Monday, March 8, 2010

My race is "human"
Tom Smith

Here is a suggestion for how to fill out your census form: Check "other" and write in "American".  I kinda like "human" myself since it is a race, at least in ordinary language.  Besides, I thought the latest scientific thinking was that race does not correspond to any biological reality, in which case, how are you supposed to answer the question honestly?  "I am what federal administrators refer to as 'white'"?  Half Black Irish and half WASP is not a race I suspect, though the English certainly thought of the Irish as a race for much of their existence. Maybe write in "Papist."  Maybe in the future the government will require us all to take DNA tests so we can settle this once and for all, and each race or whatever you want to call it could be assigned a 15 digit number that would identify precisely all the different contributors to your genome.

Other possibilities:  Vulcan, Jedi, Cardasian, and Wookie.  Dog person.  If it's not a biological reality, but just how you self-identify, why not?  I am Samurai!  Hai ya!

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Comments

The old South Africans had it down. 31/32nds Caucasian was mixed, 63/64th was not. Lots of other categories. Maybe the census could find an old primer in Pretoria, because this is not new ground.

Posted by: james wilson | Mar 8, 2010 7:06:25 PM

Can I write in "Jewish" or is that not a race?

Posted by: Johnny | Mar 8, 2010 7:12:34 PM

"The old South Africans had it down. 31/32nds Caucasian was mixed, 63/64th was not." Though anyone who saw a few "white" Boers under a grey sky, and against a background of genuinely white people, would grin at the idea that they were only 1/64th black.

Posted by: dearieme | Mar 9, 2010 1:14:28 AM

I'm thinking RC->Instapundit->Drudge->Fox News with this idea. Imagine the break down at the CB if 20 million people fill in "American".

Posted by: Moose | Mar 9, 2010 2:09:47 AM

Even better: don't answer the question at all.

Answer the first question:
How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010?
and leave all the rest blank.

Posted by: Marshall | Mar 9, 2010 6:46:10 AM

I like "human" as to all the race questions - leaving them blank doesn't send teh message.

Analogize it to getting bad restaurant service, no tip could be forgetful, but a single penny is a clear message.

Posted by: km | Mar 9, 2010 8:10:49 AM

Well the Nazis definitely thought Jewish was a race, but I'm not sure how good their science was.

Posted by: Tom Smith | Mar 9, 2010 8:16:16 AM

So do the British, since they decided that Jewish schools ran afoul of racial discrimination statutes. Hard for me to type this, but perhaps the French have this right - they just plain refuse to ask. It would at least be an improvement over our racial gerrymandering...

Posted by: Bryan | Mar 9, 2010 9:11:32 AM

"they decided that Jewish schools ran afoul of racial discrimination statutes": it wasn't the existence of state-funded Jewish schools that was the problem - we have various religious state schools. It was the admissions criteria that one of them adopted that was the source of the difficulty. From the Guardian: "Tomorrow's supreme court appearance is the result of a case brought on behalf of a boy, known as M, who was refused admission to the JFS [Jewish Free School] because his mother converted to Judaism in a procedure not recognised by the office of the chief rabbi." In other words, it stems from a dispute amongst British Jews about which child is kosher Jewish, as it were.

Posted by: dearieme | Mar 9, 2010 11:50:48 AM

They will call you to ask if you put "human." That's what I put in some pre-survey they did in September. I got a call from the census a few weeks later asking for a better answer. I told them I refused to answer and that my race was none of the government's business. They also wanted answers to questions I had left blank. (I hadn't answered a question about how much we spend to heat our house every year.)

I hope they won't be doing this with the full survey because that would be a big waste of our money.

Posted by: The gold digger | Mar 10, 2010 6:36:19 AM

Sociological surveying is certainly outside the purpose of the census. There is no use of such information which is relevant to any legitimate governmental objective.

Posted by: Lou Gots | Mar 10, 2010 7:52:44 AM

Maybe they will waterboard you until you tell them what your race is.

Posted by: Tom Smith | Mar 10, 2010 8:41:59 AM

"Human" is good, as is "American." But to really mess things, answer |black!" After all, other than a small outlier in anthropological science proposing that Far East humans evolved seperately, we can all trace our origin to Africa - which according to the definition of "race" qualifies.

Now, the "race" question has been in the Census since, well, rhe beginning. Because slaves, or most "Black" persons, were not citizens but were to be accounted as a percentage of a person, sort of like those mid-East areas where a woman's word in court is worth one-fourth that of a man's.

Relevance today? Well, mostly socio-political in application. There are some health issues related to "race" but the Census quetion is totally inadequate for that.

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Hard for me to type this, but perhaps the French have this right - they just plain refuse to ask. Now, the "race" question has been in the Census since, well, rhe beginning. Because slaves, or most "Black" persons, were not citizens but were to be accounted as a percentage of a person, sort of like those mid-East areas where a woman's word in court is worth one-fourth that of a man's.

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