Understanding Multiracial America

By the midcentury, people of color will make up the majority in the U.S. These resouces will help students understand race and the experiences of multiracial people.
Bill of Rights

Image courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration.

Great Resources for Teaching

from the March 2010 YES! Education Connection Newsletter

Read the newsletter: (Multiracial) America the Beautiful

Many youth develop their assumptions and beliefs based on stereotypes and limited experience. It's not unusual for children and young adults to have little exposure to people different than themselves. Here are two resources that explore race and the experiences of multiracial people.

Teaching the Multiracial Experience

Read the "Bill of Rights" and "50 Experiences" with your students. Use these documents as a platform to explore stereotypes, ignorance, judgments, and even rudeness. Ask them what it might be like for kids who don’t fit in a single racial box, who straddle dual and sometimes multiple races and cultures. Then, brainstorm ways your students can be more inclusive and ethnically aware.

Bill of Rights for Mixed Race People

Dr. Maria Root wrote the foundational "Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People." The U.S. Census referred to these texts in their deliberations that resulted in a historic ‘check more than one’ format to the race question for the 2000 census.

DOWNLOAD: Bill of Rights for Mixed Race People (PDF, 76k)

50 Experiences of Mixed Race People

You’ve been told you look exotic. You’re asked What are you? People look between you and your parents to figure out if you’re related. These are common experiences of mixed race people.

DOWNLOAD: 50 Experiences of Mixed Race People (PDF, 72k)


Dr. Maria Root, a clinical psychologist and leading authority and lecturer in the field of racial and ethnic identity, has written books and documents to bring positive awareness of interracial and multicultural identities. She published the first contemporary volume on mixed race people, Racially Mixed People in America (1992).

LEARN MORE: MAVIN Foundation’s work with mixed race issues is a significant way to create supportive and inclusive communities for all people.


Helping Students Understand Race

SEE WEBSITE :: Understanding Race

Understanding Race Mosaic Face

Image courtesy of American Anthropological Association.

While there is no such thing as a biological race, we do see differences in people as a result of marriage, migration, and adaption to environment. Unfortunately, these perceived differences tend to set the foundation for social labeling and often, discrimination.

Through the prisms of history, science, and living experience, the RACE Project helps your students better understand differences and similarities among people. Additional lesson plans (grades 6-8, 9-12) will challenge your students’ beliefs and assumptions about race, and connect them with the idea that race is about culture, not biology.


Events and accomplishments from 1600 to present day are captured in this fascinating timeline on the history of race, with links to articles providing more detail. The Story of Race video provides your students with an overview of how prevailing ideas in science, government, and culture have shaped our concept of race today.

EXPLORE: History - Race in the U.S.A.

Human Variation

Image courtesy of American Anthropological Association.

Human Variation

Current science tells us that we share a common ancestry and are not as different as we seem.  Human Variation invites your students to explore the science behind varieties in skin color and how genetics plus environment affect health. Take the quiz on human variation and race to see who scores a 10!

EXPLORE: Human Variation

Lived Experience

Race is the least important aspect in determining character, yet it is often the most significant factor in how we are perceived. In Lived Experience, your students will be exposed to and asked questions they may not normally face in their everyday lives. Take a sports quiz that tests your knowledge of facts and stereotypes. Guess “Who is white?” Play the game of “Life” in someone else’s shoes and find out how likely you are to be frisked at random by the NYPD.

EXPLORE: Lived Experience

Teacher Resources

Lesson plans and other related websites will augment the vast knowledge and new perspectives learned from the RACE Project. Teachers guides for middle and high school grades offer lessons, such as Culture Shapes How We See the World and Classifying Relatives, with an integrated approach to the topic of race and human variation.

DOWNLOAD: Teacher Resources


The RACE Project is an award-winning education program of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) that includes a nationwide traveling museum exhibit, interactive website, and education materials for middle school and older. AAA's mission is to support archaeological, biological, ethnological, and linguistic research, and to be a chief disseminator of anthropological knowledge for solving human problems.


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