Black and Hispanic Americans are likelier to view race as central to their identities than white Americans, according to a report released Thursday by the non-partisan non-profit Pew Research Center.
Black Americans (55%) and Hispanics (54%) reported their origins were central to their identity at more than twice the rate of white Americans (23%).
“For Black Americans, in other surveys, we’ve found many grow up aware of their background as their parents are more likely to discuss how their background may impact their life opportunities,” said Dr. Mark Lopez, director of race and ethnicity research at Pew.
The data come as America faces a racial reckoning long in the making, particularly in the past year, as videos of police violence in communities of color and protests have roiled cities across the country. The friction over race reaches nearly every part of American life, from the coronavirus pandemic to how children learn about race and history in schools.
The 2020 Census was the first to allow white and Black respondents to elaborate on their national origin and ethnic background. The previous Census had a write-in box only for people of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin; American Indian or Alaska native; or Asian.
“The Census Bureau stated that it was a matter in part of equity, to give Black respondents and white respondents the opportunity to provide more information about their origins on the Census, as well,” D’Vera Cohn, senior writer and editor for Pew, told USA TODAY.
For many Black Americans, the legacy of slavery has meant a separation from the story of their own roots. As a result, pinpointing exactly where many of their ancestors originated from has been an uphill struggle.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Chelsey Cox