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Q: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   8 Comments )
Subject: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: mnitzani-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 27 Jun 2004 11:36 PDT
Expires: 27 Jul 2004 11:36 PDT
Question ID: 366957
i.e. white to black.  
For instance I am a white person and I would like to change my race to
further advance myself.  Are there any tests to prove I am black.  How
would I accomplish this officicially?  I would like this to be a private question.
Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 28 Jun 2004 13:43 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello there

In your last comment, you said you want Google researchers to proove
that there is a test out there and that seems to clarify the question
nicely.  While it is highly controversial, it is highly unlikely such
a test exists that would make a definitive case for or against being a
member of a particular race.

From the article "DNA Validity and Capability in Ethnic
Identification" - - "To date there is no test which can determine a
person's race or heritage. We can perform DNA testing to determine
parentage, but not whether someone is of a particular racial or ethnic

"The standard, familiar (and antiquated) categories of race utilize
definition by external traits such as skin, hair, or eye color, skull
size and more but account for only a minute portion of an individual's
100,000 genes. They are inherited individually, not passed on relative
to group.

The panel goes on to say, "While the frequency in genetic variation
may differ across classically defined racial groupings, race is
neither defined by any collection of genetic variations nor does an
individual's self identification according to race, predict genetic
characteristics of that individual."

So according to this, you can claim whatever race you want and there
is little chance of a DNA test countering that claim.

Later in the page it does mention there is a remote chance such
identification might take place but the key word is "remote" and deals
with groups of people rather than individuals.

The above information is from: - "DNA
Validity and Capability in Ethnic Identification"

Now on the other hand, a company in Florida claims it has a testing
kit for sale which can determine race.  However, - "But geneticists
independent of the company expressed reservations about the accuracy
of any such test, noting that there was still relatively little data
about genetic differences between ethnic groups."

Now while there are forensic specialists who claim race can be
determined by DNA testing, it is only a "probability" result.  You
will find the words "guess" and "chance" to be used frequently in
their arguments for racial profiling by DNA.  You can learn more about
it here: - "Probable Race of a Stain Donor" - It
is in reality a study in statistics rather than a study determining
whether DNA testing can be used as "proof" of a given racial identity.
 It is this kind of study that so many use when they say DNA "can be
used" for racial identity - something geneticists claim is still in a
grey area.  Such testing may help police by giving the "probability"
of a racial identification but can not state it for certain.

You may also find this article from the New York Times to be of
interest. - no registration needed to get it:
"Do Races Differ? Not Really, DNA Shows"

So your final comment boils it down to: "I want google answers to
prove that there is a test out there, or some court precedent has been

That makes what you want very clear.  However, we cannot prove what
does not yet exist.  We can demonstrate that there is very, very
little chance such a definitive test exists, at least at the present
time.  And if it doesn't exist, there is an equally small chance of
court precedent based on such a test.

There is no test to "prove" you are black or any other race.  There
are tests which may give a "probability" rating but nothing more.

As stated earlier, and by at least one of the comments, you can pretty
much claim what you wish.

Search - Google
Terms - dna racial testing, dna as proof of race, genetics and race,
genetic proof of race

Links are included in the answer

One other source you may find interesting and which gives support to
the above is: - "The Death of Scientific Racism"

If I may clarify anything before rating the answer, please ask.


Request for Answer Clarification by mnitzani-ga on 28 Jun 2004 19:37 PDT
How would I go about changing my race officially to black?  Birth certificates?  
What about any law precedents?

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 28 Jun 2004 20:54 PDT
Changing your race on a birth certificate may be next to impossible
since there are no conclusive tests to determine that you are not the
race the certificate says you are.

Shortly after birth, most Americans have the ethnic/racial group
identity of their biological parents placed on their birth
certificates and from the nature and language of the question and
comments, I must presume you are American.

When changing a birth record you must 'prove' that the change you want
to make is accurate and justified - which takes us back to the testing
issue.  There is no current test by which you can meet the criteria of
accuracy when it comes to 'proof of racial origin' when you claim a
difference in race from what is already recorded.

Even then, such a change could not be made without a court order. 
That too may be next to impossible.  While the court case I will
attach the link for deals with a change in racial identity relating to
Native Americans, the court's finding precludes any such change and
establishes that there is no precedent for such a change. - - "This
court can find no statutory or case law which sets forth the standard
for determining whether a person is of a particular race for the
purpose of amending a birth record." - - From the case: Teri Lee
Rhoades and Andrew Alan:Rhoades, Birth Correction Unit, Division
of:Vital Records, Department of Health, The Commonwealth Court of
Pennsylvania - A
PDF file, Acrobat Reader needed

Any other changes or claims you may make on other documents such as
employment applications, etc, are just that - claims.  Perhaps they
may never be challenged.  But for the purposes of official racial
identity, that which is listed on the birth certificate is your
official racial identity regardless of any other claims you make make.

I'm sorry.  But the vast resources of the state of Pennsylvania can
find no court precedent for such a change and neither can I.  If you
read through the case, you might be surprised at the amount of
evidence presented for such a change including attached to the
Petition were affidavits from appellants and their mother, copies of
birth certificates for relatives of appellants, a chart of the family
genealogy, a hearing transcript from the United States Department of
the Interior Commission To the Five Civilized Tribes, a letter from
the Department of the Interior dated December 4, 1903 and a copy of
the family Bible. The affidavits state that Appellants do, in fact,
have Native American Ancestry.

In spite of all this, the application for a change of race on the
birth certificate was denied.  Once again, no precedent was set.

A simple desire to have one's official racial identity changed from
White to Black to "further advance yourself" would have a very
difficult time standing up to such demands as required by a court.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 29 Jun 2004 15:08 PDT
Thank you for the kind words and the extra.  And also thanks for
overlooking the spelling error.

We look forward to being of service again in the future.

Digs <- one who never did make it to the end of a spelling bee.
mnitzani-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
Exactly what I was looking for.  Thank you.  I was going to give you
four stars only because you spelled prove wrong in an answer, but it
would have been just playing around.

Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
From: hammer-ga on 27 Jun 2004 11:45 PDT

All questions and answers on Google Answers are publicly available and
indexed by the Google search engine. There is no such thing as a
"private" Google Answers question. If you do not want your question
answered in the public forum, you may want to cancel it.

- Hammer
Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
From: theoldwiz-ga on 27 Jun 2004 12:18 PDT
When I was a kid (quite a few years ago), I read a book called "Black
Like Me".  I just checked, and you can still get it (  I
think I have read that the chemicals involved may have shortened his
life, but don't know if it was fact or fiction.  Below is a very brief
description of the book.

Book Description:
In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided
to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to
deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man
for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His
audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work
about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has
something important to say to every American. --This text refers to
the Paperback edition.

I must say that I give him a lot of credit for doing that in the 50's
- and think that he did it for an outstanding reason.  Not to better
himself - but to help understand what the world was like through
anothers eyes.  I can't agree with the reason that you are doing it -
but that is entirely up to you.

Anyway, read the book - it is well worth the experience.
Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
From: silver777-ga on 28 Jun 2004 03:50 PDT
Hi Mnitzani,

The intrigue of your question is not so much in the obvious answer
that you cannot change that place from whence you came. Rather, it
resides in the perception as to how one could believe that such a
transformation would at all be possible.

Is your question of race perhaps confused with the adoption of
beliefs, religion or attitudes of another race, as opposed to the
actuality of a race of people?

Let's say one is 50% Caucasion and 50% Negro. What firstly is your
definition of the hybrid mix? Bluntly, is one black or white? I think
the answer is .. neither or both.

I would like to share the following. Please accept it as is, without
any derogatory racism meant.

An elephant and a zebra died and went to heaven. The zebra asked the
elephant: "Am I black, or am I white?". The elephant suggested that he
consult with the Almighty for an answer. So he did.

The zebra returned, confused. "God said .. you are what you are". 

The elephant said: "That means your white".

zebra: "how come"?

elephant: "'cause if you were black, he would have said: YOU IS WHAT YOU IS"

Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
From: mnitzani-ga on 28 Jun 2004 09:24 PDT
thanks, these are the answers I was hoping not to get.  Perhaps you
should look at the question more carefully.

Im not looking for jokes or books or anecdotes to make me feel
comfortable about my race at all.

Im looking for a straight answer.
Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
From: digsalot-ga on 28 Jun 2004 09:55 PDT
mnitzani-ga - - Please note that with the exception of the comment
from hammer-ga about all answers being public, the answers and jokes
you do not want are not from Google Answers researchers.  You can tell
the difference by whether the name of the one making a post is a "live
link" or not.  Researcher names are 'links.'  Non-researchers are
straight unlinked text.

If you want a "serious" answer, you first need to address the question
about whether you will accept the answer as a "public" response?

Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
From: mnitzani-ga on 28 Jun 2004 10:24 PDT
My objective is to answer the question. Maybe I should have offered more money.
Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
From: poconobert-ga on 28 Jun 2004 11:40 PDT
When you say "further advance myself": do you mean as in when filling
out applications for jobs or public services?

If yes then just put down what suits you and worry about it later. 

In other words: I am an Argentine born man with very white skin and
speak clear, unaccented, new york, english. I often Select 'Hispanic'
for race and have never been questioned. I also sometimes choose
'white' when it suites me. And finally on occasion I choose 'none of
the above'.

As I said. I have never been questioned on it. 
Also I am not aware that there is any 'Official' list of Person->race,
so where exactly would you change your race?

Finally, Is there any 'Black' blood (forgive the racist connotation)
in your family line? (in fact we are all decentdents of the africans)
Let them prove other wise.

Challenge them to come up with a scientific test that defines race.

I am not a google researcher. Just a dude with an opinion.
Subject: Re: Has there ever been a case of a person who has changed their race?
From: mnitzani-ga on 28 Jun 2004 12:00 PDT
yeah, my opinion is similar to yours.  I want google answers to prove
that there is a test out there, or some court precedent has been set.

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