Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Loretta I. Winters
Census 2000 identified 6.8 million Americans, or 2.4 percent of the total U.S. population, as multiracial. Of these, 93.3 percent identified with two races, 6 percent identified with three races, and 0.6 percent identified with four races. Though not the first time the U.S. Census Bureau counted multiracial individuals, Census 2000 did mark the first time individuals were able to check all races that apply on their census forms. The primary intellectual debate about multiracial identity focuses on whether such an identity is needed to give individuals of mixed racial descent greater latitude to express who they are or whether the proliferation of multiracial identities supports the status quo by subdividing traditional racial communities. Notably, both sides of this debate agree that race is a social construct. Although commonly thought of as a biological attribute, race actually has no gene to explain its existence. Rather, racial designations result from a ...