View Poll Results: Perfered System of Self ID for US Census

Voters
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  • Keep Current System of Racial/Ethnic ID

    1 16.67%
  • Use Country/Contient of Self/Ancestor Origin

    2 33.33%
  • Use Another or Mixed System

    0 0%
  • Don't Ask for any Information Like this

    3 50.00%
Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    Invincible Jersey Girl Tami's Avatar
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    Default Racial or Ancestrial Designations in the US Census

    I have been doing Genealogical Research for myself and my family, and I've been thinking about how the Government via the US Census (and other places where the question comes up).

    The Census starts by asking if you or a family member is
    Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
    Then they ask
    What is Person 1's race?

    Here, you marked one or more boxes AND printed origins: White; Black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Chinese; Filipino; Asian Indian; Vietnamese; Korean; Japanese; other Asian; Native Hawaiian; Samoan; Chamorro; other Pacific Islander; some other race.
    Would it make more sense to self-identify based on the country or continent of origin of yourself or of your first ancestors not born in the US?

    Or would it be best to keep the current system?

    This is a probably a harder issue/question for people, especially Blacks, whose ancestors have been in the US for many generations.

    For me, I would be fine self-identifying based on the geographical locations where my ancestors came from instead of listing myself simply as 'White'.

    Please try not to let this get heated in any way. Thank you.
    Last edited by Tami; 11-17-2020 at 05:44 AM.
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  2. #2
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Default

    Well, we know ancestry can be a complicated matter. Especially for mixed race people, of which there are more and more. A kid with a white mother and black father could identify as either AA or white, technically. Even though they usually are classified as AA/black just because everyone sees what they want to see. Its literally half and half.

    So I'm more inclined for that reason to allow people to identify themselves as they wish. As long as they aren't outright lying, I don't see the issue. A mixed system might be fine as well, but it seems like the government would still just translate that into the ethnic boxes we currently have.
    Last edited by Scott Taylor; 11-17-2020 at 03:16 PM.
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  3. #3
    Amazing Member Adam Allen's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    Well, we know ancestry can be a complicated matter. Especially for mixed race people, of which there are more and more. A kid with a white mother and black father could identify as either AA or white, technically. Even though they usually are classified as AA/black just because everyone sees what they want to see. Its literally half and half.

    So I'm more inclined for that reason to allow people to identify themselves as they wish. As long as they aren't outright lying, I don't see the issue. A mixed system might be fine as well, but it seems like the government would still just translate that into the ethnic boxes we currently have.
    ... well, historically, that would not be the reason why.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-drop_rule

    In 20th century America, the concept of the one-drop rule has been primarily applied by white Americans to those of sub-Saharan black African ancestry, when some whites were trying to maintain some degree of overt or covert white supremacy.

    ...

    This rule meant many mixed-race people, of diverse ancestry, were simply seen as African-American, and their more diverse ancestors forgotten and erased, making it difficult to accurately trace ancestry in the present day.
    I mean, this is still less than a century ago:

    Through the 1940s, Walter Plecker of Virginia[22] and Naomi Drake of Louisiana[23] had an outsized influence. As the Registrar of Statistics, Plecker insisted on labeling mixed-race families of European-African ancestry as black. In 1924, Plecker wrote, "Two races as materially divergent as the White and Negro, in morals, mental powers, and cultural fitness, cannot live in close contact without injury to the higher." In the 1930s and 1940s, Plecker directed offices under his authority to change vital records and reclassify certain families as black (or colored) (without notifying them) after Virginia established a binary system under its Racial Integrity Act of 1924. He also classified people as black who had formerly self-identified as Indian. When the United States Supreme Court struck down Virginia's law prohibiting inter-racial marriage in Loving v. Virginia (1967), it also declared Plecker's Virginia Racial Integrity Act and the one-drop rule unconstitutional.
    Like, the current POTUS was born in 1946, the incoming born in 1942, so both grew to adulthood in a world where you could not be mixed, you were either purely White, or you were Black. How many more of our legislators were born in that world? And it's not like we should imagine things just changed like throwing a switch, after 1967.

    Honestly, I think this is unfortunately why our Census asks White or Black as primary categories; the country has been socially, culturally, and most importantly economically separated along these lines, for pretty much all of its existence.

    As far as it goes, I am fine with folks self-identifying, as well ... but, at the same time, I think it's still a reality that someone with Barack Obama's ancestry could more easily identify as Black than as White or Hawaiian.
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