|PLAYING THE RACE CARD|
Should we have a "multi-racial" category on the census?
July 29, 1997
Other questions asked in this forum:
What exactly is the race-related information collected on the census form used for? Why is there an "Hispanic" category on the census form? Instead of using "other," could we use "American" as a category? Isn't it more important to categorize people by how they are perceived by society, not by how they think of themselves? Shouldn't we classify ourselves by ethnicity or cultural background instead? Are mixed racial people turning a government poll into a platform for personal self-identity issues?
July 16, 1997
Paul Solman leads a debate on the multiracial census category.
June 18, 1997
Essayist Richard Rodriguez discusses his views on checking the race box.
June 12, 1997:
Despite a clash over a ban on census sampling included in the bill, a flood relief package to help northwestern states passes Congress.
June 11, 1997:
Reps. Shimkus and Allen discuss the role of the census in flood relief problems.
U.S. Census Bureau
Question: The proposal suggests that multi-racial individuals check manyboxes. How will the Census Bureau use this information productively? Will aperson who is half black and half white count for half a person in eachcategory?
Clyde Tucker responds:
Members of the interagency task force which made therecommendations to OMB are now meeting to develop guidelines fortabulating data to meet statutory requirements and program and research needs.
Susan Graham responds:
This is the big question, and one which the recommendation does notanswer. They might count persons who check more than one box as only theminorities they checked. They may apportion into each category equally. They may come up with some kind of "grid" which says if you check "white andblack" you become "black," but if you check "white and Asian" you becomewhite. There are only ten additional categories under the "check one ormore" scheme. All ten should be listed under a "multiracial" identifier withspecific information about each sub-group. They should then be allocatedequally into each group. The committee and OMB has had four years to answerhow they will count persons who check more than one box, yet they now saythat they will not be able to answer that question until January 1, 1999.