Posts Tagged ‘racism’

The racist census

March 30, 2010

Yep, we got the US census forms the other day. And yes, I object to the racism built into the questions.

In, let’s see, 1990 maybe? I was a native American. Perfectly true: I was born in the USA. Not only that, but my parents were born in the USA, and as far back as I know (which admittedly isn’t very far), so were their parents. Native Americans, all.

I think there were a lot of native Americans in that year’s census. So our dear leaders decided that you could only be a native American if you were a declared member of some tribe. Ok, we’re not talking about race, we’re talking about political pressure groups (surprise!).

What was I in 2000? I don’t recall at the moment.

This year, one of the choices is white. Well, as best I understand the genetics, colour is not a race. Or, if white is a race, why isn’t black one of the choices for race (of course we all know why). Mostly transparent skin (which isn’t actually white) is a way of collecting enough sunlight to synthesize vitamin D in latitudes with limited sunlight.

If we’re really talking about genetics, I would have to admit to having recessive genes when it comes to complexion and hair colour. But how do I answer the question?

I was reading recently about the tracing of DNA evolution from Africa through Asia and eventually into the Americas. Since the census doesn’t accept my native American-ness based on a finite number of ancestral generations, let’s go back to the Ur-generation instead.

I, like everyone else (or at least like all other Americans) am African-American.