Last Updated:July 24 @ 12:15 pm

Census seeks changes in how it measures race

By Hope Yen

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Census Bureau wants to make broad changes to its surveys to keep pace with changing notions of race.

The changes would drop use of the term "Negro" leaving a choice of "black" or "African-American. It would count Hispanics as a mutually exclusive group to blacks and whites and add in write-in categories that would allow Middle Easterners and Arabs to specifically identify themselves.

Census director Robert Groves says extensive research during the 2010 census found that making these changes increased response rates and improved accuracy.

The government currently defines Latinos as an ethnicity. Census forms now instruct Latinos to indicate whether they have Hispanic origin and then check a race box such as "white" or "black," even though many consider their Hispanic background to be their race.

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18 Comments

  1. Haywood JablomieComment by heywoodjablomie
    August 8, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

    Government bureaucrats don’t determnine the definition of race, scientists called anthropologists do.

    Regardless of what census bureaucrats want to do, or what some Hispanics may believe, “Hispanic” is NOT a race.

    The word “Hispanic” means simply “of the Spanish” and refers to a person’s ancestral origins from the Spanish. The Spanish are Caucasian, i.e. “white.” Therefore, Hispanics are members of the Caucasian RACE. “Hispanic” is an ETHNICITY, not a race.

    I’ve heard the argument that Spanish-speaking blacks living in Latin America are Hispanic. Not so. If you trace the ancestral origins of Latin American blacks, it leads to Africa, not to Spain. Spanish is not the ancestral language of black Latin Americans. They are “negro” or “black”, not Hispanic.

    I have a degree in physical anthropology, and its very annoying when I see bureaucrats meddling in scientific issues and classifications like this solely for political reasons and without the slightest scientific basis.

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    • SuncoastComment by Suncoast
      August 8, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

      The census form lists, as “Race”, Samoan, Eskimo and a bunch of other “NATIONALITIES”, I have German, Flemish, English and Kiowa Indian blood flowing through my veins, so I just write in American since they are listing nationalities. To be accurate, I should write in “Human” since they label the column “Race”.

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    • swizard101Comment by swizard101
      August 8, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

      I just write in Native American since I was born here. I think perhaps the census should remove the ‘race’ question and replace it with “How much should the government spend on special benefits and programs directed toward YOU PEOPLE”.

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    • SuncoastComment by Suncoast
      August 9, 2012 @ 7:34 am

      Swiz that is a great answer, but if your parents were US citizens when you were born, you are a Natural-Born Citizen, Maybe that is what we need to put in the blank. Natural-Born Citizen of the United States.

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  2. Comment by Anonymous
    August 8, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    If we could consider the English speaking Chinese as white; we Anglo-Saxon types would not feel quite so squeezed.

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  3. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    August 8, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    They should use ‘Black’ for black poeple because the government will adapt it’s policy toward the number of ‘blacks … not the ratio of ‘blacks’ to ‘African-Americans’.

    To allow middle easterners to ‘write in’ their particular type of middle easterner will simply create a bunch of ‘micro-minorities’ that nobody can keep up with.

    Hispanics are those from Spain, and they are primarily white.
    The ‘brown ones’ should mark ‘Mestizo’.

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  4. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    August 8, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    And just what percentage of your gene pool do you need to qualify for any ‘racial’ tag? I guess that next we will need a genome analysis performed, at which time they can implant a tracer device as well. So much for a ‘race neutral’ society.

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    • middlegroundComment by middleground
      August 8, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

      I can see it now. To claim victim-hood you must drag out your memorystick with your genome information. It would certainly avoid embarrassments like Ward Churchill and Elizabeth Warren claiming to be Cherokees when neither had any NA ancestors. If they’d claimed to be digger indians from California perhaps no one could have checked.

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  5. vevaComment by veva
    August 8, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    Humans are weird. They are constantly in a state of “conflict” – over who they are or want to be. Its “my culture”, my nation, my language BUT “America’s population will become all tan”! Come from another country BUT keep all of their attachments to that country and refuse adopting language and law of the new one. They speak with forked tongues.

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  6. nhpollackComment by nhpollack
    August 8, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

    No box for my response which is always the same: human. When Charlize Theron fills out her census form will she choose African-American which would be accurate if we continue to allow hyphens, or will she “go along to get along” and allow herself to be crammed in Caucasian?

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  7. jmccarthy1Comment by jmccarthy1
    August 8, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    The main use of census information, under the obama administration, is to locate cities and towns across America that they consider to be “Too White” and to then import thousands of ‘immigrants’ to those places who have absolutly nothing in common with the people who live in those Cities and Towns…Multiculturalism does NOT inhance it Destroys! To add insult to injury the government GIVES these ‘immigrant’s’ free money to live on and other monetary assistance. Many of these ‘immigrant’s come from Socialist or Communist country’s and they are still Communist’s..ready made democrat voters.

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  8. swizard101Comment by swizard101
    August 8, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    Is race a sociological categorization, or a biological one. If race is scientifically based on biological inheritance, why then does it need any more than ONE scientific term to identify racial identity. If it is sociological, then cannot any person of any biological inheritance claim to be any race they prefer to identify with? And if that is the case, why do only some so-called “races” get multiple choice and others get no multiple choice. I’d say that if it is sociological, it should not be anymore than a blank for the person to fill in whatever they want. Let the collators decide which the want to lump together after the census. Suppose I prefer Tan to White. African american as an alternate to black is the most specious term for race as it implies there are no caucasian or white african americans, when in fact there are many. Africa is a continent, not a race. America is a continent, not a race. How does African-American convey in any purely scientific or sociological way “race” of any kind? By convention? If so, I am demanding that Italian-American be included as a race so that I get equal recognition under the laws of this land.

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    • nhpollackComment by nhpollack
      August 9, 2012 @ 1:55 am

      I strongly dislike the use of euphemisms. When I hear African-American, I immediately think of Charlize Theron, not Blacks or Negroes, of whom the honest, non-race, non-victim mongering call themselves Americans or in other contexts, Black or Negro. As a Jew whose roots go back to Odessa and Kiev, I’d probably be considered Ukrainian or possibly Asian, I don’t classify myself as white or Caucasian, I just consider myself an American as should all citizens of this country. Anything past that is just a load of horsepucky.

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  9. swizard101Comment by swizard101
    August 8, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

    What race term defines the race of children of African-Americans (definined as race) born in Italy after their parents emmigrate from the US to Italy. Are they racially defined as “African-American-Italian”? At what point does further hypenation cease, or at what point should it initiate? If convention is the rule, then don’t dishonor all of the other “national identity” conventions as unworthy for the census. Is a black man who immigrates from Ireland not Irish-American but only African-American when his most recent African ancestor died in 1722, and all ancestors since were Irish citizens?

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  10. Tonto (USA)Comment by Tonto (USA)
    August 8, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    My buttocks don’t get as tan as the rest of me so I’m not “white”….would I be a “paint” or “pinto” like a horse? I really like the idea of “Native American” cause I was born here….but I think that would probably confuse the libtards…..Hey, that’s a pretty good idea! Let’s all clain “native American” if we are people that were born here in the USA…..that will make a mess out of their “entitlement” voter requirements.
    That swizard101 guy is BRILLIANT! Thanks Dude! What a great idea!

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    • nhpollackComment by nhpollack
      August 9, 2012 @ 12:00 am

      Back in the late ’80s, I was trying to sell jewelry in Aspen. I walked into one shop, made my presentation and the saleswoman told me they “only buy jewelry from ‘native Americans’”. My response was, “Isn’t Brooklyn part of the United States anymore?”
      Blank look, no sale. I think it’s all a load of PC horsepucky.

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  11. nhpollackComment by nhpollack
    August 8, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

    My usual take on it is that we’re all Americans and anybody using a hyphen should go back to the place named to the left of the hyphen. Everything would be much simpler as we’d all be working toward the same end; the betterment of ourselves, our country and the world.

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  12. Stan ParrishComment by Stan Parrish
    August 8, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

    I figure the question of race is so much nonsense that I just answer it as one of the following: Human, homo sapien, earthling.

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