Came home from work today to see this taped to my mailbox:
I suppose it's because on the 2010 Census I checked "Some Other Race" to the question which asked about 'race,' and wrote in "American" in the space provided:
I've been through this before with the Census, exactly 10 years ago, when similar responses on my 2000 Census (long) form prompted a visit from one of their agents:
I invited her in to my apartment, and spent about 20 minutes explaining to her my position, while she dutifully took notes on her laptop.
There's no such thing as "race," of course, in the sense that most people use the term. There's phenotypes (and that's what I'm referring to when I colloquially use the term 'race' in general conversation), but the idea that checkbox type "race" exists is probably the biggest, mass-delusional hoodwink of the last 400 years. Here's Exhibit A:
No one calls Tiger Woods the world's greatest Asian-American golfer, do they?
While race doesn't exist, ethnicity does, kind of, and even by the terms of the people who believe in race, that's what the 2010 Census is really trying to suss out (though poorly). So it's a shame that the current Census doesn't provide a space for people who, quite precisely, deem "American" to be their ethnicity/culture, regardless of their skin color or ancestors' place of birth. A head count of the people who self-identify in that sense --or any alternative sense based on making a conscious choice as to how you wish to interact with the world, rather than accepting a fake, arbitrary role that's been picked for you --is infinitely more useful than the meaningless checkboxes that were provided this year. Hopefully, that'll change by 2020. In the meantime, I'm writing in 'American' every chance I get.
- "Race" Is (still) For Suckers --Especially the Census's Version