More Racial Granularity for the Census? Yes, Please
Has anyone noticed how we don’t talk about intersectionality anymore? The racist left seems to have dropped that word from its shrieking identity lexicon. I guess it didn’t take them long to realize that intersectionality, taken to its purest form, renders not controllable collectivist groupings with specific grievances but a society of individuals, each with a unique set of personal characteristics. But the left hasn’t given up on racism.
American Thinker’s Janet Levy, in a recent review of David E. Bernstein’s Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America, discusses his cogent argument for dropping this decennial practice of having Americans officially segregate themselves one from another. It’s a resounding call for the separation of race and state.
Also, at American Thinker, Kathleen Brush notes that the Biden government is thinking of doubling down on the racial nonsense by having Americans identify their ancestors’ probable slave status—but only if they are willing to claim (truthfully or not), that they are racial blacks and the slavery was in America. Other people who descended from slaves or who suffered discrimination in America itself won’t be included.
Mike LaChance, over at Legal Insurrection, says, “The balkanization of the United States, often along government-fabricated racial and ethnic lines, is one of the building blocks of the cultural Marxist threats in this country.” This is not just an intellectual exercise. Conservatives can feel the truth of his statement in their bones.
Why is this a topic now? Because, in addition to the slavery question, the Census Bureau has also proposed an update to change how we categorize ourselves racially. The current categories are unable to be compared rationally. That’s because they are based on language (Hispanic or not), community (American Indian or Alaskan Native), geography (Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White), and skin color plus geography (B;ack). Among other ideas, the government is planning to add another geographic category, MENA, to segregate Middle Eastern or North African people from White. One obvious result of this would be to slash the official number of Whites in America.
But the Census is still mixing apples, alligators, and arithmetic—language, skin color, and geography. They are proposing to go for more granularity with examples and write-in boxes to identify not only a respondent’s country(ies) of origin but other regionalized groups like Kurds and Roma, Slavic and Cajun, and specific islands that are not recognized as individual countries, like Chuukese and Yapese.
We have known America to be called the great melting pot. However, for me, it has always been a goulash – a lumpy stew with some distinguishable individual ingredients in a common sauce. The longer it is cooked, and the more often it is reheated, the more the ingredients break down into sauce.
The Census officially says the information is not to be used to provide federal benefits. Oh, come on now! Of course, it will be used that way, not based on any one individual respondent’s answers but, instead, based on the collected data. And one of the most potentially impactful pieces of data we are grappling with today is skin color. Who is black? Who will get reparations money?
One can be assured that the communities planning to pay blacks for being black in America do not have the funds they propose to spend. They will agitate for lifting the cap on the State and Local Tax deductions, or just petition the federal government outright to cover their fiscally irresponsible spending. They will take the money from all of us who actually pay taxes, whether we are black ourselves, new immigrants who had nothing to do with American slavery before 1865, or descended from white slaves in America.
So, let’s ask ourselves to break ourselves down into these categories, every ten years and again in the American Community Surveys. If we are black, were our ancestors enslaved in the proto-United States of America before 1776? Or enslaved in the USA prior to 1865? Or free immigrants to the US at any time? Or enslavers of others (remember Anthony Johnson and John Casor.) If we are White, same questions.
If we are black, what percentage of our American ancestors were black—100%, 50%, or less than 10%? If having black parents automatically confers the inescapable scars of oppression on the children, then the fruitful blessings of white ancestry must be taken into account. If we are Native American, are we official members of a particular tribe, associated without membership, or at least 1/1,024th Indian (as grandmas sometimes claim)? If we are mixed, should we check all boxes that apply? With every birth in this kaleidoscopic country, the view is skewed a little more, and categorization becomes increasingly absurd.
How about, instead, we simply take a clue from all those mapping apps on our phones? Have a box that says I Am Here and call it good enough. Because for me and mine, being American, however we got here, is a gift bursting with possibilities. And that’s good enough.
There are three days remaining to submit a comment on these proposed changes here.
Anony Mee is the nom de blog of a retired public servant.