I still stand by my point, GAIA, that applications specifically ask "what race do you consider yourself?" If that's what the application says, I think it is poor advice to tell others that they can identify as a URM even when they don't consider themselves to be.
You are, AGAIN, conflating two entirely different things. Nobody "identifies as a URM" in the context it's used on this forum (URM = recognized status providing an admissions boost). They identify as their race or ethnicity
, and each school decides, based on that racial or ethnic identity, whether to provide them a URM admissions boost. Your flaw is that, by conflating these two things, you think GAIA is telling people to identify racially as something they don't consider themselves. She's not. She's telling people to identify racially as what they consider themselves to be
; by definition this cannot be advising them to represent themselves as something they are not.
The problem with it is that if you don't consider yourself Black, Native American, Hispanic then you're not likely to consider yourself such after you self identify. It is disingenious. The other problem with it is that it can come back and bite you. We've seen this happen with Elizabeth Warren, who technically has Native American blood. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... lenews_wsj
What is coming back to bite Warren is that she (supposedly, the truth is still not resolved yet) claimed NA ancestry when she had none to point to. GAIA's point is the opposite of this: If you can clearly point to minority ancestry, you have the right to claim it as such, even if you haven't before. If you're 1/2 or 1/4 or even 1/8 Hispanic or black or NA, and you can show that on your family tree, then you can claim it because it exists and is real. Warren is in trouble for (again, supposedly) doing the opposite and claiming something she can't prove when challenged. That is what is coming back to bite her, not the fact of claiming NA ancestry by itself.
I think prospective applicants can look at your advice and then they can look at mine. The OP, for what its worth, seems to now err on the side of not identifying precisely for the reason I stated: he does not consider himself to be a URM.
Then OP misses out on a chance to truthfully self-identify his racial or ethnic background, if he makes that choice out of fear and your flawed opinion, rather than the truth of his own heritage. The ONLY reason OP should not self-identify as a race/ethnicity is because either he does not want to, or he cannot show it exists on his family tree to the degree he represents.
OP can truthfully represent that he believes himself to be 1/2 Mexican, from how I understand his original post. That gives him the right to check the "Hispanic" and/or "Mexican-American" box if he so chooses. He can even explain the source of this information; that is pretty much what a Diversity Statement is. That is all that matters here. Stop needlessly scaring OP, it's offensive.