The New Creolism

By Thomas Kochman - 03.27.2010

The 2010 census that allows people of mixed racial ancestry to write in their own racial/ethnic identity gives them a unique opportunity to define themselves in ways that don’t subscribe to any of the previously recognized official categories –themselves the result of racial and ethnic mixing historically — like “African American” or “Hispanic”.

What’s different today is that first generation individuals whose parents are of different racial backgrounds choose to characterize themselves as “mixed”, resisting the mindset of earlier generations that compelled individuals to choose one (but not both) of the officially recognized racial/ethnic classifications. Apart from what it says about personal loyalty issues –as our tribally mixed American Indian colleague says today when people ask him to declare which tribe he belongs to: answers, “Which grandparent would you have me deny” – it also says something about “the new rules of the game” in our ever-changing society. Read more »