Recent discussion around the case of Rachel Dolezal has raised questions about what race means, and whether racial identity is fixed. On The Monkey Cage blog of the Washington Post, Andrew Gelman cites Kenneth Prewitt’s book, What Is Your Race? The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans to make a case for what he calls “the ambiguity of racial categories.” In discussing the potentially explosive step of dropping today’s race question from the census, Prewitt argues persuasively that radical change is technically and politically achievable, and morally necessary.
Andrew Gelman writes for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage:
Ultimately, Prewitt’s point is that ethnic and racial classifications are not fixed in time; rather, they exist in response to particular social conditions in the world. And these conditions continue to change, as the statistics show and the case of Rachel Dolezal illustrates.
Read the rest of the article here.
Preview the introduction of Prewitt’s book here.