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Debates Forum

  1. 31 Jan '15 15:59
    quote:

    DETROIT (AP) — The [US] federal government is considering allowing those of Middle Eastern and North African descent to identify as such on the next 10-year census, which could give Arab-Americans and other affected groups greater political clout and access to public funding, among other things.

    ...

    Arab-Americans, who make up the majority of those who would be covered by the MENA classification, have previously been classified by default as white on the census, which helps determine congressional district boundaries and how billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated, among other things.

    [more...]

    http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/01/30/us-mulls-middle-east-north-africa-category-for-2020-census
  2. 31 Jan '15 16:40
    We should make all of these census categories:

    http://imgur.com/a/94Jue
  3. 31 Jan '15 16:51
    Why are such classifications useful in the first place? No government has ever asked me what ethnicity or religion I identify myself with.
  4. 31 Jan '15 18:17
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Why are such classifications useful in the first place? No government has ever asked me what ethnicity or religion I identify myself with.
    I think if the US had a more egalitarian history and more homogeneous population there would be less of a perceived need.

    quote:

    The OMB states, "many federal programs are put into effect based on the race data obtained from the decennial census (i.e., promoting equal employment opportunities; assessing racial disparities in health and environmental risks). Race data are also critical for the basic research behind many policy decisions. States require these data to meet legislative redistricting requirements. The data are needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act by local jurisdictions".

    "Data on ethnic groups are important for putting into effect a number of federal statutes (i.e., enforcing bilingual election rules under the Voting Rights Act; monitoring and enforcing equal employment opportunities under the Civil Rights Act). Data on Ethnic Groups are also needed by local governments to run programs and meet legislative requirements (i.e., identifying segments of the population who may not be receiving medical services under the Public Health Act; evaluating whether financial institutions are meeting the credit needs of minority populations under the Community Reinvestment Act).”[5]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census

    This link has an overview of race and ethnicity in the U.S. Census' history.
  5. 31 Jan '15 19:03
    It sounds to me like they should take a census of your culture as well as your 'race'. Are mixed race people still expected to identify with their non-white ancestors, or is it optional?
  6. 31 Jan '15 19:11
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It sounds to me like they should take a census of your culture as well as your 'race'. Are mixed race people still expected to identify with their non-white ancestors, or is it optional?
    The link addresses that issue. Whether these distinctions are handled satisfactorily is a question.
  7. 31 Jan '15 20:22
    Originally posted by JS357
    The link addresses that issue. Whether these distinctions are handled satisfactorily is a question.
    Interesting.
    Here in Cape Town we tend to bundle people into three approximate groups: white, black and coloured. In reality, there are major differences in culture and ancestral origin for every one of those groups. 'coloured' can mean anything from mixed race to Indian to Indonesian. However, people do still, to some degree, live in neighbourhoods based on skin colour due to history of the country, so I guess a census should record that sort of information. I am less comfortable with it being recorded for any other reason as it is too easy for people to make snap judgments base on such categories.
    This reminds me of Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, (mixed race) who says he was excited to go to America, because finally he would be 'black'. He got there and people saw him as Puerto Rican. Of course that story was part of his comedy routine, but it does highlight how easy it is to come to the wrong conclusions.
  8. 31 Jan '15 22:19 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Interesting.
    Here in Cape Town we tend to bundle people into three approximate groups: white, black and coloured. In reality, there are major differences in culture and ancestral origin for every one of those groups. 'coloured' can mean anything from mixed race to Indian to Indonesian. However, people do still, to some degree, live in neighbourhoods base ...[text shortened]... rt of his comedy routine, but it does highlight how easy it is to come to the wrong conclusions.
    There are strongly defended differences here between different groups of Latino/Hispanic Americans. Cuban-Americans are particularly notable, as they have the Castro-led revolution as a founding moment. Lots of educated, moneyed professions such as physicians escaped Cuba in the 50's and settled in the Miami area. They are generally conservative Republican-leaning, at least in comparison to other L/H groups.

    I am most familiar with Puerto Ricans due to my work, but never broke through the curtain they maintain vis a vis Anglo Americans (some of my colleagues did, by happening to speak Spanish or ability to party down and do the Macarena I kid you not.)

    Mexicans look down on Puerto Ricans and the PR's know it. There was a moment when my company transferred a Mexican exec to run a plant in PR. He lasted less than a year. Part of it was that Mexican execs lived like royalty in a cosmopolitan world city. San Juan has gated high end neighborhoods but otherwise must have seemed like a slum.

    And yes, except for some athletes, light-skinned individuals rule in PR and most L/H cultures.
  9. 01 Feb '15 13:16
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Why are such classifications useful in the first place? No government has ever asked me what ethnicity or religion I identify myself with.
    That's because we don't really do censuses any more over here.