The Census: continuing the racial divide

Nothing seems to rile my audience more than the Census. Some see it as government intrusion into privacy. Others see it as just one more excuse for a bigger government. Remember they sell it as a way to ensure your community gets its fair share of federal money (social justice), or maybe a guidepost to political payoffs (pork projects).

But perhaps my biggest objection is to the section that asks you to check off your race and, separately, ethnicity. The list is long:

The standards include five minimum categories for data on race:  “American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Asian,” “Black or African American,” “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander,” and “White.”  There are two minimum categories for data on ethnicity:  “Hispanic or Latino” and “Not Hispanic or Latino.”  The concept of race reflects self-identification by people according to the race or races with which they most closely identify.  Persons who report themselves as Hispanic can be of any race and are identified as such in our data tables.

My personal view is that it’s just another way to divide the nation, or to perpetuate the notion of special classes that need the government to survive. The absurdity of it all is demonstrated perfectly in this report by MSNBC this afternoon … one family, successful as well, with different views about who they are, when who they are, is American.


No doubt the government won’t see the absurdity of it all and will add yet another question on race. Why do they do this still? The Census website gives the following explanation

Race is key to implementing any number of federal programs and it is critical for the basic research behind numerous policy decisions. States require race data to meet legislative redistricting requirements. Also, they are needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act by local jurisdictions.

Federal programs rely on race data in assessing racial disparities in housing, income, education, employment, health, and environmental risks.

The reasoning in 2010 is pathetic. Redistricting because whites, can’t represent latino’s who can’t represent blacks who can’t represent whites, and on and on it goes? Welcome to post racial America. And what of the programs that assess disparities in income et al? To what end? Spread the wealth around, create another government program, reward particular constituencies?

At what point do we begin identifying all as Americans, I do not know. But it seems as if the government continues because, as the Census site explains, it’s good for business, government business.

5 replies
  1. GdavidH
    GdavidH says:


     I am personally sick of all raced based initiatives. I believe alot of incentive killing legislation and gov't programs exist today in this country and we certainly do not need more.

     The POTUS today signed a bill for the federal gov't to take over the student loan industry. One reason he used to justify this was that the gov't was subsidizing banks as middle men to run the industry and he was going to save money by taking it away from the banks. The truth is that the gov't subsidy was to cover LOSSES the banks incurred by supplying these loans, and the lower interest rates on the loans.  Due to the default rate, most banks never made a penny on student loans. Also in the bill is a lot of money set aside to yet again aid minorities for no other reason than race, AND for aid to minority schools.  I believe this is furthering a racist agenda and has nothing to do with levelling any alleged disparity. This is "reparations"(is that spelled correctly?) at best.  The greatness of this country always came from everyone having the ability to succeed regardless of race. I feel we are going BACKWARDS.

    Ugh…My president is a racist

  2. winnifredthewoebegon
    winnifredthewoebegon says:

    IMHO, Jim, I'm thinking they could make it very simple by giving two choices:

    a.  legal – American

    b.  not legal – not American

    If that is considered racist, I challenge anyone to explain how the current system is NOT racist.

    Cheers! Winni


  3. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Per a thread on Michelle Malkin's site, I simply wrote in "American" under "Other".  If they want to call me on it, I will simply say that I follow the tenets of Martin Luther King, and believe that this should be a colorblind society.


    This is either a ploy to redistribute money on the basis of race, or help them gerrymander districts to aid incumbents remain in office, neither of which I choose to participate in, nor do I believe that it is in any way good for America (much like Obama).


    What is "hispanic" anyway?   To wit (from the Census Bureau):

    U.S. Census Definition of "Hispanic Origin"

    Definition: Hispanics or Latinos are those people who classified themselves in one of the specific Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino categories listed on the Census 2000 questionnaire -"Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban"-as well as those who indicate that they are "other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino." Persons who indicated that they are "other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" include those whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish-speaking countries of Central or South America, the Dominican Republic or people identifying themselves generally as Spanish, Spanish-American, Hispanic, Hispano, Latino, and so on.

    Origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States.

    People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race. Thus, the percent Hispanic should not be added to percentages for racial categories. NonHispanic White persons are those who responded "No, not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" and who reported "White" as their only entry in the race question."

    What does that mean?  The last time I looked, Spain was part of Europe.  Race does not apply, apparently, so what is the purpose?  "Hispanics" can be whiter than me, or blacker than many Africans.  Is it simply speaking Spanish?  So if I took a class in Spanish in high school, am I technically "hispanic"?  Is it just another make believe category to use to divide us up into warring factions?

  4. pauldow
    pauldow says:

    If you look at the choices for race, there are choices for Spanish, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Alaska Native, Indian(Asia), Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Guamanian, Samoan, Fijian, Tongan, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, and Cambodian.

    All these "races" are identified by a country or other land area, nothing else. It is therefore clear that American is a valid race. White and black aren't races.

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