The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Census Bureau Plays the Race Card

If the U.S. Census Bureau wants people to judge one another not based on the color of their skin but the content of their character, it isn’t doing a very good job. According to the NYT, the Bureau is busily spending your tax money to come up with new ways to make America’s Hispanic population “pick a race” on the U.S. Census.

This is not a good plan. Hispanic-Americans, as a group, are less conscious of race than other Americans. As the article says, Latinos “tend to identify themselves more by their ethnicity, meaning a shared set of cultural traits, like language or customs.” Getting Americans also to identify themselves by “a shared set of cultural traits” instead of skin color is a pretty good description of the kind of country we want to become.

America’s goal should be to make consciousness of race or skin-color less salient over time. Instead, the bureaucrats at the Census Bureau seem to think that too many Americans don’t care enough about race.  Hopefully they’re the only ones who do.

Published on January 20, 2012 8:42 am
  • Anthony

    Homosapiens (sometimes wise and intelligent) WRM – the species having common attributes overwhelm Census Bureau administrators seeking weighted classifications/divisions in furtherance of specious policy.

  • Kris

    Thank you so much for that NYT link. As an encore, could you refer us to the work of Pieter Camper?

  • LarryD

    Hispanic is a very artificial label anyway. Invented by activists who wanted to get in on the Left’s racial spoils system.

  • JasonM

    So… why are Hispanics the only people who get to have an ethnicity for the government anyway?

    The only fair alternatives:

    1. Everybody gets to assert their ethnicity to the government

    2. Abolish any “ethnicity” questions altogether

  • steveaz

    The term “hispanic” is used to denote a culture, not a race.

    A white Castillian and a spanish-speaking Quitzo Indian from Jalisco, MX are both “hispanic.” Their mother-tongue is Spanish.

    That modern academe tolerates the misuse of the word in its post-modern ethnic-, Peace- and whiteness-studies departments should disqualify their institutions from serious consideration by applicants who, in contrast, think it’s important to call things by their names.

  • http://diaryofagolddigger.blogspot.com/ The gold digger

    I left the “race” section blank on our census. The bureau called me four times to ask what race I was. I refused to answer. When I asked the caller why this information was even relevant, she couldn’t answer.

    I still wish I had stuck to my guns and put “human” as my race on my wedding license. The clerk would not accept the form until that space was filled.

  • Jay Dee

    If one gives credence to the theory that human beings evolved in Africa then we are all technically African-Americans. Put that on your next census questionnaire.