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Did You Have To Choose A Primary Race For Your Multi-Ethnic Child?

Soon my son who is five years old, will go off to school. I don't even know what I feel about this. I know that it makes me cry. Not because I don't want him to learn and become the smartest and most successful person, just that he'll be going away from me from this point forward. After Kindergarten, it will be Elem, then High.... yes, it does make me cry with missing him already.

Some mothers say I'll get used to it. We'll see.

So I was filling out the school forms and it came to race. What is his race? They didn't really have a place on their forms for my children.

My son is multi-ethnic. There is no mixed race, or multi-ethnic boxes.

The race questions were like this:

Is this student Hispanic/Latino or Spanish origin - yes/no

Race (Please all that apply and circle the race you'd like us to record as primary) - white/black or African American/American Indian or Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander/Asian

My child does not have a primary race. He is multi-ethnic. That's it. Am I supposed to weigh which of us, between my husband and I and see which of our races is primary? about grey?

So we selected both white and black and crossed out the African American, since I was not born here in the United States.

And since I'm new to the system of sending kids off to school, is there a reason they need the child's SSN written on the form?
I try my best to protect our vulnerable information and can't say I see why it's necessary, but I guess that's a question I'll have to ask them when we meet. I'm not mailing mine in , I'll be driving it down to the office. Plus I need to case the place again so I know where to drop off and pick up my son.

So help me here.

What are some things I should know that would be helpful in this process for my son being registered and going off to school for the first time?

About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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  1. good luck = i can tell you, working at a school, that we are NOT allowed to collect social security numbers.

  2. I don't know about US, but in Canada they are not allowed to ask for SSN and I don't remember race being a question of the registration form either. You only had to put if your child is First Nation due large First Nation population and due to them having few different classes as Native language arts.

    Sending my boys to Kindergarden was so hard on me. Even the second time around wasn't easier.Good luck.

  3. My oldest won't start kindergarten for another two years so I have no real advice or anything for you. Just wanted to say that I hope SOON and VERY SOON there will be a "multi-ethnic" or "multi-racial" answer on forms like that. I usually either check off both 'white' and 'AA' for my kids or leave the thing blank all together!

  4. Interesting question! I really do not think you should have to give their social. I am too rebellious, reason my kids do not go to public school:) I will ask around and see what, exactly, the law is, but they should not need that. I mean, doctors get it for billing, etc...but school? Also, they should have more choices on the forms! That is annoying that they do not. That should be changed. I like how you handled it!

  5. Good questions, Callie. Yes, I would definitely be asking the school officials about both the ethnicity categories and the SS# request.

  6. According to the Official Social Security Administration Website, you do NOT need a SSN for any of the follow: to get a driver’s license, register for school, obtain private health insurance, or to apply for school lunch programs or subsidized housing. You should go to the website and print out the information to use as proof. Look at the first question that says, 'How do I apply for a Social Security number and card?'

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  7. This is a sore spot for me. Once when my daughter was in 4th grade, they were required to x a box for their race. I told her to mark both. Well, the teacher took it upon herself to change it, and she selected the race of my child. I saw the paper sitting there one day when I was in class. I was furious!

  8. Ya know I'm getting tired of this B.S. White, Green, purple, black, or freekin' Chartruse! Who cares what color you are I'm technicolor for cripes sake. I'm red in some places, white in others, pink, tan, and even brown. So guess what color I am. I'm DOLLY color! I'm a freekin' person, and I'm me. Isn't it what's in the child's head is what they're concerned about or what they should be concerned about. When my kids were little one thing that I thought was really good is they took their fingerprints, address, name, color eyes etc. this was just in case they were unlawfully taken. Now that's what they should be doing and for heavens sake DO NOT give them your child's SSI# that doesn't sound kosher to me.

  9. Sheeesh! DON'T GET ME STARTED! LOL!

  10. I'm from Canada so I don't know all of the rules in the US. I don't think you should have to mark down the race of your child. I don't see how that's necessary information. If it was me I'd leave it all blank. What difference should it make to his schooling?

    The same for his SSN. I'd leave it blank too. What on earth could the school be doing with that information. I'd fight them on that too.

  11. I never put my kids' SSN on the forms. I've also wondered myself about what parents of multi-ethnic children do. Good luck!

  12. I have the same trouble. There is usually no check box for Indians, who are technically South East Asians.
    BTW, there is an award waiting for you on my blog.
    Come and grab it because you totally deserve it!!

  13. We have the same problem with the race boxes! If I have to pick one, than is that like saying the other one doesn't exist! I wish they would put a mixed box, or just stop asking!
    I don't have any great advice for you on sending your son off to school except to hang in there, it is hard to watch them growing up so fast and I still worried about my daughter every day she was at school!!

  14. In Canada we don't have to, but I have always told the kids they are Black anyway.

    I don't know, now your little guy is going to be in one specific box and that sucks.


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