AMEA Responds to Multiracial Census Data

Association of MultiEthnic Americans
Press Release – 12 March 2001

AMEA Responds to Multiracial Census Data

TUCSON, Ariz., March 12 — Today, March 12, 2001 is a historic day for the Association of MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA), the national organization whose mission is to educate and advocate on behalf of multiethnic individuals and families by collaborating with others to eradicate discrimination in all forms. The Census Bureau stated that 2.4 percent of the U.S. population or 6.8 million people responded to the Census by checking more than one race box.

AMEA has worked with the Office of Management and Budget and the Census Department since the late 80’s towards counting members of the multiracial community. AMEA has worked with Claudette Bennett, Racial Statistics Branch Chief for the Census Department since the early 90’s. Given the long relationship with Ms. Bennett, the organization’s board members were shocked at her statement that the Census Bureau has stayed away from the concept of multiracial and that they don’t know whether multiracial people are a community. Edwin Darden, resident of Alexandria, Virginia and Legal Council for AMEA stated after hearing Ms. Bennett’s comments, “She knows better. I can’t believe she said it.”

Ms. Bennett’s comments about multiracial people not having a community get at the heart of what AMEA finds disheartening in America, states Levonne Gaddy, Resident of Tucson, Arizona and President of AMEA. She asks, “What defines a community? Does the Census Department not only determine what we are to call ourselves racially but also whether we are a community or not? How does the Census Department define community?”

Webster defines community as a unified body of individuals; a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together in a larger society; a group linked by a common policy; a body of persons with a common history.

Ms. Gaddy explained that many individuals with more than one racial heritage and families with members from more than one racial group are unified through grassroots organizations such as AMEA and its eight affiliates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, D.C., Tucson, Montclair, Eugene and Edmonton, Alberta. Other individuals throughout the country are unified on tens of college campuses and grassroots organizations not yet affiliated with AMEA.

“The common characteristic that multiracial people share is that they have had to learn to thrive in a society that does not acknowledge their multiple heritages or acknowledge that they are an emerging community,” states Gaddy. “They have been linked and remain linked through the Office of Management and Budget’s data collection policies on race. Multiracial people and interracial couples and family share a history of being discriminated against by institutions and fellow citizens. Laws existed until 1968 prohibiting the marriage of a person from one race to that of another race. No other racial group is being denied the right to identify themselves truthfully and in congruence with their racial heritage. No other racial group is currently being denied the right to determine what the government and larger society will call them.”

Matt Kelley, Publisher of Mavin Magazine and AMEA board member hopes that the media does not pit AMEA and the multiracial community against other minorities. “We are people of color,” Kelley states. “We are part of their communities yet part of an emerging community — a multiracial community.” He adds, “Stop pushing us out. Widen your definition of your community to include us,” he beckons of the traditional Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American groups. “Take responsibility because we are also your community.”

AMEA will continue to monitor the data being released by the Census Department. Please refer frequently to for updated census analysis, including state-by-state multiracial data.

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