The stupidest government idea ever
The government is presently considering modifying the Census to identify recipients for reparations. If the idea is operationalized, a possible future headline will be “2030 Census Shows America Has a Black Majority.” That would confirm that this was the U.S. government’s most brain-dead idea ever. However, with a couple of tweaks, it could be a brilliant idea.
The government’s idea (at page A6) is to ask all who check the “black” race box on the Census if they are descended from American slaves. The Census is not validated, and there’s nothing in the plan to change that. Anyone can check the boxes for “black” race and slave descendant—and now he or she has been identified as a candidate for free “reparations” money should it be paid.
It’s pretty clear that, in America, identity trumps biology, and people can change their identity on any given day, like the day the Census is completed. It’s not like this doesn’t happen all the time. The multiracial population jumped from 9 million in 2010 to 33.8 million in 2020. The number of people who identify as American Indian or Native Alaskan jumped 75% between 2010 and 2020, and in the same period, the number of Latinos identifying as white fell from 26.7 million to 12.6 million. Meanwhile, the white-identifying population fell by 31 million. With all the white supremacy and white racism blarney, who could blame anyone for not wanting to identify as white?
If some are enticed by the possibility of free money but are reluctant to identify as both black and descended from slaves because they don’t look or feel black, they should consider that, under long-standing American policy, they still could be black. America has always used the one-drop rule to identify if someone is black. From the 17th to 19th centuries, free and enslaved blacks and free or indentured whites worked side by side in the fields and homes, and they formed sexual unions all the time. There were also plenty of other black and white sexual unions.
Image: Proposed 2020 census form (edited).
The 1850 census indicated that 13% of blacks were mixed race, but this is surely an undercount. Someone being designated as white does not mean he or she lacks that “one drop.” A few generations of white unions following a multiracial union produces white children. There have been 16-21 generations since Jamestown.
How can someone know for sure if they are descended from American slaves? For most, the absence of verifiable records makes this very challenging. Before 1870, the Census asked for the number of slaves, not their identity. Even the later censuses, like the one in 1870, were said to have “some results false to the extent of one half.” This is why the government is contemplating the honor system.
To confirm the government’s inability to validate the descendants of American slavery, one rationale provided for asking about American slave descent is that the government must separate blacks from the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, or Asia after 1865. Most are also slave descendants, but not from American slaves, and they are not being considered for American reparations.
Some members of this “Other Black” population think excluding them from reparations is unfair because they allege discrimination in America. The Census can be used to solve this, with this question of all people: Have you or your ancestors faced discrimination? Any American who knows his ancestors’ experience will check this box in the affirmative, allowing America to dispense with black people thinking they are victims of white oppression. It would be a great outcome for the Census to show that Americans have always been equal opportunity discriminators.
The Census can also identify the fraction of a percent of white people who were enslavers. They could do this by asking people to check a box to indicate if their ancestors were enslavers. Unlike the descendants of slaves, the government can ensure a higher level of honesty by sharing that it knows who the enslavers were. In the 1860 census, 1.5% of Americans owned slaves, and their identities are on the record. Ask Ben Affleck.
If the Census is also used to identify enslavers, this is how a braindead government idea can become brilliant. The government would now have the data to facilitate restitution from the descendants of offenders to the descendants of victims. That’s justice. If a majority of Americans chose to identify as Black descendants of slaves, Americans should be mindful that speaking out could lead to being called a transracialphobic.