Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Census Nonsense

The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Our government, however, is the biggest discriminator. It’s obsessed with race, but Americans are so used to it we hardly seem to notice anymore. When teachers get in-service training on how to administer standardized tests, I always make it a point to ask officials why we need to know what race students are and what their national origin may be. There’s always a pause, and then an answer like, “Well, umm, so we can tell how one group does compared to other groups.”

“Yes, but why?” I ask again. “What will you do with that information?”

Sometimes they get irritated at this point and I can tell that they’ve never considered the question and were not prepared to answer it, so they say something like: “We report it up the line.”

“If a racial differential were discovered,” I then ask, “would officials up the line program differently to address it?”


“Wouldn’t that be racial discrimination, which is supposed to have been illegal since 1964?”

It they hadn’t shown irritation before, they display it at this juncture and say something indignant like, “Well, it would only be to help them,” and then quickly go on to something or somebody else hoping I’ll shut up.

Government always thinks it’s beneficent when it discriminates on the basis of race, or sex, or national origin because it sees itself as conferring an advantage on the downtrodden. What they almost never consider is that by advantaging one group, they’re disadvantaging another. Government officials think themselves pure-hearted and morally superior when compared to anyone else who discriminates, so they think it’s okay when they do it.

Girls, for example, have been advantaged so much in education the past few decades that now, according to the book “Why Boys Fail,” by Richard Whitmire: “Among whites, women earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees and 62 percent of master’s degrees. Among blacks, the figures are 66 percent and 72 percent.”

Discrimination is wrong no matter who does it. As Martin Luther King summed it up in his famous 1967 speech: “I have a dream that someday my children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” No righteous person could argue with that, but government continues to discriminate. Consider how often you’ve been asked on a form what your race is, what your sex is, or what your religion or national origin may be. Why does government want this information? There’s a legitimate reason for asking a person’s sex because there are real differences between males and females, but race? With its Affirmative Action policies, government ignores “the content of their character” and imposes racial and sexual quotas in all its operations. That’s discrimination no matter how you slice it.

We’ve all seen the US Census form by now. Page one starts by saying: “The census must count every person living in the United States on April 1, 2010.” As far as I know, that’s all the Constitution requires but it’s grown far beyond that. The census helps maintain the republic which, by definition is: “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.” The census enables to determine representation in a shifting population.

Now, however, the government wants lots of other information, especially whether we’re of “Hispanic origin.” Right after Question 7 asking for Person 1’s age and date of birth, it says: “NOTE: Please answer BOTH Question 8 about Hispanic origin and Question 9 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not races.”

Oh. So, for some other census they are? Why?

Question 8 asks: “Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?” There’s a box for “No.” Then there are four boxes including: “Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano”; “Yes, Puerto Rican”; “Yes, Cuban”; and “Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin - Print origin, for example, Argentinian, Colombian, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on.”

There are no categories for other origins like Irish, German, Jewish, Italian. Why is it just Hispanics government wants to know about?

Question 9 asks: “What is person 1’s race? Mark X in one or more boxes.” Next to each box are categories including: “White”; “Black, African Am., or Negro”; “American Indian or Alaska Native”; “Asian Indian”; “Chinese”; “Filipino”; “Japanese”; “Korean”; “Vietnamese”; and “Other Asian.”

This is racial discrimination, pure and simple, and it’s long past time to end government obsession with it. Question 9 ends with a box next to which it says: “Some other race - print race.”

Please, when you fill out the census form, check that box and print HUMAN.


Steve said...

This is one of your best arguments this year Tom! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

First we get a letter telling us that the census form is coming; then the form arrives. The questions give the date of April 1 2010 as being key - and then in a display of government inefficiency which is hard to believe, a postcard is sent telling us to send the form back immediately (never mind that it is not yet April 1st). Three pieces of mail to accomplish the gathering of information which will probably be used to establish further costly entitlement programs. I can only assume that our federal government is now bailing out the US Postal Service. Oh yes - and the return envelope is postage paid...

I will return my form on April 1st when the information will be current and valid.

Anonymous said...

We continue to meet the enemy and he continues to be us.

Anonymous said...

The race question has been asked ever since the first census in 1790. It would be interesting to hear the viewpoints of our founding fathers who wrote the question for the census.

Anonymous said...

The cost of the census has skyrocketed from $600 million to $3 billion(WITH A B). Any cities you go to have big census 2010 banners waving along streets. Ethnic census 2010 commercials are all over the airwaves..TV and radio...crazytown has arrived. HUMAN from Bartlett

Jim said...

In 1790 blacks in slave states were counted as 3/5 of a person. Therefore, questions about race were both relevant, and necessary then. Today, they are not.

Anonymous said...

But Jim, only slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person. Why did the original census written by the founding fathers differentiate between whites and "other" free people?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you in your hippie, "wouldn't it be wonderful", dream world where race truly didn't matter.

sing along!

hava...hava nagila

Tom McLaughlin said...

I believe in the melting pot. I'm not a diversity celebrator. When government constantly forces us to see ourselves as belonging to racial categories, it retards progress.

Anonymous said...

As a genealogist and family historian, I am quite sure that all of your great great grandchildren who get bitten by the genealogy bug will be glad for every question that you answered in the census, including the race question as more and more families are mixing. However, I do agree that asking for a person's race when it comes to education is wrong. It should never be on an application to a college. If we want to choose employees and students due to their character then we must stop asking for their race on any application to anything.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a topic here that most everybody agrees on. As a liberal leaning person with lots of liberal friends I don't know any of them that are in favor of the race question being on the census. It seems that old government habits are very hard to break no matter which party is in power.

pinko said...

Educator McLaughlin would have us believe that if questions about race were not asked, there would magically be no racism.

As for the census, the information gathered in the census is used to target aid to communities for hospitals, roads, and schools. Census information determines the numbers of state legislators, Congresspersons, and re-drawing voting districts. Census information is also a building block for statistics used in studies, reports, and articles written in schools, research facilities, and newspapers all over the country.

Over in Glennbeckistan, the tealiban is telling you not to fill out your census forms, because the gummint will use them to take your guns away or put you in an internment camp.

You get to decide. If you lose a representative, Congressman, or aid needed in your community, be sure to whine to Tom about it.

Tom McLaughlin said...

Just found this email in my in box this morning:

From: Ward Connerly
Subject: Census Nonsense
Date: April 1, 2010 9:20:01 PM EDT

A truly outstanding column!
Ward Connerly

Sent from my iPhone

Connerly led successful referendum campaigns to ban Affirmative Action in California (Prop 209), Washington, Michigan and Nebraska.

DAWN said...

We haven't received our census form yet. Not sure why but my neighbors and friends did and from what I understand it has to be mailed out already.

So what happens if you don't get one?

Mike Milligan said...

I gave ages, but not birth dates - identity theft happens. I gave names, but not family relationships - I refuse to distinguish between biological and adopted children, whether I have any or not. I did not answer about who owns the dwelling or if any moneys are owed to anyone - I don't even like telling that to the IRS. I listed my daughter who is away at school - this is her official residence for all other purposes, especially tuition. I flat-out ignored the Hispanic question. And for the second census in a row, my entire family's race is "Other -- HUMAN"!

Mike Milligan said...

"Pinko", I have some questions for you. Why is race important in deciding where to "target aid to communities for hospitals, roads, and schools" and in laying out legislative districts? Are you suggesting the government should push more money to certain communities because of race? Are you saying legislative districts should be drawn to be more racially pure?

Sam Stone said...

Thanks for the good article Tom.
I too am tired of the race and ethnic origin questions. Am I a less than desirable citizen since the only ancestors I can trace back to were from Europe? I'm the same race as everyone else, Human.

pinko said...

"Mike" community aid has nothing to do with race. The census is primarily a tool for gathering demographic information. This information is used in studies and reports. It's way more fun to read sinister implications into this, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Perhaps you can tell me, "Mike," what your objections are to this information being gathered? Why do questions about race and ethnicity disturb you so?