Posted by: winteridge | December 5, 2010

10 Years and Counting


I have a little opinion blog on another site, where I venture an opinion once in a while.  It has not been noticed like I had hoped, so I am going to transfer some of my better views (in my opinion only) here and close that one out.  My daughter says it is best to concentrate my efforts on one blog.

This one was on the US Census:

Has it been 10 years already?  Seems like only yesterday we did a US Census of useless information.  It is hard to believe this system and what it must be costing.  First we get a letter informing us that our census form is coming, then we get the census form itself (which is basically nonsense), now a postcard asking that if we received a census form that we complete it and send it back.  Next, I understand, the actual census-takers will be coming around (along with a bunch of fake scammers), and collecting the same info over again.  Then no doubt a letter asking if we got the followup letter, then a person asking if the census person found us, then…it may be 2020 before this is all over.

As for the report itself, after the name, address, and number of people in the household, the rest appears to be redundant.  Strange how they ask if I am hispanic or some other race.  Is this the USA or Cuba we are talking here?  I could not find a racial category that describes me: I am not white, black, yellow, Asian, or Hawaiian.  I finally noticed a listing for Afro-American, so I wrote in Euro-American. As close as I can get.   As if they really care about us minority groups.

And all this information they could download from the files of any credit card company or financial conglomerate.

But that’s Just My Opinion.

Just wait till that real live person shows up.

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Responses

  1. Did they really have a category of “yellow?” I don’t remember. I’m curious, if you’re not white but are Euro-American, what is your background? My understanding is that they ask for race because there are so many programs tailored to specific groups. But there’s no sense acting as if race doesn’t matter here, and more information is generally a good thing. I think the annoyance just comes because it’s the government asking. A whole lot of these people that don’t like the government brag about their devotion to the US Constitution, but the Census is right in there. There are plenty of countries in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, where nobody has any good handle on how many people live in them. I think it makes us better, not worse, to try to find out. But I thought there was a category of “other.” Whenever I get irritated at the race question I just put Human. That covers it.

  2. I just thought of another reason for the Census. Congressional Districts are based on it. So people who refuse to participate are, in a way, cutting of their noses to spite their faces.

  3. Yup, and the margin of error is only 4-5 million people. At least they don’t re-district us like New York does. You might be in one district and your neighbor across the street in another.
    I am always irritated by the “race” thing. If they have “Afro-Americans” and “Asian-Americans”, then most of us “white” folk should be “Euro-Americans”. Some of us came here, or our ancestors did, long after the Africans arrived. Also, many Euro-Americans were slaves also. And who among us is actually white? Albinos? I usually fill those forms with: Race: Human or Dirt-track, or Quarter-horse. I like the forms with whom to notify in case of accident: I put ” A Doctor”. Ya gotta laugh.

  4. The category is “African-American” not “former slaves.” I have a daughter-in-law who is white and an immigrant from South Africa. Her parents brought her here when she was about 15. But I don’t think she puts down “African-American” when asked. Language is complicated, and words have different meanings in different contexts. My dogs have English vocabularies of about 10 or 15 words, but they are incapable of understanding shades of meaning, puns, homophones, etc. I can. That’s what makes me smarter than dogs.

    I thought you mght be interested in this editorial. It gives some of the reasons the Census is important, besides being required by the Constitution.

    Census ShowdownPublished: December 10, 2010
    Americans have become accustomed to watching good legislation die in the Senate. Yet, amid all the partisan poison in the lame-duck Congress, the Senate unanimously passed a smart, bipartisan bill this week to improve the census.

    The question now is whether the measure can survive in the House.

    This bill deserves to become law. It would address problems — including unsteady management and political interference — that have long plagued the census. Among the reforms, it would strengthen the role of the Census Bureau director, who would report directly to the commerce secretary and be allowed to communicate views to Congress that are not necessarily those of the administration.

    It would also extend the bureau director’s term to five years so that census preparations are not upended by the presidential election cycle. Seven former bureau directors from both parties support the bill and have made clear how constraints on the director’s autonomy have contributed to delays, mistakes and misplaced priorities that harm not only the execution of the decennial count, but the preparation of many important surveys.

    Here’s the problem: The Commerce Department, which oversees the census, has objected to the bill in the past because more autonomy for the director would mean less power for the department.

    Among Republicans, Darrell Issa of California, who will take over the committee in charge of the census next year, doesn’t like it, saying he wants more comprehensive reform. Translation: Just Say No.

    The opposition is a stark contrast to the bipartisan support for the bill. In the House, Carolyn Maloney of New York, a Democrat, teamed up months ago with Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a Republican, to champion the reform. In the Senate, Thomas Carper, a Democrat, and Tom Coburn, a Republican, got the job done.

    The House leadership should take charge, putting the census bill on the calendar so members can vote before the clock runs out. The White House, which has made bipartisanship its priority, should play a constructive role by signaling its support.

    A version of this editorial appeared in print on December 11, 2010, on page A20 of the New York edition. [New York Times]

  5. Interesting example with your daughter-in-law, Barb. Would she be considered caucasian or afro-american? I did not see categories for black afro-americans and caucasian afro-americans. Another one falls thru the slots. Seems like I remember reading about caucasians in history classes many years ago-where did they immigrate from? Caucasia? Oh. My dictionary says a mountainous region of Russia. I’m sure my ancestors did not come from there. Did we all originate there? I think I need a coffee break. Another census coming up in only 9 1/2 years.

  6. The Caucasus Mountains are currently in Russia. Often considered the boundary between Europe and Asia, they weren’t the place from which Caucasians migrated. My thinking is that Caucasians developed in Europe, and that the Europeans (or Cro Magnons as they are called in anthropology) migrated out central Asia about 40,000 years ago. Central Asia was a kind of way-station where the original humans spent about 200,000 years after migrating out of Africa by way of the Middle East. When they got to Europe they found Neanderthals, who like they themselves, had descended from Homo erectus. Homo erectus migrated out of Africa, before the development of humans, some 500,000 years ago (I’m not sure about this date) and spread throughout Europe, Asia and Indonesia, and in some areas coexisted with humans for a while. In Europe they were called Neanderthals, in China we have Peking Man, in Indonesia there was Java Man (both gone before humans arrived), and now maybe the newly discovered “Hobbits” in Indonesia.
    This is what you get from being snowbound all winter and watching NOVA!

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