Thursday, July 23, 2015

racial shifting: auto-reclasificación racial

As I understand it, this term refers to people changing how they classify themselves on the census and other official forms, without changing their outward appearance. Though this article in the Post conflates the two, I would consider Rachel Dolezal more than a racial shifter because she clearly went to great lengths to pass as her new race, rather than simply marking a form.

As that article points out, however, racial shifting is surprisingly common.  In the US, for example, about 650,000people described themselves as white on the 2000 Census and then described themselves as white and Native American in 2010. The theory is that people have been getting newly affordable genetic testing through ancestry.com and 23andme.com and discovering traces of indigenous heritage. 

You may also have seen some of the media coverage last spring of a Pew study showing that Latinos in the US are increasingly shifting and declaring themselves white, more so the longer they live in the US. Across Latin America census figures also show people more willing in recent years to identify as having African heritage. 

I posted this term as a question on kudoz, and am basing this translation on Juan Blackmore's suggestion of reclasificación racial. I added the auto because it seems to me that shifting implies that it is something you do yourself, but clasificación is often done by others. If you don't use the kudoz glossaries and forums they are a great resource. Gracias Juan!
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