Monday, March 15, 2010

Census is Here: Are You a Member of a Previously Unknown Race?

Census time, and the census form arrived in the mail. It said fill it out and send it today, so I did, but I didn't like it. It is one thing to "enumerate" me according to the Constitution, but what business is it of a government of free people what race I am? I am an American, and a citizen by birth, as were my parents, and their parents, etc. They used to be English citizens, but after the American Revolution they weren't English any more. An American is an American, and that should be it. The census has a bizarre view about race, and has some newly discovered races listed on the census forms such as Chinese or Korean or Filipino. Those aren't races, they are ethnicities. Did they not go to school in Washington?

The census also want to know about your house. Do you own it? Do you have a mortgage on it? No question whether people can afford their mortgage or taxes, which nationwide is a very pressing problem. That is a question that should matter to the government but it doesn't. And do you seriously want to discuss your financial matters with someone who doesn't even know what a race is?

The first time I ever encountered one of those race questions I was so shocked I thought I was in Nazi Germany. I thought the Civil Right Act in 1964 had banned that type of question, silly me. In those days, white wasn't even listed on the form as an option. Knowing that I certainly wasn't an "other," the only thing I could figure was that I was a "Native American." Since I was born here, that must be me, no? It never occurred that was a designation for what Canada cleverly calls "First People." While I like that term, we don't have first people in the USA, even if they were here first, which I wasn't. Do I have to remain a Native American since I chose that the first time I was asked? Do they have a record of it? If I chose something else this time could I be in trouble? Is there an Amended Form available? While we have all heard on TV, the census is 10 simple questions, I did not find them to be simple at all.


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