Anyone who happened to see the article in Wednesday's USA Today by Haya El Nasser, "Multiracial no longer boxed in by the Census," may have noticed a correlation between some of the findings cited in the article and the PBS series, "Faces of America," with Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Indeed, there has been a renewed recognition that many of us come from a huge melting pot. The U.S. Census Bureau, which begins its count this month, will once again give Americans the opportunity to check off more than one race choice -- something first launched in the 2000 Census.
Citing the bureau, the article states that Multiracial Americans are "one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the country." Our own president, Barack Obama, considered the nation's first black president but with mixed parentage, is evidence of that fact.
The multiracial designation has not been without critics and there are those who fear the dissolution of information federal agencies depend upon when monitoring compliance with anti-discrimination laws and mandates.
Yet, despite the small percentage of the population identifying as being more than one race, statistics show us that mixed-race marriage and a flatter, more accessible world will eventually mean a blurring of racial lines. In fact, by 2050, as the article cites Census projections, there will be no racial or ethnic majority.
But much of this could be seen in the lineage of many Americans, some obvious and others not so much.
Gates-the-Harvard-scholar, himself a product of a mixed heritage, recently explored the backgrounds of famous individuals such as poet Elizabeth Alexander, chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. Those who discovered their lineage included a variety of race and culture generally showed great pleasure and others, such as Streep and Colbert, were obviously disappointed at the lack of mixture.
The Harvard scholar, with great resources available, has been able to dig into his own and others' roots. The fact that these are famous individuals, some even ultra-famous, makes the piece even more intriguing. And it also makes the viewer want to explore her or his own roots, accessible via Internet or by visiting family history centers.
The wider range of U.S. Census choices and growing number of individuals seeking to unlock the mysteries of their own pasts shows how much the world is changing in terms of how we all view each other. Perhaps we're still not completely color-blind but at least growing less color sensitive.
Dawn Marie Bracely/Editorial Writer