Racial classification of Indian Americans

Racial Classification Of Indian Americans

Racial classification of Indian Americans

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The racial classification of Indian Americans has varied over the years and across institutions and is presently Asian American. Originally, neither the courts nor the census bureau classified Indian Americans as a race because there were only negligible numbers of Indians in the U.S. In 1923, the courts deemed Indians to not be white and be Asian instead which has continued to the present for the purposes of law. In 1980, the census bureau classified Indians as Asian, which has continued to the present for the purposes of demographics.

U.S. courts

Courts have classified Indians as white and non-white without any real pattern until the crucial 1923 Supreme Court case United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, which created the official stance to classify Indians as non-white. At the time, this decision retroactively stripped Indians of citizenship and land rights. The ruling placated the Asiatic Exclusion League demands, spurned by growing outrage at the Turban Tide / Hindoo Invasion alongside the pre-existing outrage at the Yellow Peril. As they became classified as non-whites, Indian Americans were banned by anti-miscegenation laws from marrying white Americans in the states of Arizona, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia.

Suggestive of the poor coordination within the legal system of the early 20th century is the fact that Thind applied for and received U.S. citizenship through the state of New York a few years after his original U.S. citizenship...
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