An interesting article appears at Inside Higher Ed entitled "Identifying the Racial 'Unknowns'". Lead paragraph:
Over the past decade and a half, the number and proportion of college students opting not to reveal their race when asked have shot up, to 5.9 percent of all students in 2001 from 3.2 percent a decade earlier. The increases have raised two major questions: Who are these students, and why are they declining to identify themselves? The answers have implications for college officials and policy makers on a wide range of issues, including affirmative action and student life.You can read the article to find the alleged answer: a "sizeable" number of unknowns are "white." The study that they base the article upon, a 20-page PDF, is here.)
But what's striking about the article (and the study) is the sheer peevish cluelessness aimed at these kids who decline to state their race. How dare they make the lives of diversity-mongers more complex, by refusing to fit themselves into the neat little boxes and classifications designed by well-meaning bureaucrats?
The study is (unfortunately) utterly predictable in its recommendations: more frequent and intrusive questioning of students to determine their "race", standardization of "racial" categories, etc. One wonders why they don't simply advocate mandatory DNA testing of all applicants to get a final, objective measure of their "race".
Because otherwise, you see, we just won't know for sure.
Wouldn't it be nice if—instead of treating these "unknown" students as irritants—Universities would start celebrating the increased number of their customers who maybe want to get beyond the race obsession? Who maybe want to be treated as individuals, not as beans to be counted and pigeonholed by their presumed genetic makeup? Who maybe find the Jim Crow-era notion of "official" racial categories to be utterly odious? Or who maybe just think their genetic "race" is none of their University's fargin' business?
That happy day is not likely to arrive, of course, as long as "college officials and policy makers" can continue to make a good living off of racial classification. As opposed to, say, teaching kids useful, beautiful, and interesting stuff without regard to their nose-color.