The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Census Bureau comment period regarding race and ethnicity is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to send in your comments. Below is the statement provided by Ryan Graham, co-founder of Project RACE, which reflects how we all feel about the term “multiracial.” Please continue to monitor our website, email letters, and Facebook sites for updates.
October 18, 2016
Katherine K. Wallman
Office of Management and Budget
Dear Ms. Wallman:
I was eight-years-old the first time I met you. I was testifying before the Subcommittee on Census, Statistics and Postal Personnel, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, House of Representatives, June 30, 1993. I was asking the lawmakers for a multiracial classification on the U. S. Census and government forms for me, my little sister, and children like us, who were made to choose to be the race of only one of our parents.
We met again when I was asked to testify before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology in 1997. I was 12-years-old. Once again, children like me were denied appropriate, dignified terminology. We were “granted” the ability to check two or more boxes of races, but still without an appropriate name, label, or identifier. You did not acknowledge why we needed the identifier of “multiracial” instead of “two or more races,” “Some Other Race,” “Mixed,” “Mutt,” and others. Perhaps we did not make our feelings clear.
I am now 32-years-old, Ms. Wallman. I have been fighting from the time I was born to have the right to self-identify as a multiracial citizen of the United States.
President Obama’s mother was white and father was black. He is multiracial, although he chooses to self-identify racially as black. That is his right and his option. I respect that. However, he does not respect my right to choose to be the races of both of my parents with the respectful and appropriate terminology of multiracial. Why is that? Is that his decision as President of the United States or your decision as Chief Statistician of the Office of Management and Budget? Either way, it is the wrong decision for me and my peers.
I am asking you one more time, to put that decision aside and let children like me have the right to honor our entire heritage with the sanction of the federal government.
Ryan J. Graham