Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Black or mixed race? Obama's census choice sparks debate over how people identify

Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, October 2008
Photo by rob.rudloff/Flickr (Creative Commons)

More than a hundred comments have been posted so far in reaction to an interesting opinion piece today from the Los Angeles Times' Gregory Rodriguez on how "the most famous mixed-race person in the world," President Obama, identified himself racially on his census form last year. He checked off only one race, black. From the piece:

It could have been a historic teaching moment. Instead, President Obama, the most famous mixed-race person in the world, checked off only one race — black — last year on his census form. And in so doing, he missed an opportunity to articulate a more nuanced racial vision for the increasingly diverse country he heads.

The president also bucked a trend. Last month, the Census Bureau announced that the number of Americans who identified themselves as being of more than one race in 2010 grew about 32% over the last decade. The number of people who identified as both white and black jumped an astounding 134%. And nearly 50% more children were identified as multiracial on this census, making that category the fastest-growing youth demographic in the country.

To be sure, the number of people — 9 million, or 2.9% of the population — who identified themselves as of more than one race on their census form is still small. But the trend is clear.


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Who has to wait the longest for a green card?

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions.
Source: Visa Bulletin for April 2011, U.S. Department of Stat

A common question that comes up when discussing immigration, legal and illegal, is why it is more people don't get "in line" for a green card. There is a line, indeed, for people who have immediate relatives in the United States and whose families have the resources to sponsor them. But depending on where these hopeful immigrants are coming from, it can be quite a wait.

It's been since January that Multi-American featured its monthly post on the on the longest waits for green cards, and the line has budged little since. That month, the people who had endured the longest wait for an immigrant visa, the brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines, had been waiting an especially long time: 23 years, having filed their petitions in January 1988.

Siblings waiting in the Philippines are still the ones waiting the longest this month. According to the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin, those hopeful immigrants whose turn is up to receive a green card this month filed their petitions in March 1988. That's back when there was no World Wide Web, people wore acid-wash and INXS and Guns N' Roses topped the charts. That long ago.


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In the news this morning: Border security questions, shark fin soup, migration from North Africa, detention centers and assault, more

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Disparity in border security under review - USA Today As illegal immigration debate has intensified in recent years, the federal government's response has been additional border security, putting additional Border Patrol agents and National Guard troops to work along the southwest border.

Shark fin soup: Proposed shark fin ban has Chinese restaurants in a stir - Los Angeles Times Restaurant owners are opposing the proposed ban, and say shark fins are an essential part of Chinese cuisine.

Libya: 400 illegal immigrants 'disappear' on way to Italy - Telegraph Suspected casualties mount as northward migration continues from troubled North Africa; two boats that set off from Libya almost two weeks ago have not been seen since.

Prison Sexual Assault Reforms Won't Cover Immigrant Detention Centers - Huffington Post A proposed Department of Justice rule would not would not include immigrant detention centers in corrections-system standards designed to prevent rape and other of sexual assault.


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A stream of consciousness ode to Tapatío sauce, revisited

Photo by Jeremy Brooks/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Before the weekend begins, I'm reposting this too-good-to-miss nugget from a post yesterday. In a piece about hunting for Tapatío hot sauce-flavored Doritos, I included a wonderful, if hard to follow, ode to Tapatío sauce that I came across in an “I Love Tapatío Hot Sauce” section on

Its author, identified on the site as "marioxgutierrez," wrote it stream of consciousness style in hip-hop phonetics. It takes a little concentration to read, but it's oddly poetic and sweet. And this is not, I repeat not, the kind of person you want to get into a Tapatío-versus-Cholula argument with.

Hit it, Tapatío-loving guy:

Deff a socal thing even tho now that im in miami and i see it out here ive seen its caught on i literally grew up on tapatio specially me an my momz fav doritos or kc masterpiece lays chips or any chips really an tapatio cant go wrong an then on all my momz food we used tapatio on tacos de frijoles chinitos y tocino also spam cooked an diced an put on a tortilla wit sum ketchup an tapatio an my fav hot dogs wit ketchup mustard n tapatio ive tried other hot sauces like my dads fav since he from tamazula jalisco salsa tamazula an dont get me wrong das my number 2 but na an also amor, buffalo, valentina, an u can even throw in tabasco an water’d down hot sauces from down south an yea no comparison tapatio goes wit everything oh yea i forgot cup o noodles or jus top ramen wit sum lemon juice an tapatio shiiiiieeeet i even got it in my cars glove box so yea I LOVE TAPATIO.


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The forgotten history of the Filipino laborers who worked with Cesar Chavez

A mural commemorating the late labor leader Philip Vera Cruz, who worked alongside Cesar Chavez, May 2010
Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

For those closely related to the farm labor movement of the 1960s and 70s, the story of Asian American farm workers and the extent to which these workers were involved in the movement is fairly common knowledge. But for many others familiar with the legacy of labor and civil rights leader César Chávez, whose birthday was celebrated yesterday as a state holiday, the story of the Filipino laborers who worked side by side with him is a piece of near-forgotten history.

The Filipino American culture website featured a film trailer yesterday for a documentary titled "The Delano Manongs: Forgotten Heroes of the UFW" that tells the story of United Farm Workers of America leaders Larry Itliong, Phillip Vera Cruz, Pete Velasco, and Andy Imutan, all of whom were instrumental to the farm labor movement.


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