One of the Fastest Growing Demographics in America
An article written by Susan Saulny for the New York Times explores the growing number of mixed race people in America. She noted that the largest group of mixed race people are currently enrolled in colleges across America, and that according to 2008-2009 data from the Pew Research Center, one in seven new marriages between 2008 and 2009 were between spouses of different races; and mixed race people are one of the country's fastest growing demographic groups. She stated that census results from 2010 is expected to show the trend continuing or accelerating.
I expect the census to show an accelerating trend, not only because of an increased in mixed race people, but because the stigma the American society had of identifying with one group is dying a natural death. Jim Crow laws that separated blacks from whites did not start changing until the 1950s to 1960s. These laws denied blacks jobs, rights and education that whites were allowed to have. This was a time when, because of socioeconomic and sociological reasons, some blacks who were mixed race decided to “pass” for white. This double life, though giving them more opportunity, made them have to hide in plain sight and deny a part of their family.
The article mentioned that some sociologists believe that grouping all mixed race people glosses over differences; such as, according to Reynolds Farley, professor at the University of Michigan, someone who is mixed with Asian and White tend to be better educated and have higher incomes than someone who is mixed with Black and Latino. Again, differences are being highlighted. Now it's not Black and White that should be defined, but the socioeconomic status that separates people of different mixed races.
There will always be perceived differences, Black/White, Rich/Poor, Protestant/Catholic, Muslim/Jewish. Color, ethnicity, religion, wealth and status, are some of the symbols society has found a way to use to define and delude themselves with the “mine is better than yours” syndrome. The mind, imprisoned by conditioning we acquired from childhood through education, family, culture, religion and professional environment can only be freed by the individual.
“Be not deluded by the sense of separateness. The limitations of your consciousness are slowly but surely being overcome as the Life-Power works through you. When you can see intellectually that we are all, in very truth members of one body, know that it is not you who have seen, but the Life-Power which has brought your brain to a certain degree of fineness which permits the realization of the unity of Being to take this intellectual form.
Know, then, that even as your intellectual grasp of unity transcends that mental state of the savage who believes that he is surrounded by conflicting and hostile forces, so are there states of consciousness far above and beyond your comparatively feeble apprehension of the One-ness of All. Know that there is a direct experience of this One-ness which cannot be put into words, and cultivate expectancy toward this experience. Expectancy, because that is the mood which better than any other makes personality receptive to the influx of light from the regions of Being” by Paul Foster Case, 1922.
The author, Susan Saulny, mentioned that a proportion of the country's population had been mixed-race since the first white settlers had children with Native Americans. However, Ivan VanSertima's thesis, published by the Smithsonian Institution Press (1995) in a book entitled Race, Discource and Origin of the Americas, presents the pre-Columbian contacts between Africans and native Americans during the Mandingo voyages of AD 1310, 1311 and prior to that, the Egypto-Nubian contact in the time of Ramses III (c 1200 B.C.)
What is to be noted in this article about the Students of the University of Maryland is that they in general, refuse to be pigeon holed into identifying themselves according to the dictates of society by one race or the other and are embracing each part of themselves. There was one individual who stated that he identifies himself as Black because that is how he looks. Of course he has every right to do so, but that goes back to the discussion of society's tendency to identify persons by their phenotype.