Multiracial no longer boxed in by the Census

Jennifer Harvey was raised by her white mother and white stepfather in what she calls “a Caucasian world.” Harvey never met her father but she knew he was black and Cuban. That made her Hispanic, white and black.”Blacks think I’m black,” she says. “Hispanics think I’m Hispanic. Honestly, I don’t identify with either bucket wholeheartedly — Caucasian, black or Hispanic.”

After high school, living on her own in Alabama, she applied for a new driver’s license. The state, on its own, identified her as black. “I felt I had been branded something I wasn’t,” says Harvey, 40, an administrative assistant for a Houston energy company.

This month, the Census Bureau will remind Americans that racial classifications remain an integral part of the country’s social and legal fabric while, at the same time, recognizing that racial lines are blurring for a growing number of people such as Harvey. The government will give the nation’s more than 308 million people the opportunity to define their racial makeup as one race or more.


Pictured: Eric and Jennifer Harvey pose with their children Dasia Mundine, 14, right, Samari Harvey, 4, and Arianne Harvey, 1, at their home in Houston on Feb. 20. The upcoming Census will be the second that allows people to select more than one race. (By Dave Einsel, for USA TODAY).