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What race do you mark on government forms?

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
I am confused by what race to mark on medical/government forms.

I am white. Daughter is "mixed" Her father is black. She is dark skinned.

Part of me wants to put white just bc that is what I put.
Part of me wants to put black to put her in line for scholarships later on ( is that wrong?)
Part of me wonders why it is a big deal, why do they need to know.
Part of me says screw it an leave it blank.

How do you handle this?
post #2 of 65
she is black, and will probably be treated that way in the US

she is definitely not white.

i would put black---or if you are really uncomfortable about that, you could put biracial
post #3 of 65
I usually mark both boxes (I am hispanic, DH white). Until the goverment catches on and makes a box for biracial or simply stops asking, I figure I would go for accuracy and mark both boxes...
post #4 of 65
You can certainly choose whatever you and your daughter feel bests suits your family. However, it is my experience that people are perceived based on how they look. My cousin is biracial--dad white, mom black. She is brown skinned and the only indication that she might be of biracial heritage is her very long, straight hair. Everyone assumes she is black and she is treated accordingly. Her sister is extremely light-skinned with hair characteristic of European heritage. It is always assumed that she is something other than black. Right or wrong, that is the society we live in.

I have heard white friends who children are biracial state they don't want their children to be discriminated against so they choose "white" as their race. My experience has been that people are judged based on how they look rather than what is written in a form.

Again, we live in such a race conscious society, it shouldn't matter but it does.
post #5 of 65
I mark both, or if there is an "other" I'll write in black and white. My son definately looks more black than white (although people usually assume he's hispanic). I would say do what feels right for you. Yes society views kids like ours as black but that doesn't mean that you have to mark that. If you do choose to mark white and your child(ren) look more black be prepared for the weird looks.

As far as scholarships go, it won't matter if you mark bi-racial, black, black and white. As long as you have a minority somewhere in your hertiage it will count. I have a friend that is about 4 different nationalities and was able to get scholarships for each one.
post #6 of 65
You could mark other or just leave it blank. I think they mostly do that for surveys and statistical purposes and you don't really need to include it if you don't want to. The rules for that might be different for different forms, but that was what I was always told.

You might want to change the title of this thread, though. When I read it, I thought you meant "put down" as insult or look down on. Just a thought.
post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by acannon View Post
You might want to change the title of this thread, though. When I read it, I thought you meant "put down" as insult or look down on. Just a thought.
Yes me too! I saw it on the main page & came in to read it 'cause it sounded like such a controversial question!
post #8 of 65
...and what box are middle easterners or south asians supposed to check?
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Absinthia View Post
...and what box are middle easterners or south asians supposed to check?
:

I wonder that all the time. DH is Turkish, born on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, also known as Asia Minor. Does that make him white, asian, something else? And what about our son? He's blonde and blue-eyed, so could be 100% white, but he's not.
post #10 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Absinthia View Post
...and what box are middle easterners or south asians supposed to check?
This is the first time posting in this forum. I'm so happy that it's finally here before I have children. I have lots to learn..

As for your question Absinthia, middle easterners are considered "white" by the USA even if they look obviously African (as in the case of northern Africans, never could wrap my head around that one...). South Asians are considered Asian in the US as well. I know weird. I remember when I was very small and because I had a foreign name (my father is Nigerian and my mother is African American mix-of-a-bunch-of-ethnic-groups) and I had more keen features like my straight nose I was put down as "white" because they thought that I was Egyptian. My mother definitely corrected them and said that I'm Human, but if they wanted to put a designation on me that I shouldn't be considered "white".

I'm so new to this because my DH is white (all Eastern European, Hungarian, Polish, Croatian 4th Generation). I've always felt that as I grew up to identify with both my Yoruba and American roots (that includes the Choctaw GGrandmother was born and raised on the reservation, her father was white), I would expect my children to identify with both as well. I know that society wants to put our children in boxes to make them feel comfortable, but I would be hurt to my core if any of my children chose to deny either me or their father.

I wouldn't check any boxes at all and if I had to fill one in, I'd write HUMAN. I also like the idea of checking both the boxes or checking other.
post #11 of 65

Here's one for ya...

I am bi-racial, my mother is white and my father black. I always check both, unless it says "check only one", then I put other or whatever will benefit me the most. (educational or grant related, I check black. General info. I put white, so I am less discriminated against). I look like I am of European decent, and many people think I'm either white with a tan or of European. Since I married my husband, who is hispanic, it is often assumed that I am hispanic since I have taken his last name. This never ever happened when my maiden name was Miller. People even sometimes come up to me and start speaking spanish, and I'm like huh? Well, my kids are 4 races. 1/4 each of Black, White, Hispanic, and Mexican Indian Heritage. I try to follow the same thing I mentioned above, but..sometimes people get a little annoyed when I check 4 boxes LOL. So I usually end up putting Hispanic or Other. Check my link below for a picture of my daughter - what race do you think she looks more of??
post #12 of 65
I also check both, or sometimes Other for my kids.
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2kidz View Post
I am bi-racial, my mother is white and my father black. I always check both, unless it says "check only one", then I put other or whatever will benefit me the most. (educational or grant related, I check black. General info. I put white, so I am less discriminated against). I look like I am of European decent, and many people think I'm either white with a tan or of European. Since I married my husband, who is hispanic, it is often assumed that I am hispanic since I have taken his last name. This never ever happened when my maiden name was Miller. People even sometimes come up to me and start speaking spanish, and I'm like huh? Well, my kids are 4 races. 1/4 each of Black, White, Hispanic, and Mexican Indian Heritage. I try to follow the same thing I mentioned above, but..sometimes people get a little annoyed when I check 4 boxes LOL. So I usually end up putting Hispanic or Other. Check my link below for a picture of my daughter - what race do you think she looks more of??
hmm.. she probably looks latina and of Indian heritage to me.
I usually put other for myself and dd. since I'm multiracial myself, and cannot see putting down white for being half arab and half somalian, I put other in both of our boxes. dd is half white too so I don't feel comfortable leaving anyone out.

our pics are in my siggy too. People usually assume I'm latina or East Indian too!
post #14 of 65
I usually see a box that says "other" on most forms, sometimes the say "check all that apply." Sometimes there are around a dozen options. They pretty much always say "you can leave it blank if you want to."

The question is asked for different reasons by different groups. Medical questionaires usually ask b/c certain illness are much more common in some racial groups than others. Well known ones: are sicklecell amongst people of africa decent; favaism amongstpeople of southern asian and meditererainian decent; celiac amongst people of irish and italian decent. There are many less well known ones too. So on medical forms it is important too list all heritage.

On many forms especially the governments forms and surveys it is for statistical purposes.

Places like schools will ask in an attemped to ensure racial diversity. Though since affirmative-action has been abolished it doesn't make much difference what race you put down.
post #15 of 65
Thread Starter 
The medical forms I can understand....somewhat.

Most diseases that are limited to a certian group of people, need both parents to come from that ethnic group. Yet another good reason to cross multiple.

So dark skinned is always black is what I am seeing. I have been marking her as such but feel slightly off for doing so.
post #16 of 65
It's my understanding that all gov't (fed, state and local - ie schools, etc) must allow you to check all that apply. So, that's what I'd do.
post #17 of 65
I'm hispanic so that's what I check but my kids are caucasian/hispanic but look predominately caucasian and have an Irish last name so I check white for them.
post #18 of 65
As a half Korean and half Black woman, I check "other" or nothing at all.
My DH is Scottish and Turkish.
I assume my DS will also be "other".
post #19 of 65
The title caught my eye. I'm a European mutt and I like to write in German, Danish, Irish, Dutch, English, French. I like to mess with them. And then the form comes back: white.
post #20 of 65
I check all that apply, regardless of whether it says "check only one". The implication that I can only identify with one background bothers me. The only exception is for electronic forms which only allow you to click one box--in that case I'd pick "other".

I'm white, Asian, and Native Indian. A couple of years ago I filled out the Canadian census forms, and you could select as many backgrounds as applied, but not if you were First Nations. You could only declare yourself as First Nations OR whatever other mix of backgrounds, but not both. I was SO mad.
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