Thursday, January 07, 2010

About Those Census Forms

Some folks (and media outlets) are making a big deal about the 2010 census form including the term "negro" on the form when self identifying the individual's race.

It would appear that this is no different than the form that was used in the 2000 census. The 1990 census form provided for black or negro in answering the race question.

Since these forms come around only once every 10 years, this is probably the first time that some people have had a chance to weigh in with their opinions or given any thought to the way the questions and responses are phrased.

Now, it is perhaps time to permanently retire the use of the form even though the most commonly accepted excuse for keeping the term on the census form is that some older African Americans recognize that term for self-identification than African American or black.

Then again, maybe we should drop the census question on race altogether. It has done more to divide the nation than it has in bringing it together. Of course, using the information on race helps divide up monies for various programs, so opposition to dropping the race question would come from those who would benefit most by continuing the status quo on the form (in continuing to ask about race, that is).

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