This interesting article by Jeffrey Kluger, writer for TIME Healthland, explores how Americans come to assign people the identities we do. He goes back to the times when lawmakers codified the legal definition of people whose racial pedigree was less than completely pure to today, where nearly everyone is of mixed-race. Various studies have been performed and the findings indicate that Americans today are not much better than the ones from yesterday. Unconsciously, we still have a tendency to apply the Hypodescent Rule- targeting the same minority groups for one-drop demotion. Obviously, this phenomenon is learned and we have a long way to go in order to have an objectively accurate and fair assessment of people.
Here is the link to the article: http://healthland.time.com/2010/12/10/whos-white-whos-black-who-knows/