I received my census form the other day, and fortunately it was the short form. That spared me from a lot of questions I wouldn’t dream of answering. Unfortunately, it didn’t get me completely out of the woods.
As most readers probably know by now, Question 8 asks whether we are “of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?” If we are, then we are invited to be more specific, distinguishing Mexican ancestry from Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc. Question 9 then asks for each person’s race, offering us 14 specific options followed by “Some other race.”
I hate these questions. For one thing, it seems to me there are now large numbers of people who have parents or grandparents in at least two of the Census Bureau’s 14 “race” boxes. What box are they supposed to check? What box is President Obama going to check? During the campaign, people used to write a lot of nonsense about whether he was too black, hardly black at all, not black enough, etc. It was somewhere between unseemly and repugnant then, but now it seems the Census Bureau really wants an answer. Read the rest of this entry »