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Counting AmericansHow the US Census Classified the Nation$
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Paul Schor

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199917853

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917853.001.0001

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The Question of Racial Mixing in the American Possessions

The Question of Racial Mixing in the American Possessions

National Norms and Local Resistance

(p.169) 15 The Question of Racial Mixing in the American Possessions
Counting Americans

Paul Schor

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the imposition of the US system of racial classification in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. The original use in certain US territories of a “mixed” racial category highlights the national norm that made mulattoes into “lighter-skinned” blacks. In the various territories acquired by the United States after 1898, a rigid imposition of the categories of the US census was difficult because they were the product of a national history that had not been shared. Whether in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or Hawaii the perception of what made a person black, white, or mulatto was very different from North American usage, showing that binary black and white mainland tradition was not working there.

Keywords:   mixed race, racial category, blacks, mulattoes, US census, US territory, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico

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