Proposal for NYC Forms: Option to Identify as Multiracial

Proposal for NYC Forms: Option to Identify as Multiracial

The Wall Street Journal

Mara Gay, City Hall Reporter

Legislation Being Introduced in City Council on Tuesday

New Yorkers would be able to identify as more than one race on city documents under legislation set to be introduced in the City Council on Tuesday.

“We just wanted to bring New York City into the 21st century,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin, a Manhattan Democrat and the lead sponsor of the measure. “This will allow New Yorkers to identify their heritage and be proud of it. They shouldn’t have to only check one box.”

The city has the highest multiracial population in the country, with 325,901 people identifying as more than one race on the 2010 U.S. Census.

Right now, city forms that ask for information about race or ethnicity have five options: “white, not of Hispanic origin”; “black, not of Hispanic origin”; “Hispanic”; “Asian or Pacific Islander”; and “American Indian or Alaskan Native.”

The legislation could mean changes for dozens of city forms. Complaint forms with the New York City Commission on Human Rights would be changed under the bill, for example, as would applications at the Department of Small Business Services and at the New York City Housing Authority. Documents required of New York’s more than 300,000 city employees would also be affected…

…The bill, which is co-sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos and Councilman Corey Johnson, both Democrats, would require city agencies to have the capacity to maintain the new demographic information within three years of the bill becoming law…

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