Race and ethnicity in the United States Census

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the United States Census Bureau and the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is a self-identification data item in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify.[1] The categories represent a social-political construct designed for the race or races they considered themselves to be and “generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country“.[2] The Office of Management and Budget defines the concept of race as outlined on the US Census as not “scientific or anthropological“.[3]The OMB’s conception of race takes into account “social and cultural characteristics as well as ancestry“,[3] using “appropriate scientific methodologies[3], but not “primarily biological or genetic in reference“.[3] Race and ethnicity were considered separate and distinct identities, with Hispanicorigin asked as a separate question. Thus, in addition to their race, all respondents are also categorized by membership in one of two ethnicities: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino. In 1997, the Office of Management and Budget gave a Federal Register Notice called the “Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity” which defined new racial and ethnic definitions.[4]

multiculural students

How do we protest in the new millennium?

We no longer allow the government, the media, the larger society or special interests to divide us with their definition of our race:

Around 2 years from today someone is going to knock on your door and ask you to fill out a form that looks like this:


Ever noticed the fact, that we are the only group that has 3 definitions? Ever wondered why if so many are preaching a color blind society, that your government still insist on categorizing every American every 10 years? Ever wondered why the Hispanics have their own section for ethnicity, sub-divided by individual nationalities? (shouldn’t white then be classified by Germanic, Italian, Greek, or British and so) The census is the basis for every wedge racial issue played out in the media, exploited by special interest, and processed to continue funding the government orwellean machinery. Didn’t Martin tell us? I could never see anything regarding our character by checking any of these boxes, only the color of our skin. And I say the time has come to throw a wrench in the whole scheme. And show the masses how through our unity, we can take down an entire section of the system. Somebody please tell me I’m crazy, hey, I say it’s just a check-box, and I’m tired of playing.


Categories: PROTEST 101
  1. jjjessijess
    January 1, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Very thoughtful!!! I’m behind you 100%, please don’t let this idea stop with the blog. Take it to BET, Essence, Black Enterprise, Black churches and forums. My only concern is that the postive effects of Affirmative action may be hindered…


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