Multiracial College Applicants
If you’re a student who is of mixed race, deciding which ethnicity box to check on the Common Application may prove a difficult task. Let’s say your mom is African American and your dad is Caucasian. Should you check off that you’re African American because you are half African American? Should you check off Caucasian because to not do so would be to deny half your heritage? Should you check African American because you know it’ll give you an advantage in the college admissions process? Well, the Common Application, due to a mandate by the Department of Education, now makes it easier for multiracial college applicants.
As stated in the “New York Times,” “Students can now choose from a menu of new boxes of racial and ethnic categories — because the Department of Education started requiring universities this past school year to comply with a broad federal edict to collect more information about race and ethnicity. The change has made it easier for students to claim a multiracial identity — highlighting those parts of their backgrounds they might want to bring to the fore and disregarding others.”
About ten years ago, Emory University admissions counselors made a judgment call if someone checked off, say, both Asian and African American. And as you might imagine, just about all of those “judgment calls” led to the Emory University admissions counselors categorizing the applicants as African American rather than Asian. It’s all about the statistics.
Do you think a student who is half African American and half Caucasian should have to check both? Do you think it should be at the student’s discretion? What if a great-grandparent is Latino? Does that make the student Latino? Let us know your thoughts on this controversial subject by posting below.
Have a look at the “New York Times” article on multiracial college applicants by Susan Saulny and Jacques Steinberg. And check out our newsletter on minority applicants or race as a college admissions factor.
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I always had trouble with checking the appropriate box in those forms and other surveys. And not just because I never know whether to classify my dad as Hispanic or White. Portuguese is hard to do, it’s in Europe sup white, right? But if someone’s from Spain they could check hispanic or latino and Portugal is on the Iberian penninsula….. And my father’s family line was founded by a Chineese man who married the half Moorish daughter of a wealthy landowner to further complicate matters. He doesn’t look white, he’s almost as dark as the average Puerto Rican so no one would call me a liar if I did check Hispanic. Then there’s my mom. She identifies not as any race (she looks pretty black to most people and those who can’t tell an absent think she’s West African) she’s Cruzan. What you never heard of it? As far back as she could tell the family oral history w have Taino and Carib as well as Asian Indoan in our family. Not to mention the black slave ancestors. And her great-grandfather is the younger son of a German noble family. I simply tell people that I am mixed and when they inevitably ask “with what?” I usually sigh and reply “everything” and I’ve always been questioned as my five sister, brother, and I are all “throwbacks” to a different heritage people think we are adopted. I’ve had someone show up at my high school to visually confirm that I an every race I checked. So here am I, slanted blue eyes, yellow tinged skin, highly curly hair with prominant African bone structure. Which race would you check after a two minute meeting?