The federal Department of Education would categorize Michelle López-Mullins--a university student who is of Peruvian, Chinese, Irish, Shawnee and Cherokee descent--as “Hispanic.” But the National Center for Health Statistics, the government agency that tracks data on births and deaths, would pronounce her “Asian.” And what does Ms. López-Mullins’s birth certificate from the State of Maryland say? It doesn’t mention her race. Ms. López-Mullins, 20, usually marks “other” on surveys these days, but when she filled out a census form last year, she chose Asian, Hispanic, Native American and white. The chameleon-like quality of Ms. López-Mullins’s racial and ethnic identification might


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