Individuals who identify with more than one racial or ethnic identity represent one of the fastest growing populations in the United States today.  According to the United States Census, the number of people who identified with more than one race grew from 6.8 million in the year 2000 to 9.0 million people in 2010.  These numbers reflected a growth rate of 32% in this population overall (versus a 9.2% growth rate of those individuals choosing a single race), with a growth rate of 50% or more in some multiple race groups. 

This means that an increasing amount of individuals in the United States might very well, at some point, encounter the question of how to self-identify, as well as how and/or when to express their racial/ethnic/cultural identities in ways that are personally and socially supported.

But what does the term multiculturalism mean, exactly?  Currently, it is used to describe the intersection of various forms of culture, which can include affiliations based on race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, sexual identity, religion, geographic area, and/or age.  

In some ways, expanding the definition of culture in this way acknowledges the complex nature of cultural identity expression.  However, there is a fine line where broadening the term culture could reach a point where its dilution impacts the recognition of racism, power, and oppression.  

Culture, race, and identity represent complex relationships both within ourselves, and within the institutional and societal structures in which we live.  Taking the first step towards supporting, empowering, and integrating your identities can offer you a personal journey that can be challenging, but ultimately brings transformation as well.


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