July 28, 2016
Dear Hillary Clinton:
I watched President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. I cried because our Commander-in-Chief gave a speech from his heart. I cried because of his successes and his failures. I cried for the people he helped and the people he could not help.
There was one thing that Barack Obama could not give to Americans: the answer to the “What are you?” question. It’s the one question every multiracial person is asked many times during their lifetimes. It quite literally means what is your race? Our current President is multiracial. We have been told that he self-identifies solely as African-American, which is his right and his choice. We respect his choice. He does not use the term “multiracial” to answer the “What are you?” question, but over 17 million other multiracial Americans would like that option. Millions of multiracial children would prefer to embrace their entire heritage when describing their racial identification. They should have the choice.
Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally) has been actively seeking inclusion of the important term “multiracial” on federal and state forms requiring racial classifications since 1990. We have testified at the request of OMB and the U.S. Census. My son was the youngest person to testify before Congress on an issue. He was eight-years-old at the time. He will be 32 in August and the federal government still does not acknowledge him as multiracial. We did win the ability to check more than one race on most forms, but not to use the dignified, perfect terminology our children so deserve. My children and millions like them are not mulatto, mixed, halves, or many other terms. They are proudly of two or more races—they are proudly multiracial.
We understand, in some ways, why President Obama did not wish to give children the multiracial option, since he, himself, identifies as monoracial. It is a personal matter for him. But, our children have waited eight more years so that he did not have to make the decision for the civil rights of America’s multiracial population.
You, Hillary Rodham Clinton, are the hope for our multiracial children. Make the right change. Let’s talk.
Project RACE, Inc.