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The Problem with Labels, Political Interests and The Census Bureau

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  • multiracialbookclub
    It 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 7, 2005
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      It 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

      --"Black"-identified 'African-Americans'
      (ex. Diana Ross)
      --"White"-identified 'African-Americans'
      (ex. Hilary Clinton)
      --"Bi-racial"-identified 'African-Americans'
      (ex. Elizabeth Atkins Bowman)
      --"Multi-racial"-identified 'African-Americans'
      (ex. Lenny Kravitz)

      Just as there are

      --"Asian"-identified `Amerasians'
      (ex. Russel Wong)
      --"White"-identified `Amerasians'
      (ex. Keanu Reeves)
      --"Multi-racial"-identified `Amerasians'
      (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').


      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.

      For example"

      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.]
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