Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Race on the Census Form

The Census form for our apartment reads like this:

Person 1 (me)
Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? 
__X_ no, not of hispanic Latino, or Spanish origin
_____ Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
_____ Yes, Puerto Rican
_____ Yes, Cuban
_____ Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin--print origin below

What is this person's race?
__X__ White
__X__ Black, African Am., or Negro
_____ American Indian or Alaska Native
_____ Asian Indian    ______Chinese _____Japanese  _____Native Hawaiian ____Guamanian or Chamorro    _____Filipino     _____ Vietnamese      ______ Samoan       _______Other Asian          ____ Other Pacific Islander



Person 2 (my roommate)
Is Person 2 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? 
_____ No, not of hispanic Latino, or Spanish origin
__X__ Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
_____ Yes, Puerto Rican
_____ Yes, Cuban
__X__ Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin--print origin below
[Colombian]

What is this person's race?
__X__ White
_____ Black, African Am., or Negro
_____ American Indian or Alaska Native
_____ Asian Indian    ______Chinese _____Japanese  _____Native Hawaiian ____Guamanian or Chamorro    _____Filipino     _____ Vietnamese      ______ Samoan       _______Other Asian          ____ Other Pacific Islander


I find it strange to think of my roommate, a Colombian-Mexican American, as classified as white. I get that the Census is distinguishing between race and culture (Hispanic being a culture and not a race), but this leaves her with...white? Really? She says it's always been that way, and doesn't totally make sense. For once the classification of origin is less complicated for me!

3 comments:

I am Muzik said...

oh wow! I havent read the Census form yet, its been on the floor of my car for about a week. I am not sure how I feel about these forms and what now. I never feel that they appropriately classify people. That is interesting about your roomie in that case. I am going to give it a look tomorrow. I have been hearing a lot of negative talk from the minorities about the form lately on Twitter.

Erin said...

I was surprised to see the word "Negro" on there. Really? That's a technical term? It struck me as very un-PC.

Liberty said...

Erin: I agree. And are the options supposed to be synonymous? I can't imagine someone thinking, "Well, I'm not African American, but I AM negro."

J: Let me know what they say on Twitter. I can't seem to get into that site for some reason! Will you be blogging about it?