Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Census 2010

* Warning- this is a political rant written with the sarcasm of a mother who's been home with a sick toddler for 2 days!

So, last week I received the Census in the mail ( nope, not the letter telling me that is was coming...or the post card to remind me to complete the census, but the actual CENSUS). I opened it up, and began to complete it. Name, check. Birthday, check. Do you rent or own, rent! Blah, blah, blah. Then I get to the point of Race. Now this is where it gets GOOD. Are you Hispanic? Yes or No- No. Next, check as all that apply....

White? Well, yes, one of my parents Caucasian- but I'm going to let this one slide, as I understand that the Census needs to be accessible to everyone regardless of education.

Black? Well, no, in fact at this point in the year ( living in snow covered New England) I am more of a soft caramel color.
African Am.? Well, is that asking if I am of African Decent just in the morning time? Nope, I am BROWN all of the time. 24/7.
And this is where I really start to loose it... wait for it...

NEGRO? I'm sorry, but it is at this point that I had to check the front cover to make sure it said Census 2010 and not Census 1960. I circled the word and wrote " What?" next to it.

This is how I see this playing out in a lower socioeconomic house hold.....

Am I Hispanic? No
Am I white? Nope
Am I Black? Well, I am closer to brown, but let me keep reading that line to make sure this is the one I should check
Am I African AM? Well, no,I am brown all day long. Let me keep reading.
Am I a NEGRO? Oh, yes, that's me! Why didn't they just say so?

What is the world is going on here? Really, in 2010 we don't think that people will understand what Black means? And do we need to abbreviate African American? Do we really think so little of our country men and women that we would need to bring back a word that has been socially unacceptable for decades now?

We have a multi-racial president. I wonder what President and Mrs. Obama will be checking as they fill out their Census. Will they be pleased to see such an archaic word used to describe themselves and their lovely daughters? I sincerely hope NOT!

There are a myriad of other things I could go off about in regards to the Census, but I'm going to stick with this one point. Let's get it together people!


  1. Isn't it sad how our government keeps the issue of race and segregation alive with documents like this? I was so sad to see that race was even still a factor- who cares what color someone's skin is! Aren't we all just people? Living together on this planet for a short while? Why does the government need to sort us by something we have no control over, like the color of our skin?

  2. omg - seriously? I didn't realise that word still existed. I wonder what the President did put in that box. You should email him and ask - I'd love to hear what he says.

  3. A census form always makes me want to put in ever so slightly wrong answers.

  4. I might just email him, but I'm betting that Mrs.Obama actually fills out the Census!

  5. I also did not understand why they needed both my age and my birth date. I really felt uncomfortable about putting my date on it right next to my full name. Besides, there are already enough agencies out there that know that stuff.

  6. I've been dealing with a sick toddler and a sick me for three days. No fun.

    Unfortunate that this question on the Census is getting you worked up. Everyone in my family, except me, is multi-racial so we as a family try our best to have sensitivity, even a sense of humor, about this sort of thing.

    On the Census' website, the following is stated:
    "The wording of the race category labeled “Black, African Am., or Negro” is based on Office of Management and Budget standards and Census Bureau research that showed a segment of the population still identifies itself as “Negro.” The Census Bureau has a research team dedicated to investigating issues and analyzing data on the nation’s diverse racial and ethnic groups. The Census Bureau is testing the removal of the term “Negro” from the question on race, and results of this research will inform design changes for future surveys and the 2020 Census. We are sorry if some are offended by the use of this word in the 2010 Census and hope that it will not stop them from returning their forms and being fully counted by the census."

    It is important to fill out the Census. Our county, our half of the state, is so neglected fiscally that every returned form is critically important.

    The other members of my family are checking multiple boxes in the ethnicity portion of the form, i.e., Native American/Caucasian, Samoan/Native Hawaiian/Caucasian, etc.

    And if you decide not to send in your form, my husband, who is a Census worker in your area and a very nice person, may just be knocking on your door.

    Hope your boy feels better soon.

  7. I so hear you. Down here in NZ on almost all forms we have , European / Pakeha (pakeha means white devil in the Maori Language), or Maori (as well as Samoan, Asian, Indian, etc). I'm a 5th generation New Zealander, I can't get the European bit, I'm not even close to European, hell I've never been out og NZ, let alone to Europe. Why can't we all be New Zealanders?

  8. Just surfed in from the Fat quarter mag blog ..know what you mean here in Aus any & I mean ANY official form that you fill out asks you if you "identify" as being Aboriginal..apart from the fact that you either are or not why do they need to know ?? if we are all equal under law?? I mean why do they need to know if i am just getting a driving license ( they only have to look at my details to know Im not ..born in England!!)...I sometimes feel like ticking yes just to see what happens :) If they dont want us to judge people by race or colour then stop bringing it up!
    please let me know what your Pres says in his email answer:)