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Why Do I Have To Pick One Race?

I was filling out a questionnaire today and ran into every mixed person’s worst fear…the dreaded pick your race box! Ok maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but I must say that this truly sucks! You’re filling in all kinds of detailed and specific personal information and when it comes to the select your race box, your only option is to pick one race or pick “UNKNOWN”. Sorry, but unknown doesn’t work for me. And having to pick one race doesn’t work for me either. So I had a major dilemma, should I pick Black or White?

I decided to ask my (African American) black father and my (French, German, Irish) white mother for advice, and they both agreed that none of my available options were fair. So after getting some sympathy from my folks and a “good luck” from them, I was stuck in front of my computer with the same dilemma at hand. Which race should I pick? Is unknown really even an option? What would you do in this situation?

I remember dealing with this back in the day, but most questionnaires nowadays allow you to select multiple races and/or have an “other” option (which is definitely better than “Unknown” but is still not ideal). The craziest part of this whole situation is that the questionnaire was for Obamacare. Just in case you didn’t know, our President is mixed!┬áThis situation seems like something worth fighting for…our Mixed Nation community should come together, raise our voices and make a change. Together we can make a difference!


Luke Whitehead

Luke is the founder and CEO of Mixed Nation. He is a global ambassador for diversity, equity, and inclusion with certification from Cornell University. He is a former professional basketball player. He has dedicated his life to impact meaningful change within his circle of influence.

One thought on “Why Do I Have To Pick One Race?

  • boheme

    I pick black usually not because I want to deny my white side but because if I select ‘black’ I still at least convey my minority status. I struggled with this dilemma a lot with star (standardized) testing in elementary school

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