Horn Reacts to Decision on Multiracial Classification

U.S. House of Representatives
105th Congress
Press Release – 08 July 1997

CONTACT: Matthew Phillips (202) 225-6676
RELEASE:  July 8, 1997                                                                            277 words

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — (July 8, 1997) U.S. Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif./38th), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, reacted today to a Federal task force recommendation regarding OMB Directive No. 15.

 Directive No. 15 was issued in 1977.  It detailed four racial categories — American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, and White — and the one ethnic category of "Hispanic Origin."  In recent years there have been calls for the addition of a "multiracial" category to reflect the millions of people who have differing ethnic and racial heritages not represented by a single existing category.  The Federal task force recommended against a "multiracial" category but in favor of allowing people to identify with more than one of the existing categories to reflect their diverse backgrounds.

 "This recommendation is intended as a painstaking compromise," said Mr. Horn.  "In effect, the task force has advised OMB to preserve the current usefulness of racial and ethnic data and also to acknowledge the desire of individuals accurately to identify their heritage.  Some will say this recommendation fails by trying to please all sides and therefore pleasing none.

 "Our concern is how these data will be utilized.  Will one person who checked four racial categories be counted as four people, dramatically inflating the racial figures in a particular area?  We need to debate the merits of this recommendation."

 The Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology will hold a hearing entitled "Federal Measures of Race and Ethnicity and the Implications for Census 2000," on Friday July 25, 1997, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

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