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Re: Census

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  • ashley smith
    I just saw this article and am sending a link:   http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20100329/us_time/08599197588300   in case the link doesn t work, here s a copy:
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2010
      I just saw this article and am sending a link:
      in case the link doesn't work, here's a copy:
      By TIM PADGETT / MIAMI Tim Padgett / Miami– 33 mins ago
      Hispanic advocates often tell the story of a Census Bureau worker who visits a Puerto Rican household in New York City's East Harlem neighborhood. Seeing the family's caramel complexion, the Census taker asks which race he should put down for them - white or black. To which the family answers: "Puerto Rican."
      The story could substitute a Mexican-American family - or Colombian- or Nicaraguan-American ones for that matter - but the gist would be the same. Many, if not most, Hispanics in the U.S. think of their ethnicity (also known as Latino) not just in cultural terms but in a racial context as well. It's why more than 40% of Hispanics, when asked on the Census form in 2000 to register white or black as their race, wrote in "Other" - and they represented 95% of all the 15.3 million people in the U.S. who did so. (See the 25 most influential Hispanics in America.)
      An even larger share of Hispanics, including my Venezuelan-American wife, is expected to report "Other," "Hispanic" or "Latino" in the race section of the 2010 census forms being mailed to U.S. homes this month. What makes it all the more confusing if not frustrating to them is that Washington continues to insist on those forms that "Hispanic origins are not races." If the Census Bureau lists Filipino and even Samoan as distinct races, Hispanics wonder why they - the product of half a millennium of New World miscegenation - aren't considered a race too. "It's a very big issue," says Angelo FalcÓn, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy in New York City and a community adviser to the Census. "A lot of Hispanics find the black-white option offensive, and they're asserting their own racial uniqueness." (See the making of Sonia Sotomayor.)
      Nor are they alone. Arabs, who would seem to have an even stronger race claim than Hispanics do, are trumpeting their own write-in campaign because the Census by default counts them as white - and the bureau announced this week that it has no intention of changing that policy in 2010. Incredibly, the term Arab doesn't even appear on the census form, though other Asian ethnicities, like Indian, are listed as races. (Ironically, part of the problem is that Arab immigrants a century ago petitioned the Federal Government to be categorized as white to avoid discrimination. Today, Arab-American leaders realize how much that move has cost their community in terms of federal aid and legal clout.)
      It's not easy being the Census agency for America's baroque melting pot. And to be fair, FalcÓn notes, the Census hasn't slighted Hispanics in this year's count. On the contrary, as if acknowledging that Hispanics are now the nation's largest minority, the bureau has given the group its own "Hispanic Origins" section. It even precedes the general race section on the questionnaire and, advocates say, promises to yield a more comprehensive tally of Hispanics for purposes of federal aid and civil rights protections. But many Hispanics are nonetheless irked when they go to the next section and find, yet again, that they're asked to identify themselves racially as white or black. (The other racial designations are Native American, Asian and Pacific Islander.)
      Census officials say they're simply adhering to race-category standards laid out for all federal agencies in 1997 by the White House Office of Management and Budget, criteria they confirm will be re-evaluated before the 2020 census. (The Census that year will also be unlikely to retain Negro as a designation for African Americans; it is still on the 2010 form, a fact that has led to repeated apologies from the Census chief.) And Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group in Washington, D.C., says the Hispanic race question so far "has been hard to reconcile scientifically."
      Still, Maria Teresa Kumar, executive director of Voto Latino, a Hispanic civic organization based in Washington, D.C., worries because most Hispanics who do choose between white and black select white. That "risks leaving a mistaken impression that they enjoy certain socioeconomic opportunities we associate with whites in this country," says Kumar, "when in reality [Hispanics] are near the bottom in areas like education and upward mobility." As a result, groups like Voto Latino are encouraging Hispanics to write Hispanic or Latino in the "Other" space for race.
      While Kumar, like FalcÓn, applauds the Census Bureau for the 2010 form's prominent Hispanic-origins feature, she feels the feds still fail to understand "how layered the Latino self-identity is" beyond just language. North Americans call Oct. 12 Columbus Day, but Latin Americans call it Dia de la Raza - Day of the Race - a recognition that 1492 began a commingling of primarily Iberian, native American and African blood that in turn produced a new race, sometimes called mestizo. That process was perhaps deepest in Mexico - and because Mexico is the origin country of almost two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics, that's a big reason why Washington needs to rethink its definition of race. (Comment on this story.)
      Many feel the Census also needs to fine-tune its idea of what is and isn't Hispanic. It tends to define Latin America as just the Spanish-speaking countries of the western hemisphere, when the term also encompasses Portuguese-speaking Brazil. It also includes Spaniards in the "Hispanic Origins" box, when in fact a Spaniard is a European, not a Hispanic.
      All of this should prod the Census Bureau to simplify things for future counts. The Hispanic-origins and race sections should be combined into one, less confusing section that asks folks what ethnic and/or racial group they belong to: white, black, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander or Hispanic. It should (as it already does for some groups on the form) provide space for designating subgroups - like Arabs, for example. (Many Jamaican- and Bahamian-Americans also feel the Census should list their Caribbean origins as a black subgroup.) And it should make clear that respondents can check more than one group. That matters in cases like that of blacks from Hispanic countries. Those Afro-Latinos have produced a video urging each other to check the black entry and not "Other" in the race section to ensure that Washington logs that reality as well as their Hispanic status.
      Accommodating, if not promoting, multiple ethnic identification seems especially important at a time when a growing number of Americans - including their President - have mixed-race parentage. For our children's race, my wife and I simply write in Mixed for want of any better option on the census form. But in the 2020 census, we'd like them to be counted more precisely as progeny of both the Anglo race and the Latino raza."

      --- On Thu, 3/25/10, Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com <Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

      From: Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com <Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: [Generation-Mixed] Digest Number 904
      To: Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 4:40 AM

      Messages In This Digest (1 Message)



      Re: Census 2010--Mixed voices be heard!

      Posted by: "rosanna_armendariz" rosanna_armendariz@...   rosanna_armendariz

      Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:34 pm (PDT)

      That is hilarious about that census taker showing up at your house--twice! I'm expecting at least a phone call, and I'll be ready!

      In Generation-Mixed@ yahoogroups. com,
      ashley smith <ashley717717@ ...> wrote:

      Haha   In 1980 I got a census form, and we could only check one box, but I checked three. Well, what happened was that I got a knock on the door from a census taker who was sent to help me fill out the form correctly.  haha  So I said that I had done it correctly, and that our family had 3 racial origins,,  White, Black, and American Indian, and so I was going to leave it at that. The person left. A week later there was another knock and another census taker, who explained that the computer program was not set up to be able to take more than one checked box.  I told them that they had to reprogram the computer. He left. Next week same thing.
      Well, in 1990 the computer was able to take multiple checked boxes!
      I say do what you have to do!
      The label of "Hispanic' is not sufficient for a variety of reasons - one Puerto Ricans are very different than the rest of the Spanish world because they do have American citizenship as a part of the United States. Many Whites are basing their 'English only' demand under the false impression that English was ever the universal language in North America. In fact the Spanish were here first, a fact often omitted by grammar school history books. The Florida area was settle by the Spanish at around the same time that Puerto Rico was,, in the 1500's!. The US Southwest was Spanish until President Polk went on a land grab. The people of the Southwest have Mexican heritage from wayyyy before Davy Crockett got there, and they are entitled to keep and be proud of the wonderful Spanish American heritage they have, including speaking Spanish,, being mestizos, and all of that.

      In Generation-Mixed@ yahoogroups. com,
      "rosanna_armendariz " <rosanna_armendariz @...> wrote:

      Well, I filled out my census form a couple days ago, and was certain to indicate the multiracial heritage of myself, my husband, and my son. I answered yes on Hispanic heritage for all of us. Then for my husband, under race, I wrote in "mestizo," which is a mixture of indiginous and Spaniard. The majority of Mexicans are mestizo, and I think it's ridiculous that they are being pushed to identify as White in many cases. I recently read an article in my local newspaper where the author said the majority of Mexicans don't know they're White. Hmn, maybe that's because they're not! Some have fair skin, but that often is not a reliable indicator of racial heritage. In many Latino families, some siblings will be fairskinned and some will be darker. Does that mean that the light ones are White and the dark ones Black or Indian, even though they have the same parents? Makes no sense. So, for hubby I wrote in Mestizo.

      For myself, after I answered yes on Hispanic, I wrote in Ecuadorian. Then for race I wrote in Mixed.

      For my son, I also answered yes on Hispanic, checked off Mexican and also wrote in Ecuadorian. I don't know if I was supposed to do this, b/c it seemed that if you answered yes to Hispanic you were supposed to check off one of the groups or write your group in if it wasn't listed-- like they didn't think someone could have 2 different types of Hispanic as part of their heritage. How ridiculous! There are so many people that are half Puerto Rican, half Dominican or half Mexican, half Cuban, and so on. So pretty narrow-minded of them not to take that into account. Anyway, then under my son's race I wrote in multiracial.

      So, I'm sure the pencil pushers at the Census will be quite confused when they see our form!

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