The number of mixed-race Americans is increasing three times faster than the population of the United States as a whole.
That information comes from the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC.
In the 1970s, one percent of all American children were of mixed race. Now, 10 percent are.
The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that, by 2060, the number of multiracial Americans will be three times larger than it is now.
Many multiracial Americans experience life in a way that is very different from someone whose parents belong to the same race or minority group.
Delia Douglas says problems sometimes result when you are multiracial and decide to marry someone of another race.
“Especially in the first three years of my daughter’s life, people often would stop and ask me if I was the nanny, and there were days when that would be incredibly frustrating.”
Douglas is white, African-American and Native American. Her 5-year-old daughter Soleil looks more like her father, who is white. She is light-skinned.
“I think she surprised both of us. I never expected her to have golden blond hair.”
Ronnie Nells is Douglas’ brother. He says life as a mixed-race person in the United States can sometimes be difficult.
“I was pulled over, I think, once a month for a year and asked where I was headed and what I was doing.”
The Pew Research Center reports four in 10 mixed-race Americans who are partly black say they have been unfairly targeted by police.
The center says 69 percent of mixed-race Americans who are at least partly black say most people consider them black. They also say their experience is similar to that of black Americans.
Some Americans say the Los Angeles area is more accepting of multiracial individuals than other parts of the country. Damona Hoffman’s parents are Russian-Jewish and African-American.
“I found actually that it (LA) was where my people were because there were so many biracial people that were suddenly in my orbit that I really had not seen before growing up in the Midwest.”
Many young mixed-race children in Los Angeles go to schools where many ethnicities are represented. At World City Center, 30 percent of the students are multiracial.
Viviane Arlotto is Korean and Belgian. She is married to a white American. Her son attends school at the World City Center.
“I grew up in a really homogenous neighborhood and felt like the ‘other,’ so it was important for my son to be in a place where he felt normal.”
WorldSpeak is a school where children learn languages other than English. Eighty percent of the students there are of mixed race. Angelika Getmanchuk launched the school. She says children who come from a multiethnic background have an advantage.
“They have more empathy towards other multiracial and multilingual children. They have more curiosity towards multiracial differences and acceptance.”
Some mixed-race Americans like Ronnie Nells say there is a growing acceptance of people of mixed ancestry. He notes the success of former U.S. President Barack Obama.
“We went from knowing all five other families that were mixed in the (LA) valley to a mixed man being the president, and that is (an) awesome thing.”
Obama’s father was from Kenya, while his mother was a white woman from Kansas.
I’m John Russell.
VOA Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reported this story from Los Angeles. John Smith adapted the story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
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Words in This Story
nanny – n. a woman who is paid to care for a young child usually in the child’s home
frustrating – adj. causing feelings of anger and annoyance
pull over – phrasal verb to force (a driver or vehicle) to move to the side of the road and stop
orbit – n. the area over which or throughout which someone or something has power; the group of friends, coworkers and family members that one is familiar with
homogenous – adj. made up of the same kind of people or things
advantage – n. something (such as a good position or condition) that helps to make someone or something better or more likely to succeed than others
empathy – n. the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions
curiosity – n. the desire to learn or know more about something or someone