New Yorkers may soon be able to identify themselves as more than one race under legislation set to be introduced by the City Council on Tuesday.
The measure would change dozens of official documents, including applications for public housing, registration with the Department of Small Business Services and complaint forms with the city's Commission on Human Rights. Documents required of more than 300,000 city employees would also need to be changed.
Currently, city forms that ask for ethnicity or race have five options: "black, not of Hispanic origin," "white, not of Hispanic origin," "Hispanic," "Asian or Pacific Islander," and "American Indian or Alaskan native."
Advocates of the bill believe the measure would provide a clearer picture of demographics and allow New Yorkers to better recognize their heritage.
"I am 50 percent Irish, 25 percent Korean, and 25 percent unknown," said Corey Johnson, a City Councilman from Manhattan, who drew upon his own heritage to champion the bill during a rally on the City Council steps. Johnson, a Democrat, was one of the co-sponsors of the bill, along with Councilman Ben Kallos of Manhattan, another Democrat.