The US Constitution requires that a US Census be taken every ten years (including in 2010). As we discussed here on 11/28/09, the counting of Americans based on their purported biological "race" could be a critical factor in 2010, since this will be the first US Census since the US Department of Energy Human Genome Project announced that race does not exist. According to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Human Genome Program:
"DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other."
Does this mean that it is impossible to capture the diversity in America? Absolutely not. When whites look at Blacks, they know who is Black and who is not by their skin color. When they encounter Latinos, they also use such cues as name, native language and native county, as well as native country of ancestors. As you can see from this paragraph, it is entirely possibe to gather the same information without resort to the disproved word referring to the disproved hypotheses of "race and ethnicity. Yes, "race" is also the term used to refer to a social construct, and "bitch" is also the word used to refer to a female dog. Both terms are inextricably linked to their origins and cannot, (let's be honest) be used without stigmatizing those against whom the words are used.
The US Census has always stigmatized Blacks. The original Article I, Section II of the Constitution provided that Blacks would be counted as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of the census and Congressional representation.
With the Fourteenth Amendment, the three-fifths language was removed, but the Census still counted Americans according to their "race", which was also the primary difference between those who had been slaves and free just a generation earlier.
Now, that the US Government U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Human Genome Program has announced that biological "race" does not exist, does the US Constitution's Equal Protection Clause require the Government to remove the word "race" from Census forms, because the word "race" stigmatizes Blacks, refers to stereotypes about Blacks, a hypothesis about skin color that has been scientifically disproved (the stereotype that we Blacks are fundamentally biologically different from whites)?
Laws referring to "race" and separating people on that basis must pass the US Supreme Court's strict scrutiny test. Not only does the Census refer to "race" but it stigmatizes Blacks, Latinos and Asians by telling us and whites that we are fundamentally biologically and substantively different because our skin color, facial morphology, hair color and hence "race" are not the same.
Isn't the argument against the word "race" just a question of semantics? No, it's not. The unemployment rate among Blacks is typically twice that of whites. When we minorities are seeking employment, how can we ever overcome employers' sense that minorities "don't fit the company culture" while the US Government, the media and the Constitutionally mandated US Census are telling the nation that minorities are from a different subspecies? It's almost laughable, if it didn't contribute so greatly to the controversial nature of skin color in America and Blacks' inability to find our place here.
Can people who are not from the same subspecies ever "fit in" at a corporation as well as people who are from the same white subspecies? If I were a white-skinned employer, following the Government guidance that minorities are from a separate subspecies, then I might consider it my OBLIGATION not to hire minorities, in order to avoid bringing in employees who could never fit into the company culture.
Would you feel entirely comfortable hiring someone if you were told that they were from a different subspecies? It sounds like a push-poll question, doesn't it?
And yet it is the conundrum posed by the US government that quietly announces that race and ethnicity do not exist, while continuing to use the words ubiquitously, even in the Census, as if the nation were full of people from distinct subspecies of humanity, like multi-colored aliens from various planets walking the streets.
|francislholland :: The 2010 Census, Race, and Denigration|
At best, the US Government is giving mixed and scientifically unsupported messages on the issue of minority hiring. On the one hand, the Government seeks to require employers to hire applicants without discriminating on the basis that some applicants are from a different subspecies. Do you perceive any internal contradiction in that? I do.
To hear the US Census tell it, it's like telling people that Blacks and whites are as biologically different as poodles and German shepherds. Different racial subspecies. And then the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that, even though Blacks are from a different "race" (subspecies), and Jews from a different "ethnic group, nonetheless, people from distinct subspecies must be given equal access to employment opportunities, just like poodles and German shepherds should be given equal access to police dog jobs. The exaggeration of the difference makes the law itself seem unreasonable.
The words "race" and "ethnicity" in the 1964 Civil Rights Act greatly and unscientifically exaggerate the differences between whites and skin color groups and sociological ethnic groups, because the science available when the law was written had not disproved the hypotheses of "race" and "ethnicity".
Since race doesn't exist, and since any use of the word is as offensive as the word "bitch," which has a perfectly valid and unoffensive meaning that will inevitably be confused with it's outrageously offensive meanings, I propose that we excise the word "race" from the language of each of us, just as the Human Genome Project has excised the words "race" and "ethnicity" from our understanding of who we are as human beings and all that does not separate us.
I've prepared the chart below to show how we can get more information from the census by avoiding stigmatizing and overgeneralizing people with the word "race" and instead asking questions about those biologically obvious characteristics that do exist:
Please check your skin color/ethnic identity group below:
Whitish, but not Latino. (people know if they identify as "white"
Whitish and Latino
Black/brown/coffee/beige/vanilla, but not Latino/Hispanic. (Only people who are from what once was called the "black race" are going to choose this alternative, and yet the alternative includes and implies that various colors are present within the "Black" sociological group. This resolves the problem of those who want to state that they are bi-racial, which science has rendered biologically meaningless. And people who believe they are bi-racial would probably discover through DNA testing that they have poly-chromatic and poly-ethnic heritage. DNA has taken the guess-work out of this.)
Black/brown/coffee/beige/vanilla, AND Latino/Hispanic.
If anyone can help me to understand and correct why I cannot make the CorelDraw graphic below appear larger, without losing definition, I would very much appreciate it. I think you'll find it very interesting once you can read it.