|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? How will the Census Bureau use this information productively? Why is there an "Hispanic" category on the census form? 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: Instead of using "other," could we use "American" as a category?Itcould be used by anyone who does not want to be part of somearbitraryracial identification.
Clyde Tucker responds:
An "Other" category is not part of the minimum set of categories. The category was used in the 1990 census, because OMB granted an exception to the standard in this instance. A number of persons who might want to use the "Other" category (such as Arabs and Creoles) might not choose to identify with an "American" category, which would be more of a designation of nationality or citizenship than of race. In addition, the "Other" category is more inclusive and less subject to misinterpretation, although some are offended by it.
Susan Graham responds:
"American" would be a great category to have on the census and otherforms requiring racial and ethnic data, but the "traditional" minoritycommunities would be against it because the collection of numbers asminorities is important to their districting and entitlement programs.