Multiracial people in the United States claim their own identities, and their experiences of discrimination vary significantly based on their particular racial mix, according to a study published Wednesday that recommends accounting for those differences when formulating public policies.
The study, “Discrimination in the 21st Century: How Civil Rights Policies Can Embrace the Growing Mixed-Race Population,” published this Wednesday by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), indicates that the United States’ mixed-race population did so between 2010 and 2020 and grew by 276% in 2020, adding around 33.8 million people.
This proportion was 2.9% of the population at the 2010 census and increased to 10.2% at the 2020 census.
Among the findings of the research is that people of mixed race often experience discrimination in a similar way to those belonging to a single-race minority.
However, there are significant differences depending on the ethnicity of individuals. For example, those who identify with the term “black and white” have different experiences than “Asian whites” or “Latino whites”.
Additionally, individuals often change the racial group they identify with and may downplay their multiracial identity in response to their social or political environment.
“America has always been a society where race matters and races divide. But the nature of the breed becomes much more complex. There are now millions of people from multiracial backgrounds in American society who identify themselves as multiracial,” said Gregory Leslie and Natalie Masuoka, the report’s authors.
“Multiracial” is applied to individuals who choose to identify with more than one “race” or ethnic ancestral group in their census response.
As of the 2020 census, 19.3 million people identified as white “of another race” and 4 million as white of Native American or Alaskan descent. Another 3.1 million were identified as black and white, and 2.7 million were white and of Asian descent.
According to the UCLA analysis, Hispanic and White marriages account for 42% of all heterosexual interracial marriages, with 22% involving a White husband and 20% involving a Hispanic husband.
The study makes a number of policy recommendations, including “refrain from developing a unified policy to meet the needs of mixed populations” as doing so “could do more harm than justice improves”.
It also recommends building greater consensus on how to “count” people of mixed race when determining public policy target populations and monitoring these people’s experiences of discrimination and racial identity.
“Politicians should be wary of policies that promote an all-racial category or a one-size-fits-all approach that might conceal discriminatory intent or inadvertently misrepresent a growing and diverse group,” Leslie said.