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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

Chapter:
(p.169) 15 The Question of Racial Mixing in the American Possessions
Source:
Counting Americans
Author(s):

Paul Schor

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199917853.003.0016

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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