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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > The rise in multiracials impacts the future strength of the Latino vote

The rise in multiracials impacts the future strength of the Latino vote

LatinaLista– The U.S. Census released a report today that showed something that everyone has known to be on the horizon for a while now — the growth in numbers of people of color.

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According to the U.S. Census’ figures, which are still based on the 2000 Census and updated by Census staff using a variety of resources, the minority population now makes up 35 percent of the nation’s population.

When the groups are looked at separately, it’s no big surprise that the group seen with the biggest gain is Latinos, who now comprise 16 percent of the population versus the black population that only comprises 12 percent of the population.

However, what is a surprise for many is the rise of a new demographic — multiracials.

Multiracial Americans, the fastest growing U.S. demographic group, are also adding to minority gains. About 5.3 million last year were identified as being of multiple race or ethnicity, up 3.2 percent from the previous year.

The gain among multiracial Americans was higher, if even only by a percentage point, than any of the other groups measured. This can only point to the assumption that the rise in multiracials will continue to increase — we’ll know far better once the analysis of the 2010 Census is released — and that could prove to be a real game-changer when it comes to Latino politics.

According to a 2009 Associated Press article, about 1 in 13 marriages are mixed race, with the most prevalent being white-Hispanic, white-American Indian and white-Asian.

Multiracial Latinos have the option of being a Latino — buffet style. They take those aspects of the culture they like and identify with and claim them as their own; others they disregard.

Guilt trips used by organizations or their peers to get them to join their “Latino” causes/groups don’t work very well, especially if that multiracial completely rejects the Latino side of him/herself in favor of the other “half.”

This “independence” from the main group can wreak havoc on any potential Latino voting bloc. It means that, as a community, the Latino population has to create ways to acknowledge the multiracial Latino and do a better job of including multiracials into the fold and endorse their sense of mixed identity, knowing that in the voter’s booth it’s one identity that will win out when choosing candidates.

“The significance of race as we know it in today’s legal and government categories will be obsolete in less than 20 years,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution.

“The rise of mixed-race voters will dilute the racial identity politics that have become prevalent in past elections,” he said.

And when it comes to negotiating demands for votes, that may prove to be harder and harder to deliver on.

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Comment(5)

  • Pepito
    June 11, 2010 at 12:37 am

    The designation white-Hispanic does not equate to being multiracial as this article indicates.
    Hispanic is an ethnicity – not a race.
    The reason I and most Americans of Mexican heritage identify ourselves as being white is because the U.S. has very strict rules about who can identify themselves as Native Americans (being Mexica, the name by which the Aztecs identified themselves, is not one of them). Since a Mexican is a mixed race of Native American and White( Spanish European) – this leaves us only one race option to choose from – White.
    However, when I and most of us who come from Mexican ancestry look at ourselves in the mirror, we do not see a “White” person. We see a Native American.
    Of course most Anglos in the U.S. think Native Americans are blond and blue eyed with a tan- like in the movies.

  • Texan123
    June 11, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Why are Latinos always trying to set themselves apart,(above), other groups? Isn’t it more important that we unite as one nation, working together?
    There are more urgent issues facing this country than rewards for illegal aliens. Yet, Latinos are focusing only on the issue that would benefit themselves.
    Sounds very selfish and racist to me.

  • irma
    June 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Texan123,
    Why do you have issue with the desire of
    Latinos to acknowledge our heritage?
    Why is national unity or homogeneity even desirable? Sounds rather fascist to me.

  • Karen
    June 15, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Re: “The gain among multiracial Americans was higher, if even only by a percentage point, than any of the other groups measured.”
    Most of the multiracials are Hispanic. The census has separate categories for Hispanic ethncity and race.

  • Texan123
    June 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Irma: You do not think national unity is a good thing? No wonder you Latino’s are so good at stirring up trouble for everyone else.
    You are selfish and short sighted.

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