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Sunday, September 18, 2011

The "fuzziness" in how race and ethnic groups will be defined

I read in a National Geographic article that soon there will be great fuzziness between how race and ethnic groups are defined. As I work in my job on tracking different ethnic groups and understanding their different buying habits and spending power, it is amazing to think that within the next few decades minorities will grow tremendously and everything will become less black and white (no pun intended).

Coming from a White + Asian household, I think of how I identify myself when I have to classify my race. My last name is Asian but I grew up with a lot stronger influence of my mother's family which is Italian. So I don't really consider myself 100% Asian nor 100% White since I am mixed. While this combination is pretty common now, not too long ago it was unheard of to mix 2 different races together. The statistics stated are that in the 1960's interracial marriages were about 1 in 1000 and now they are 1 in 60. Also, mixed unions have reached a record of 14.6% in the year 2008. People are no longer 100% of one race. They are 1/2 this, 1/4 that and 1/8 of something else etc.

Some other interesting statistics are cited on this graph taken from the magazine:

Out of White + Asian marriages: 74% are White groom with Asian bride
Out of White + Black marriages: 75% are Black groom with White bride

but then on the other hand

Out of White + Hispanic marriages: 53% are Hispanic groom with White bride due to the fact that their populations are most widespread and intertwined.

To me, this information is absolutely fascinating. Could race one day evolve into having a classification for people who are half Asian/half White or half Hispanic/half White etc.? I think it is becoming more difficult to refer to interracial as the typical scenario of half Black/half White.

The needs and values of multicultural populations will be vastly different than that of the "majority" races in today's world. However, companies are already beginning to take note of that and are marketing towards those needs and desires. How will this impact your life?

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