The U.S. census and race: Color me confused

I recently filled out my census form [and] came across a question that I thought would be easy to figure out. Question #8 asks if the primary person filling out the form is of “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin.” I figured, since I was born in the U.S. to Mexican-American parents that would satisfy the requirements of the answer. However, when you get to the next question #9, it asks, “What is person #1’s race: White, Black (African American or Negro) or American Indian or Alaska Native.” At this point I was so confused, I thought the census takers would figure it out on their own. I left the race question blank…

Why was I being asked to align myself with a race that I was clearly not? I understand that the census is a vehicle for the government to redistribute resources and representation… equally and fairly. Yet, I find it hard to believe that denying the fact that I am a Latino or Hispanic is going to truly represent my interests in the community. Furthermore, I [am] insulted [to be asked] to align myself with a race distinction that is clearly not my own.

I am not Black, I am not White, but apparently I am just a shade away.

— Robert Martinez Jr.
Asheville

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5 thoughts on “The U.S. census and race: Color me confused

  1. Uh, generally speaking the latino, hispanic, Spanish groups are considered of the caucasian persuasion, particularly the upper classes. Now granted the waters have been muddied in many Latin American countries so it can be a bit confusing.

    From 2010census.gov
    http://2010.census.gov/partners/pdf/ConstituentFAQ.pdf

    The racial categories included in the census form generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country, and are not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically or genetically. In addition, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include racial and national origin or socio-cultural groups. People may choose to report more than one race to indicate their racial mixture, such as “American Indian and White.” People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino or Spanish may be of any race. In addition, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include both racial and national origin or socio-cultural groups. You may choose more than one race category

  2. Agss

    If you are of Spanish, Portuguese or otherwise European descent, you are white.

    Some Americans seem to have the totally weird idea that people of Spanish descent are not white. This is completely unheard of in Europe and totally frivolous. Spanish people are just as white/caucasian as anyone else.

    You may check both Black and White if you are biracial, i.e. you have ancestors originating in both (Black) Africa and Europe.

  3. BusGreg

    It would be nice to omit all this nonsense about skin color and where we are from or where our long departed ancestors came from.
    I added to my census form:

    HUMAN RACE

    and have not heard a peep from them.

  4. Piffy!

    [b]I added to my census form:

    HUMAN RACE[/b]

    I’m sure they found that ever so helpful.

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