The Changing Face of America: Exploring the Complexity of Cultural and Racial Origins (PHOTOS)

“We’ve become a country where race is no longer so black or white.”

That’s the premise of an article in the October 2013 issue of National Geographic, “The Changing Face of America,” by Lise Funderburg, with stunning photos by Martin Schoeller. The number of people who identified themselves to the U.S. Census Bureau as multiracial increased from 6.8 percent to 32 percent from 2000 to 2010. But as the article points out, racial categories are flawed.

“In today’s presumably more accepting world, people with complex cultural and racial origins become more fluid and playful with what they call themselves. On playgrounds and college campuses, you’ll find such homespun terms as Blackanese, Filatino, Chicanese, and Korgentinian,” Funderburg writes.

Despite the increased awareness and acceptance of multiracial people, discrimination against those not just white or just black or just one race still exists (remember this recent Cheerios commercial?). Not being about to “slot people into familiar categories” is a problem for some, although for others, perhaps it’s an opportunity, the National Geographic article asserts.

These beautiful images, from the October 125 anniversary issue of National Geographic magazine, take a deeper look at a few of the people who identify as having more than one race.

  • Changing Faces 1 of 7

    From the October 125th anniversary issue of National Geographic magazine

  • Jordan Spencer, 18, Grand Prairie, Texas 2 of 7

    Self-ID: black/biracial

    Census Box Checked: black

    © Martin Schoeller/National Geographic


  • Kelly Williams II, 17, Dallas, Texas 3 of 7

    Self-ID:  African American and German/multiracial

    Census Boxes Checked: black


    © Martin Schoeller/National Geographic

  • Celeste Seda, 26, Brooklyn, New York 4 of 7

    Self-ID:  Dominican and Korean

    Census Boxes Checked: Asian/some other race


    © Martin Schoeller/National Geographic

  • Sandra Williams, 46, Chicago, Illinois 5 of 7

     Self-ID:  biracial/"human being"

     Census Box Checked: black


    © Martin Schoeller/National Geographic

  • Joshua Ahsoak, 34, Anchorage, Alaska 6 of 7

    Self-ID: Jewish and Inupiat Eskimo/"Juskimo"

    Census Boxes Checked: Alaska Native


    © Martin Schoeller/National Geographic


  • The Photo Issue 7 of 7

    For more from the October 125th anniversary issue of National Geographic, visit their website.


    To watch photographer Martin Schoeller discussing the "power of photography," click here.


All images used with permission from National Geographic

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