data is to help accurately prove or disprove such law suits and complaints.

What could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing, except that a multiracial person cannot prove they were discriminated against because they are multiracial. They do not exist in schools, so how can they be discriminated against? If you were a multiracial student whose school principal told you that your parents made a “mistake” when they conceived you—a true story—they could get away with it. Although, if you said you were only one minority race, you would probably win a discrimination case.

In 2000, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) advised the Department of Education that it was perfectly fine to re-tabulate multiracial students. They even gave some examples in their “Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education.” Some of those examples are as follows:

Example 1: A respondent self-identifies as Hispanic/Latino and as Asian. 
This respondent is reported only in the Hispanic/Latino category.
Example 2: A respondent self-identifies as Hispanic/Latino and as Asian and Black or African American. 
This respondent is reported only in the Hispanic/Latino category.
Example 3: A respondent self-identifies as non-Hispanic/Latino and as Native Hawaiian
or Other Pacific Islander. 
This respondent is reported in the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander category.
Example 4: A respondent self-identifies as non-Hispanic/Latino and as American 
Indian or Alaska Native and White. 
This respondent is reported in the two or more races category.

So, as we can clearly see from the examples, first, they are grouping race and 
ethnicity together. This is after years and years of making sure everyone knew that 
race and ethnicity were two distinctly different things. Then they make sure that 
Hispanic trumps everything (see examples 1 and 2). In other words, if you are ethnically 
part Hispanic then you become only Hispanic. It sure sounds like the old one-drop rule to me, 
just for another group. The old one-drop rule stated that if you had one-drop of black blood, 
you were black. The new one-drop rule is that if you have any “Hispanic/Latino blood,” 
you are “Hispanic/Latino” by default or at least by the crazy math of the OMB and 
Department of Education. That would be our United States Department of Education.

But wait one minute and read example numbers 3 and 4! If you are not Hispanic at all, 
but you also identify as American Indian or Alaska Native and White, or Native Hawaiian 
or Other Pacific Islander, then you can be in the “two or more races” category, 
which we call “multiracial.” That would be if there even is a category 
for “two or more races.”

Actually, none of this really makes sense, especially for something as important 
as civil rights. Federal enforcement may be key, but it’s also very scary if 
you’re multiracial.

Federal Enforcement Is Key to Brown Legacy

Civil Rights Act, ESEA provide tools—if used

By Mark Walsh


Fifty years ago—a decade after the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka—there still had been little real progress in desegregating the nation’s schools.

In 1964, only 2 percent of black students were attending formerly all-white schools in the states of the former Confederacy, according to a 1966 report by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

Then came the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark legislation signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson that is best known to many Americans today for its prohibitions on discrimination in the workplace. But several key provisions of the statute provided a jump-start to the desegregation process.

The Civil Rights Act authorized the U.S. Department of Justice to sue states and school districts to compel desegregation. Another provision allowed the department to intervene in existing civil rights lawsuits being pressed by private parties. And the law’s Title VI prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in federally funded programs.

“There is no doubt the Civil Rights Act gave a big boost to desegregation,” said James E. Ryan, the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an expert on education law. “Having the weight and the resources of the federal government behind these cases was a very big deal.”

The civil rights statute and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which provided federal aid to schools on a large scale, gave the federal government carrots as well as the stick of litigation to pursue desegregation goals.


(President Barack Obama honors Sylvia Mendez with the 2010 Medal of Freedom at the White House on Feb. 15, 2011. As a child, Ms. Mendez was a key figure in a seminal school desegregation case.)

With further help from the Supreme Court, real progress was made in desegregating Southern schools, and some in Northern cities, too.

High Court’s Shifting Stance

But the high court, so central to prodding the nation to end legal segregation of the races in its schools, hasn’t decided a desegregation case in nearly 20 years. In its last such case, justices expressed impatience with continuing judicial supervision of schools.

More recently, in 2007, a sharply divided court in the Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District case curtailed the voluntary uses of race in school systems that had been freed of court supervision for desegregation or had never been found to have violated the U.S. Constitution.

Today, the Justice Department remains among the country’s most vigilant activists for reaching desegregation goals. The department was once a party to or an intervenor in hundreds of desegregation matters, and it still has 184 active cases on its list.

Anurima Bhargava, the head of the educational opportunities section of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a rare interview that the job the nation embarked on 60 years ago is still a top priority for the federal government.

“The goals remain as they have for a long time,” said Ms. Bhargava, a political appointee who formerly headed the education practice for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “How do we address the vestiges of segregation?”

The role of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the nation’s desegregation saga has been somewhat underplayed over the years, scholars say.

Brown at 60: New Diversity, Familiar Disparities

Even with ground-shifting demographic changes, many public schools continue to be highly segregated 60 years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the principle of “separate but equal” education, but those shifts have also created opportunities to approach diversifying schools and classrooms in new ways.

This special series includes reporting on the state of school integration today, video profiles, national data on school desegregation, a timeline of landmark desegregation cases, Commentaries on integration, and more.

Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale University, argues in a new book that the statute broke a 10-year impasse over desegregation progress since the Brown ruling by giving the federal government the tools to get involved.

“By authorizing the Justice Department to bring its own lawsuits and to intervene in those brought by others, the act greatly increased the courts’ capacity to transform Brown into a living reality,” Mr. Ackerman writes in We the People: The Civil Rights Revolution.

Until passage of that law, “the NAACP Legal Defense Fund had been the only actor” filing desegregation lawsuits, Mr. Ackerman added in an interview. Although the private organization—led for a long time by Thurgood Marshall, a future U.S. Supreme Court justice—had filed some 500 desegregation suits, “there were vast areas of the South where there was not even a pretense of desegregation,” Mr. Ackerman said.

He and other legal scholars agree on another important development stemming from the Civil Rights Act. What was then the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare issued guidelines—tepid at first in 1965, but stronger a year later—that set desegregation goals that schools receiving federal aid should meet.

“The ESEA put a lot of money on the table, so the threat of withdrawing federal funds” based on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act now had some power behind it, Mr. Ryan of Harvard said.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in 1951.” border=”0″ height=”438″ width=”305″>

(Linda Brown, 9, is shown in this 1952 photo. Now Linda Brown Smith, she was a 3rd grader when her father joined the lawsuit that bears their family’s name, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in 1951.)

The guidelines also gave local school leaders some political cover to begin desegregating in earnest, and the guidelines were embraced by federal district judges who were formulating decrees, Mr. Ryan said.

The Supreme Court itself “got back in the game,” he pointed out, with its 1968 decision in Green v. New Kent County School Board. That case was based on a lawsuit against a small Virginia district in 1965, in which a lower court had upheld a type of “freedom of choice” plan that was widely adopted by many Southern districts as a token effort at desegregation.

The high court said a freedom-of-choice plan was not acceptable where other desegregation tactics were available to provide a speedier, more effective result.

“Integration is starting to work by this point, and Justice [William E.] Brennan [Jr.]”—the author of the opinion in Green—”can say the days of ‘all deliberate speed’ are over, and we want integration now,” said Mr. Ackerman.

By 1970, one-third of black students in the South were attending schools where a majority of students were white, according to a 1999 report by the Civil Rights Project, which was then based at Harvard University and is now at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gathering Dust?

The federal role in pressing school systems to purse their desegregation goals became entrenched over the next quarter-century, even as the Supreme Court’s commands evolved.

In 2007, the Civil Rights Commission issued a detailed report examining Justice Department enforcement of school desegregation. The report noted that Supreme Court decisions in 1991 and 1992 had made it easier for school districts to be declared unitary—meaning no longer operating a dual system—and thus be freed from court supervision.

The number of cases involving the Justice Department had declined from 430 in 2000 to 266 by 2007, the report said. The commission’s key finding was that the increase in jurisdictions obtaining unitary status had not had an adverse effect on actual levels of racial integration in their schools.

Still, “many of the original desegregation orders have been in place for decades,” the commission observed.

Many of those orders now are gathering dust because the cases are largely inactive. Others still bind districts on matters such as student assignment, attendance zones, and faculty-diversity goals.


(The first white students to attend West Charlotte High School are directed to classes by Assistant Principal Leroy Miller in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 9, 1970, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg County schools open under a court-ordered desegregation plan.)

Allison Brown, who was a career lawyer in the educational opportunities section of the Justice Department’s civil rights division under the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said in an interview that the department has been able to bring about agreement on certain modern-day concerns in some districts.

In the 6,000-student Meridian, Miss., school system, for example, the Justice Department, the district, and the private plaintiffs who first sued to desegregate the system in 1965 agreed on a consent decree last year addressing student discipline. The decree was meant to settle an investigation into charges that the district disproportionately subjected black students to suspensions, expulsions, and school-based arrests, often for minor infractions.

Ms. Brown, now an education law consultant based in Washington, said lawyers in the educational opportunities section often confronted the mind-set that desegregation work was something out of another era.

“That was something we battled a lot,” she said. “But desegregation, to us, still felt like a very real tool for changing that mindset.”

Justice Department Enforcement

Ms. Bhargava, who took over in 2010 as the head of the educational opportunities section, said in the interview that of the 184 active cases involving the federal government, “there is a subset of those where we haven’t seen a lot of activity.”

The Justice Department initiates case reviews of some of those dormant decrees, while in other cases federal district judges may say, “Hey, what’s going on with this case?” she said.

A bid for unitary status by a school district, which usually comes from the district, also brings about a review by the department.

“Moving the desegregation cases to close is not my number-one priority,” Ms. Bhargava said. “The question for us is, what can we do within the context of our desegregation orders?”


(Black and white students at Smiley Junior High School in Denver walk by their school on Sept. 22, 1971. Tensions mounted in that city in the wake of an order requiring some students to be bused for desegregation. A later Supreme Court ruling in the Denver case set several precedents.)

That issue was underscored recently when the Justice Department filed a motion under a decades-old statewide desegregation case in Louisiana to ask whether the state’s expanded tuition-voucher program was upsetting the racial balance in schools in several districts still under court supervision.

The action led to a highly charged battle with Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, who asserted that the Obama administration was using the old desegregation case to trap minority children in subpar public schools.

In April, a federal judge in New Orleans ordered the state to provide the Justice Department with regular data reports on the students accepting vouchers so the program’s effects could be monitored. Both sides claimed victory in the outcome.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Mississippi, the department is challenging the adequacy of desegregation efforts of the 3,600-student Cleveland district, another case that has been around for nearly 50 years. (See related story, Page 18.)

Chinh Q. Le, a Washington-based civil rights lawyer who wrote about the federal role in desegregation in 2010 in the North Carolina Law Review, said in an interview that there is a bit of irony about the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools curbing voluntary consideration of race.

“It has turned out that if there is going to be hope for many school systems” to achieve their desegregation goals, he said, “their strongest tool may be that they remain under court supervision.”

Doing so allows them to still consider race in ways that districts that aren’t under court order may not, said Mr. Le, who once worked at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

“People might perceive that school desegregation cases, as we understand them, may seem passé,” Mr. Le added. “But the notion that many Americans want school systems that are truly racially integrated is as strong and alive as ever.”


NAACP News and the Multiracial Advocacy Opinion



Below is the official wording from the NAACP on its appointment of Cornell William Brooks to be the new National President and CEO. Should this concern the multiracial community? Yes.

Yes, because they have more clout with the federal government than we do. Yes, because certain leaders in the multiracial movement pledged allegiance—and multiracial numbers—to the NAACP in the 1990s and beyond. Yes, because they want the one drop rule intact (one drop of “black blood” makes a person black), and yes, because they set out to do away with multiracial people many years ago.

Yes, because we at Project RACE don’t think any racial or ethnic group should have the right to stomp on our civil rights! Yes, because the NAACP never meant to “bridge” our two communities as they sold that aspect to AMEA, hapas, and others. Yes, because the individual identity of multiracial children, teens, and adults is not dependent on acceptance from the NAACP. We do not need their blessing.

Brooks was quoted as saying, “I look forward to working with the dynamic board and staff, and continuing the important work of the Association in advancing racial and social justice and equality for all.” For all? Really? Or for those who check more than one race, then are re-tabulated as black?

The new tag line for the NAACP is this: “The NAACP fights for your civil rights – Stand with us.” NO THANK YOU.

Susan Graham, for Project RACE

  New Leader of NAACP Named

 The NAACP National Board of Directors announced its selection of Attorney Cornell William Brooks to be the Association’s next National President & CEO. He will become the 18th person to oversee operations at the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization in its 105-year history.

“We are proud to welcome Attorney Cornell William Brooks as our new president and CEO,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. “Mr. Brooks is a pioneering lawyer and civil rights leader, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Association. We look forward to leveraging his legal prowess, vision and leadership as we tackle the pressing civil rights issues of the 21st century.”

Brooks, a longtime lawyer and human rights activist, serves currently as the President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice based in Newark.

A fourth-generation ordained minister, Brooks has worked to pass legislation enabling previously incarcerated men and women to rebuild their lives as productive and responsible citizens, called a model for the nation by the New York Times. He successfully pushed for state legislation to reduce the effects of widespread foreclosures. Mr. Brooks has worked to develop social impact investing tools to employ more people in higher wage work.

Brooks served as senior counsel for the Federal Communications Commission, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington and as trial attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He has also campaigned tirelessly as an advocate for public education, affordable healthcare, and fiscal responsibility.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to lead this historic organization,” said Brooks. “In our fight to ensure voting rights, economic equality, health equity, and an end to racial discrimination for all people, there is much work to do. I look forward to working with the dynamic board and staff, and continuing the important work of the Association in advancing racial and social justice and equality for all.”

Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts from Jackson State University, a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, and a Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School.

The Hollins Group of Chicago, Illinois, conducted the nationwide search for the new President and CEO that included a review of over 450 applications; meetings with 30 semi-finalists; and interviews with the National Board of Directors.

Attorney Brooks will be formally introduced to the NAACP membership in July at its 105th National Convention in Las Vegas, NV.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, grassroots civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.




Opinion by Susan Graham of Project RACE

The bottom line is that the multiracial community is still getting screwed by the U.S. Department of Education. They released a report, “Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups.” Can you guess what entire group is missing? The multiracial group.

The government did a huge study, crunched their data, and reported that there are no multiracial students. You can see some of the charts below, which show “White,” “Hispanic,” “Black,” “Asian,” and “Other.” Some of their data does not even show “other.” They are systematically “ retabulating any counts with multiracial numbers back into five pre-1997 standard categories.

During the 1990s, Project RACE fought this battle. We tried to show other “multiracial organizations” how it would backfire on us if we did not insist on a multiracial umbrella category, a multiracial classification, or truth in tabulation.  They wouldn’t listen and, well, it has backfired big time.

Every multiracial person and interracial family should care that we are still invisible. Academics should care and not just do studies about studies. I care. If you care, please comment and sign up for our Project RACE emails and newsletters. We can let the government know we care—if, that is, you want to be counted


Data: Race and Ethnicity in U.S. Schools Today

In the six decades since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the racial and ethnic landscape of the United States has evolved, and the nation’s schools along with it.

The U.S. population is much less dominated by non-Hispanic whites than it was in the 1950s. By 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts, the United States will become a “plurality” nation, with no one race in the majority. (Whites will still be the single largest group, with Hispanic Americans the next-largest group.)

Similarly, concepts of school diversity and integration are shifting. While the percentage of white children in public schools has declined in recent years (from 61 percent to 56 percent from school year 2000-01 to 2007-08), and the percentage of black children in the schools has held steady (at 17 percent), the percentage of Hispanic students has increased from 17 percent to 21 percent, and the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students has risen from 4 percent to 5 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Today, many of the questions concerning integration turn on what to do when schools reflect the racial makeup of their surrounding communities—communities that are largely of one race or socioeconomic level.

The U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 report “Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups” paints a detailed picture of where American children live, the conditions they find in their public schools, and their home lives. Based on data from the 2007-08 school year, the study offers widely divergent snapshots of the life experiences of children.

Charts on this page excerpt data from the 2010 report, as well as newer data the Department of Education has collected.

Race and Ethnicity in U.S. Schools Today

Source: Education Week


Amid Budget Problems, NAACP Makes Cuts in National Staff

The NAACP will lay off 7 percent of its national staff as it continues its search for a new president, writes The Baltimore Sun.

The civil rights organization says the cuts are necessary because of financial concerns. A spokesperson did not answer questions regarding how many people would lose their jobs, what types of positions would be cut, and how many layoffs would be at the organization’s Baltimore headquarters.

The announcement indicates renewed financial issues for the NAACP after strides made by its most recent president, Benjamin Jealous, to combat financial stagnation. During his five-year tenure, the organization expanded its donor base from 16,477 to more than 132,000 and nearly doubled its revenues, which reached $46-million in 2012.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy


Babies and Race

Babies prefer fairness — but only if it benefits them — in choosing a playmate


Babies as young as 15 months preferred people with the same ethnicity as themselves — a phenomenon known as in-group bias, or favoring people who have the same characteristics as oneself. The findings show that 15-month-old babies value a person’s fairness — whether or not an experimenter equally distributes toys — unless babies see that the experimenter unevenly distributed toys in a way that benefits a person of the same race as the infant.

The findings of this study show that 15-month-old babies value a person’s fairness — whether or not an experimenter equally distributes toys — unless babies see that the experimenter unevenly distributed toys in a way that benefits a person of the same race as the infant.
A couple of years ago a University of Washington researcher who studies how children develop social behaviors like kindness and generosity noticed something odd. The 15-month-old infants in her experiments seemed to be playing favorites among the researchers on her team, being more inclined to share toys or play with some researchers than others.
“It’s not like one experimenter was nicer or friendlier to the babies — we control for factors like that,” said Jessica Sommerville, a UW associate professor of psychology. She took a closer look at the data and realized that the babies were more likely to help researchers who shared the same ethnicity, a phenomenon known as in-group bias, or favoring people who have the same characteristics as oneself.

“At the time, about half of the research assistants in my lab were Asian-American and the other half were Caucasian, and most of the babies in our experiments are Caucasian,” Sommerville said. “We know that by preschool, children show in-group bias concerning race, but results in infants have been mixed.”

She and her research team designed a new experiment to test how race and fairness — a social tendency that infants appear to notice — influence babies’ selection of a playmate.

The findings, published in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology, show that 15-month-old babies value a person’s fairness — whether or not an experimenter equally distributes toys — unless babies see that the experimenter unevenly distributed toys in a way that benefits a person of the same race as the infant.

“It’s surprising to see these pro-social traits of valuing fairness so early on, but at the same time, we’re also seeing that babies have self-motivated concerns too,” Sommerville said.

Forty white 15-month-old babies sat on their parents’ laps while watching two white experimenters divide toys between recipients. One experimenter divided the toys equally, and the other experimenter divided the toys unequally.

Later, when the babies had a chance to choose who to play with, 70 percent of the time infants preferred the experimenter who distributed the toys fairly. This suggests that when individuals are the same race as the infant, babies favor fair over unfair individuals as playmates.

Next, Sommerville and her team asked a more complex question. What would happen when individuals who were of the same race as the infant actually stood to benefit from inequity?

In a second experiment, 80 white 15-month-old infants saw a fair and an unfair experimenter distribute toys to a white and to an Asian recipient. Half the babies saw the unfair experimenter give more to the Asian recipient; and the other half of babies saw the experimenter give more to the white recipient.

When it came time to decide a playmate, infants seemed more tolerant of unfairness when the white recipient benefited from it. They picked the fair experimenter less often when the unfair experimenter gave more toys to the white recipient versus the Asian recipient.

“If all babies care about is fairness, then they would always pick the fair distributor, but we’re also seeing that they’re interested in consequences for their own group members,” Sommerville said.

The findings imply that infants can take into account both race and social history (how a person treats someone else) when deciding which person would make a better playmate.

“Babies are sensitive to how people of the same ethnicity as the infant, versus a different ethnicity, are treated — they weren’t just interested in who was being fair or unfair,” said Monica Burns, co-author of the study and a former UW psychology undergraduate student. She’s now a psychology graduate student at Harvard University.

“It’s interesting how infants integrate information before choosing who to interact with, they’re not just choosing based on a single dimension,” she said.

Sommerville is quick to point out that her findings do not mean that babies are racist. “Racism connotes hostility,” she said, “and that’s not what we studied.”

What the study does show is that babies use basic distinctions, including race, to start to “cleave the world apart by groups of what they are and aren’t a part of,” Sommerville said.

Story Source: Science Daily

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Molly McElroy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Project RACE Teens!


Kendall Baldwin, past Project RACE Teens president and Tommy McManus, current Project RACE Teens president, doing a National Youth Day of Service project! We are so proud of both of them!

Kendalll and Tommy 5-11-14