Con Census

Filled out our census form this morning, and realized I am peeved about it. There's the race thing, which I'll get to in a minute, but what really froths me is the advertising. Census-takers are desperate for Hispanics and other folks believed to be under-counted to take part, so every public space is plastered with posters and the radio's running ads.

Fine and dandy, but the rationale given is so that your town will get federal money! That is NOT the rationale for the census, though it happens to be true that population determines your take of the federal program monies. The census determines apportionment, which is about representation and taxes. Fill out your census so you have adequate representation in Congress and you aren't overtaxed.

So even filling out the census has been turned into an exercise not of self-government and national solidarity, but of bellying up yet more to the government trough.

And there is the race thing, which others have beefed about before me. I don't have anything to add to their objections, I'll just note that there are not one but two race questions for every person in the household, which I note here for the external hard drive and because I have no idea what some of these things mean --tell me if you do.

Please answer BOTH question 1 about Hispanic origin and question 2 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not races.

1. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin?
  • No, not of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin?
  • Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am, Chicano
  • Yes, Puerto Rican
  • Yes, Cuban
  • Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (print origin, for example, Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard and so on).
Mr. W.'s grandmother was born in Uruguay to full Italian parents. Does that make our kids of mixed Hispanic origin or not? Is it nationality or "not race" that's being asked for?

2. What is person 1's race? (Mark one or more)
  • White
  • Black, African Am, or Negro [or?]
  •  American Indian or Alaska Native (print name of principal tribe)
  • Asian Indian
  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • Other Asian (print race, for example, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian and so on)
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Native Hawaiian
  • Guamian or Chamorro
  • Samoan
  • Other Pacific Islander (print race, for example, Fijan, Tongan, and so on)   
  • Some other race (print race) each Asian country or island is its own race, but Hispanic is not a race? I don't get it. But then, I'm stuck in 1977 Social Studies, where we clearly learned the world has only three races: mongoloid, negroid and caucasoid.

I checked "other" and put American. Which I'm guessing census readers will interpret as "white," but the defiance felt good. (If you choose to do the same, and there's a national movement to respond so, be aware that if the feds choose to be picky, you could be fined up to $500. On the other hand, if "Laotian" is a race, so is "American," so I don't see that happening.)

Update: I sense an opening for Rage Boy to make an appearance. ninme writes:
I wonder how many hours of sensitivity consultants were racked up determining the order of some of these questions, for instance, “Other Asian (print race, for example, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian and so on)”. Hmong, Laotian, Thai, and then Pakistani?