Making (mixed-)race: Census politics and the emergence of multiracial multiculturalism in the United States, Great Britain and Canada

Debra Thompson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the same time period, the United States, Great Britain and Canada all moved towards 'counting' mixed-race on their national censuses. In the United States, this move is largely attributed to the existence of a mixed-race social movement that pushed Congress for the change - but similar developments in Canada and Britain occurred without the presence of a politically active civil society devoted to making the change. Why the convergence? This article argues that demographic trends, increasingly unsettled perceptions about discrete racial categories, and a transnational norm surrounding the primacy of racial self-identification in census-taking culminated in a normative shift towards multiracial multiculturalism. Therein, mixed-race identities are acknowledged as part of - rather than problematic within - diverse societies. These elements enabled mixed-race to be promoted, at times strategically, as a corollary of multiculturalism in these three countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1409-1426
Number of pages18
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume35
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

Keywords

  • Census
  • mixed-race
  • multiculturalism
  • multiracial
  • public policy
  • racial classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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