When it comes to measuring race, the Census Bureau has repeatedly contorted its definitions and contradicted itself to uphold a specific image of whiteness.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2022-01-05 17:05Z by Steven

When it comes to measuring race, the [United States] Census Bureau has repeatedly contorted its definitions and contradicted itself to uphold a specific image of whiteness. For instance, in 1890, “quadroon” and “octoroon” were added to the census to justify the discrimination of Black Americans, only for both to be removed in the following census and never used again. Similarly, in 1930, the census added a “Mexican” racial category, which was then eliminated in the next census, after the Mexican government lobbied to have those immigrants classified as white, therefore reinstating their eligibility for citizenship.

Jasmine Mithani and Alex Samuels, “Who The Census Misses,” FiveThirtyEight, December 13, 2021. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/who-the-census-misses/.

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Who The Census Misses

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-01-04 18:27Z by Steven

Who The Census Misses


Jasmine Mithani and Alex Samuels

Sibba Hartunian
Large groups of people have always fallen through the cracks of its racial categories — often by design.

For James Harmoush of Colorado, none of the census boxes quite fit.

In 2010 and 2020, when the census asked him to select a box regarding his race, he picked “white.” But there’s one major problem there: Harmoush doesn’t — and has never — seen himself that way.

“Nobody would ever look at me or talk to me and say, ‘You’re white,’” said the 30-year-old Arab American lawyer. The son of Lebanese immigrants, Harmoush sees himself as part of a minority group, but the U.S. Census Bureau legally classifies him as a white man.

Harmoush is not alone. Many Americans we spoke with felt the census classifications — both “white” specifically as well as the other available categories more generally — do not match the way they identify. In total, we heard from over 200 people with frustrations ranging from the naming of categories (like “Asian Indian” to represent people with ancestry from India) to confusion over why some racial groups, like Japanese or Samoan, were given their own boxes, while Middle Eastern, North African, Southwest Asian and others were lumped together under a catchall “white” racial group. We also heard from some Americans who were now completely rethinking how they personally identified due to the way they saw race and politics intermingle in society today…

Read the entire article here.

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In An Election Defined By Race, How Do We Define Race?

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-11-06 23:14Z by Steven

In An Election Defined By Race, How Do We Define Race?


Farai Chideya, Senior Writer

When I was younger, I had an idea for a satire in which a group of rogue genealogists would get blood samples from racially incendiary white politicians. They’d run DNA tests on them to see if they were part black, then publish the information on those who were.

This was way back before you could order DNA tests online and watch television shows about celebrities seeing their results. I don’t write satire, and wisely abandoned the idea. But the broader concept of bloodlines and our construction of political identity popped into my head during a recent discussion about the election.

Donald Trump’s supporters, 90 percent of whom are white, have measurably less positive feelings about African-Americans and several other groups than other Republicans or the public at large. But how many of his voters are “black,” not by our current categorization but under the “one-drop rule” saying that no matter how white they looked, anyone with a drop of black blood was categorized as such? Variations of the one-drop rule persisted in law until 1983 in Louisiana, after a mixed-race woman unsuccessfully sued to become legally white, and legislators overturned the law in response to the fractious case. Some argue that the one-drop rule had already been eroded by the 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case on interracial marriage, now the subject of a new movie

Read the entire article here.

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Inside The Five-Day Stretch When Obama Found His Voice On Race

Posted in Articles, Audio, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-06-13 18:03Z by Steven

Inside The Five-Day Stretch When Obama Found His Voice On Race


The number of Americans “greatly worried” about race relations hit an all-time low, 13 percent, the year after President Obama took office. Last month, Gallup recorded the opposite, an all-time high of 35 percent.

As Obama prepares to leave office, the conversation about his legacy will no doubt include his role in how Americans see race. In the latest in FiveThirtyEight’s podcast documentary series on key election moments, we go back to the first time in Obama’s presidential career that he addressed the country’s debate over race in a big way…

…Who you’ll hear from in the podcast

  • Obama’s Team
    • David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist at the time
    • Jon Favreau, Obama’s speechwriter at the time
    • Valerie Jarrett, longtime adviser to the president
    • Marty Nesbitt, one of Obama’s closest friends
  • Media Members
    • Brian Ross of ABC News, whose reporting set off the firestorm
    • Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson
    • Clips of Joe Scarborough, Diane Sawyer, Chris Cuomo, Chris Matthews, Katie Couric, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove
  • Analysts
    • FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten
    • The Nation’s Kai Wright

Listen to the podcast here. Download the podcast here.

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The Census Is Still Trying To Find The Best Way To Track Race In America

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-30 00:12Z by Steven

The Census Is Still Trying To Find The Best Way To Track Race In America

New York, New York

Ben Casselman, Chief Economics Writer

At FiveThirtyEight, we use census data all the time to track demographic and social trends, from the aging of the U.S. population to the decline in marriage and shifts in immigration patterns. But the census not only reveals societal changes, it responds to them. This week, we’re examining three changes the Census Bureau is considering for its 2020 questionnaire. In the first two installments, we looked at the proposed changes to the way the census counts people of Arab ancestry and same-sex couples. Here, in our final article: The bureau ponders a new way of asking about Hispanic ethnicity.

Nancy López considers herself Latina — more specifically, Dominican. But she knows that when she walks down the street, many strangers see her as something else: a black woman.

“Race is not one-dimensional,” said López, a sociologist at the University of New Mexico and co-director of the school’s Institute for the Study of Race and Social Justice. “It’s multidimensional.”

The census has struggled to capture that complexity for its entire history, from 19th-century battles over how to count free black Americans to more modern efforts to categorize the U.S.’s growing mixed-race population. Now as it prepares for its 2020 population count, the Census Bureau is considering its biggest change in decades: combining its questions about race and ethnicity into a single, all-encompassing question. López could still, as she did in 2010, mark herself as black and Latina. But she could also select just one category – an option many U.S. Hispanics have said better reflects their self-identity.

That may seem like an academic distinction, but there are significant real-world implications, too. The government uses census data to help draw congressional boundaries, protect voting rights and allocate federal grant dollars. Researchers use it to track discrimination and social trends. And advocacy groups use it to secure political influence.

“Census taking,” said Tanya Hernández, a Fordham University law professor who studies discrimination, “is inherently a political act.”…

Read the entire article here.

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