March 10, 2010

Stopping Racial Politics With the 2010 Census

I’m going to step back into the arena that I have so willing stepped out of months ago – politics, with this post so bear with me.

On Monday Mark Krikorian writing at NRO’s the corner wrote a little post entitled: Sending a Message with the Census. He writes:

“…I haven't gotten my letter from the Census Bureau yet asking me to make sure I fill out the questionnaire. But when I do fill it out, I'll use it to send a message.

Fully one-quarter of the space on this year's form is taken up with questions of race and ethnicity, which are clearly illegitimate and none of the government's business (despite the New York Times' assurances to the contrary on today's editorial page). So until we succeed in building the needed wall of separation between race and state, I have a proposal. Question 9 on the census form asks ‘What is Person 1's race?’ (and so on, for other members of the household). My initial impulse was simply to misidentify my race so as to throw a monkey wrench into the statistics; I had fun doing this on the personal-information from my college required every semester, where I was a Puerto Rican Muslim one semester, and a Samoan Buddhist the next. But lying in this constitutionally mandated process is wrong. Really — don't do it.

Instead, we should answer Question 9 by checking the last option — ‘Some other race’ — and writing in ‘American.’ It's a truthful answer but at the same time is a way for ordinary citizens to express their rejection of unconstitutional racial classification schemes. In fact, ‘American’ was the plurality ancestry selection for respondents to the 2000 census in four states and several hundred counties.

So remember: Question 9 — ‘Some other race’ — ‘American’. Pass it on.”

Instead I propose that we take all of this ethnic and “racial” angst out of the equation and answer Question 9 the way we always should have answered this question and select – Some other race and write in Human.

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