More young people nationwide are identifying themselves as mixed race according to a report by The New York Times.

At schools such as the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and Johns Hopkins University, multi-racial student organizations are starting to pop up, giving students, who previously felt confused about their identity, a place where they belong.

In almost every walk of life, people are asked to provide race and/or ethnic and national origin, but now biracial citizens don’t feel as boxed in as before.

Warren Kelley, Ph.D., assistant vice president for student affairs and faculty advisor to the University of Maryland’s Multiracial and Biracial Student Association, told the Times that the climate is completely different than it was when he arrived on campus in 1974.

“I was black and proud to be black,” Kelley, the son of a Japanese mother and African-American father, said. “There was no notion that I might be multiracial. Or that the public discourse on college campuses recognized the multiracial community.

“Even if someone had formed a mixed-race group in the ’70s, would I have joined?” he continued. “I don’t know. My multiracial identity wasn’t prominent at the time. I don’t think I even conceptualized the idea.”

It’s an issue that manifested itself during the 2008 presidential campaign. President Obama, who has a white mother and Kenyan father, had to fight a delicate balance between making sure he accommodated his fervent African-American supporters while still appealing to the masses.

Jason Carroll of CNN pondered the question in 2008, saying that while some people equate Black plus White equals Black, it isn’t fair to deny an entire part of a person’s family tree.

“I spoke with a group of young professionals who are part of a biracial support group called Swirl” Carroll wrote. “Swirl was started by a woman named Jen Chau whose father is Chinese and mother is white. Chau says this debate over Obama’s racial identity is very familiar and she’s been dealing with this issue her whole life.

“Lynda Turet says she could never identify herself as a white person in America because she is also half-Filipina,” he continued. “Both women support Obama’s choice to identify himself as a Black candidate, but they also understand why he emphasizes his White roots.”