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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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New Asian Races, New Mixtures, and the “Mexican” Race

New Asian Races, New Mixtures, and the “Mexican” Race

Interest in “Minor Races”

(p.203) 16 New Asian Races, New Mixtures, and the “Mexican” Race
Counting Americans

Paul Schor

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses changes in racial categorization in the early twentieth century with respect to the US census. Whenever there was a question of the racial classification of new populations, whether in the continental United States or in the territories acquired since 1867, the census always relied on the principles and techniques developed since 1850 to distinguish blacks from whites. Chief among these was the principle of hypodescent, in more or less rigid forms. However, the early twentieth century saw change occurring in two directions: on the one hand, the racialization of a growing number of non-European immigrants and their descendants; on the other, the weakening of the distinctions between the descendants of European immigrants. The remainder of the chapter details the disappearance of the “mulatto” category and the introduction and forcible elimination of the “Mexican” category.

Keywords:   race, racial categorization, US census, non-European immigrants, European immigrants, hypodescent, Mexicans, mulattoes

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