Race Beyond Appearance

Race Beyond Appearance

The Daily Iowan

Isaac Hamlet

Since 2000, the U.S. Census has allowed people to identify themselves under numerous ethnicities. When this practice was instituted, 6.8 million Americans identified as being of mixed race; in 2010, the number reached 9 million. That was a 32 percent increase, making it one of the fastest growing racial categories in the U.S.

“I was probably 5 years old,” my dad said. “Probably started going out to the cotton field with my grandmother, she would say, ‘Pick some,’ and I’d just put it in her cotton sack.”

My dad, Larry Hamlet, was born on March 22, 1954, in Itta Bena, Mississippi, and raised by grandparents Annie and LeRoy Hamlet. His parents separated when he was about a year old and shortly after, his mother, Joyce, died in childbirth with what would have been her third son.

He was born “Larry Smith” but took his grandparents’ last name because “the world doesn’t need another Smith family in it.”

In 1960, around the time he was 5, mixed-race marriages accounted for roughly 0.04 percent of marriages, according to the U.S. Census…

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