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Colored, Black, Negro, Mulatto, Quadroon, Octoroon, African American. This book provides an in-depth analysis of the language policies governing the selection and application of the racial classifiers used by the United States Census for American residents of African ancestry over the past 200 years. The historical linguistic investigation is supplemented by a corpus of letters sent by the American public concerning not only the government’s controversial policies of racial designation, but also its methods of racial classification. Detailed demographic information about the evolving multicultural diversity of the US society is provided, along with a critical political discussion of the ways in which these sociological developments may effect the ways Americans define themselves.