198The Problem with Labels, Political Interests and The Census Bureau
- Aug 7, 2005It is UNKNOWN why the US CENSUS BUREAU decided
to erroneously (and rather racistly) refer to
'everyone and anyone who was of some part
'black' racial lineage' as being 'African-American'.
This is particularly upsetting when one realizes how deeply
that action has both harmed and offended the true
'African-Americans' and that this ETHNIC group has
NEVER ONCE asked anyone to identify them
(or anyone else) by their 'ethnic categorization'
rather than 'racial identification'.
When asked, most of those of the largely MGM-Mixed
'African-American' ETHNICITY will usually
respond with something along the lines of:
-----"I don't know why people started calling me
by the term 'African-American' it was like,
one day I was 'Black' (Mixed, Bi-racial, Mulatto,
etc.) then I woke up the next day and everyone was
identifying me by my 'ethnicity', rather than by my
own 'racial identification' -- and worst of all ..
no one even asked me for my permission to do so." -----
It seems `almost conspiratorial' that the Census Bureau
choose to do this to only one (1) ETHNIC group ... --
(i.e. -- deciding to exploit it as being a full RACIAL
'representative' for the Bureau's 'statistics' when
lumping together 'figures' about a given "race").
For instance, it is highly unlikely that the
Census Bureau would have made the mistake of writing
it's form "Swedish and/or White" -- for the simple
fact that obviously not every person of the
WHITE race is also of the Swedish ethnicity.
Unfortunately, for the 'African-Americans',
thanks to the Census Bureau, every negative
and unkind statistic about the "BLACK" RACE
(ranging from welfare rolls, to prison records,
to unwed birthrates, to HIV/AIDS statistics,
to academic failure and drop-out, and so on)
is falsely (and clearly unfairly) attributed
to this one (1) rather small ETHNIC group.
If that doesn't seem horribly unfair and abusive
-- imagine how the Swedes or the Irish would feel
if every negative behavior committed by those of
the "WHITE" Race (ex. The Holocaust) were attributed
to their ETHNIC group -- due to some government
bureaucrat creating an inherently flawed form
due to their lack of understanding or care of the
difference between an ETHNIC and a RACIAL group.
Referring to an 'Ethnic' group by a 'Racial' term is inaccurate,
causes confusing, leads to 'lineage-denial' and results in nothing
more than an adherence to the infamous one-drop-rule.
-----Being an "Ethnic" grouping, the "African-Americans"
DO NOT neatly fit into any 'singular' so-called "racial"
categorization (including that of "black").-----
Just as many 'Jewish' people will openly state that their
"Ethnicity" cannot be described as being only 'white'-"raced"
(as the 'Jewish' people overlap multiple racial categories
as a result of their lineage), those who are of the
Ethncity currently misnomered as 'African-American'
also cannot be described as being only 'black'-"raced".
(This is one of many reasons why African-Americans
are not generally seen as being 'black-'"raced"
anywhere in the world other than the U.S.)
The reason for this is not only because of their 'Multi-Generational
Multiracial' lineage --- but also because the term "Black" (like the
term 'White' or 'Asian') would be used to be used to describe a
"Racial" category -- not an "Ethnic" category (and the 'African-
Americans' -- again -- are an "Ethnic", not a "Racial", grouping.)
All "Ethnic" groupings are able to fit under
MANY number of racial categories.
For example, there are
(ex. Diana Ross)
(ex. Hilary Clinton)
(ex. Elizabeth Atkins Bowman)
(ex. Lenny Kravitz)
Just as there are
(ex. Russel Wong)
(ex. Keanu Reeves)
(ex. Dean Cain)
All of these individuals belong to "ethnic" groups.
Ethnic groups can fit into and overlap across
any number of "racial" categorizations.
No "Ethnic" group should ever be forced to fit itself into only
one so-called "Racial" category -- and this is particularly true
when said "Ethic" group was formed via a "Multi-Generational
Multiracial" lineage, heritage and historical experience.
Again, we must all try to remember, reinforce and teach
the fact that the term 'African-American' is an ETHNIC
(not 'Racial') categorization -- and this particular
'Ethnic' grouping is MULTI-RACIAL (not 'Mono-Racial').
BLACK-AMERICAN & AFRICAN-AMERICANS
ARE NOT THE SAME GROUPING OF PEOPLE
It seems that those who are free-will immigrants
(recent or otherwise) from the continent of Africa would
be described as the "Black-Americans" (unless, of course,
they are 'white' immigrants and / or refugees) and their
"ethnicity" would be based on their country of origin.
One person might be
***a "Black-American" of "Nigerian" ethnic heritage
***a "White-American" of "Zimbabwean" ethnic heritage.
Just as a person from the West Indies / Caribbean Islands
is not of 'African-American' "ethnic" heritage but rather is
of 'West-Indian' "ethnic" heritage -- no matter their racial
categorization or identification (ex. Colin Powell)
Because 'African-American' is a specific "ethnic" group
(created via historical-experience), one does not have
to be of any particular "racial" category in
order to lay claim to said "ethnic" heritage.
For example their are "White-Americans" who lay claim
to their 'African-American' "ethnic" heritage
(ex. Hilary Clinton, Carol Channing).
There are (white-skinned) "Multi-racial American" who
lay claim to their 'African-Americans' "ethnic" heritage
(ex. Wentworth Miller, Tai Babylonia, Elizabeth Atkins Bowman;
There are (brown / tan / 'black'-skinned)
"Multi-racial Americans" who lay claim to their
'African-American' "ethnic" heritage (ex. Beyonce
Knowles, Lena Horne, Michael Jordan, etc.).
Essentially, what I am saying is that the "of-color" immigrants
from Africa and elsewhere are the ones who would be
"Black-Americans" (of varying "ethnicities")
while "those who descended from the survivors of the
continental United States chattel slavery SYSTEM" are the
people who belong to the 'African-American' "ethnic" group
(no matter what their "racial" categorization or identification).
Because it is an "ethnic" (not "racial") category, many
people of ANY of the so-called "racial" categories can and
do lay claim to having 'African-American' "ethnic" heritage.
Since this is so clearly true, it needs to be understood
that the 'African-Americans' are not a mono-racial "black"
people (color, or otherwise), they cannot be
forced to 'represent' the state of ALL 'blacks'
in America (as is so unfairly being done now).
An survey was done which showed there are about 20-30 million people
in the United States who were categorized as being "black" raced
--- and of that, only about 6-7 million laid claim to having a '
full' 'African-American' ETHNIC heritage and another 4-5
million which laid claim to a 'partial' 'African-American'
ETHNIC heritage (ex. 'bi-racials', 'multi-culturals',etc.)
while yet another nearly 10-15 million which do not claim
to be of any part 'African-American' heritage at all
(ex. 'black latinos', 'African immigrants', 'West Indians', etc.).
If this is the case, the question becomes:
`Why then did the US Government (via the Census Bureau) decide
that the 'African-American' (multi-racial) 'ethnic" group would be
forced to 'statistically represent' nearly 12 million people who
do not share in any part of their lineage, history or heritage?
The 'false statistics' which naturally arise from the
mis-categorization of every 'black' person as also
being of the 'African-American' "ethnic" group has
negatively affected nearly every so-called 'statistic'
provided about the 'African-Americans' --- ranging from
the (in-)accuracy of 'wedlock birth rates' to that of
'unemployment rates' to 'HIV/AIDS/STD rates' to
'prison rates' to 'drop-out rates', etc., etc., etc.
In addition, certain programs (ex. scholarship funds, farm &
business loans, etc.) were set up to address the needs of
"those who descended from the survivors of the continental
United States chattel slavery SYSTEM" (i.e. the multi-racial
"ethnic" group known as 'African-American') -- and it is
this very group that continually is denied access to these
programs because, thanks to the Census Bureau's inaccurate
'labeling', now ANYONE who is noted as being or appearing
to be 'black' is now thought of as 'African-American' and the
programs are now geared toward these groupings despite
the fact that they are not "descendents of the survivors
of the continental United States chattel slavery SYSTEM"
[An incredibly interesting book which briefly touches
on this subject is called "Black Robes, White Justice"
(by Bruce Wright) in which the judge who wrote it was amazed
at how often someone who stood before his court was listed as
'African-American' -- when, in reality, often these people
were either 'black' immigrants of any variety of "ethnicities"
or were actually of a non-`black' "racial" category altogether.
Another great book on this topic is
"Don't Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural
Misinformation about African-Americans" -- by Ferai Chideya.]