Should the Census do away with the race question?

Posted by Liam, 26 Jan 18

In an article in The Washington post, Ward Connerly and Mike Gonzalez feel that the Census Bureau is dividing America and that this something the president should consider reforming in coming 2020 Census.

They feel that for years, the U.S. Census has been ignoring growing mixed-race population. And this group doesn’t like the illogical racial restrictions available to them. The five choices available which are White, Black, Asian, Hispanic and Native America lock out a significant number of America.

The thing is: not every person can be certain that they are of a particular ethnicity. Who knows where our ancestors may have come from? We are percentages of so many races. And the above racial categories have failed to represent and embrace this rich diversity.

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To prove this, the two made reference to Meghan Markle who is engaged to Prince Harry. She once went into details how frustrating being forced to choose was for when she was in 7th grade. Her teacher forced her to check the “Caucasian’ box “because that’s how you look, Meghan.” Was she supposed to ignore the other side of her identity which is Black? Her father’s advice was amazing: “If that happens again, you draw your own box”.

In another article, Timothy P. Johnson and Roger Tourangeau disagree with Connerly and Gonzalez. They insist that the Census should indeed track race and ethnicity. They believe this doesn’t ignore the mixed-race individuals and that it was redesigned in the 2000 decennial where one had the liberty to click more than one race.

Now, these two feel that having the race question reflects “our evolving understanding and respect for the cultural diversity of our nation.” Plus, removing this question altogether “would make it easier for us to ignore the social discrimination, health and economic disparities that persist in our nation.”

In my opinion, even the 2000 changes don’t really capture the true diversity of who we really are as Americans. Even Donald Trump once said: “For too long Washington has tried to put us in boxes. They separate us by race, by age, by income, by place of birth and by geography. They spend too much time focusing on what divides us.”

I agree with him…

Given the two sides of the discussion, should we keep the race question or do away with it completely? What are your suggestions?

4 responses to "Should the Census do away with the race question?"

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  1.   Angelken says:
    Posted: 11 Feb 18

    I think what your institutions could do is provide for a space for a mixed person as well. My take is race is an important aspect of who we are and doing away with it is like taking away people's identity. Having said that, the fact that we have different ethnicinity should not divide us but rather help us to embrace our diversity within the bigger 'human race'. It is something to celebrate.

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  2. Posted: 28 Jan 18

    I wish we could all just be Americans. I am so tired of the race thing because it does seem to divide us.

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  3.   njstriker says:
    Posted: 28 Jan 18

    I have three responses. (1) people should be allowed to check more than one race to identify themselves. Perhaps people should be asked to identify the race of each of their parents in this regard. (2) People from certain parts of the world, especially Latino's, are completely ignorant of what race is, and they only understand ethnicity and their national origin. Many think that each country in Latin America is it's own race, and this is so locked into their pride and identity that they are simply unable to answer the race question in any objective fashion. Even if you asked a Columbian where their ancestors came from, many will just say "Columbia", and will simply deny the racial ancestries of Columbians, such as Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans. (3) It remains important to identify race, as there are still income, employment, and education disparities, especially in older urban areas. We lose the ability to document these problems if race questions are eliminated. I can see why Donald Trump would like that documentation to disappear.

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    • Paganinifan says:
      Posted: 21 Jun 18

      Not sure what you mean about President Trump but for future reference, it’s “Colombia”, not “Columbia”.

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