The Nebulous Concept of Race

Throughout our lives, we are asked to identify our race or ethnic origin a countless number of times and in countless ways. Boxes may need to be checked on forms at the doctor’s office, a telephone marketer may ask for the race of household members, or curious friends may ask about race and ethnicity in any number of ways (often in the form of a question that has no actual connection to race, such as “Where are you from?”).

By April Fong

While questions that are asked may be very direct, there is not always a direct answer to this question that some people may find so simple. Race is complex. According to a recent article in National Geographic (which can be found here), the U.S. Census first gave the option to check more than one race in 2010. That year, 6.8 million people did just that, and that number grew by 32% during the following census.

The National Geographic article cited above discusses “the Changing Face of America” and racial identity, but the face of the family in America is also changing. There are many people of multiple races in our country, and many, many families that are multiracial and diverse and beautiful. Whether through adoption, marriage, or otherwise, many children are raised by parents of two different races, or with siblings or other family members who are of a different race than they are. In many families, a child may not identify with the same race that their parent(s) do, or they may feel more connected with one part of their race or ethnic background at some times than others. Two children born to the same two parents may have different self-identities when it comes to race, or may look quite different than one another.

Regardless of where you are on your journey of adoption, parenting, or life itself, I encourage you to look at the article mentioned above (which can be found here). Take some time to consider the complexities of race and whatever that may mean in your life, whether that involves helping your children and family develop their identity, thinking about how you may answer (or ask) questions about race in the future, or just marveling at the diversity and beauty of the people all around us every day. Be sure to look at the interactive gallery that is part of the article to see 25 beautiful pictures and a small piece of how those individuals identify themselves