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Monday, March 29, 2010

Stepping out

...of the big white box.
This is a link to a perspective that ... well, I share.  It has to do with checking the census box for race.  I can tell you that I usually leave it blank on forms, unless it will invalidate the rest of the information.  I don't like to use the word 'biracial.'  Don't ask me what my husband's nationality is, he is American, for crying out loud.  Do you mean to ask what is his ethnicity?  His country of origin?  That I will answer proudly and happily.  But please don't ask me to check a box for race.  Mine, his, our childrens'. 
I will never know what it feels like to have someone respond to me as anyone other than a white woman, or a chunky white woman.  But I have seen people respond to my husband who is neither chunky nor white (and obviously not a woman!) when he is with me.  I think there may be some value in checking the race box, but in my dreams, I would eliminate the box as a method of helping people get beyond their fear and lack of exposure and segregations of the mind, and as a way to move toward a culture of loving our neighbor regardless of the box they check, or don't check.

6 comments:

Leanne said...

Yeah. I'd love to see the reason we have to break that down. I know a lot of blended-race families for whom that is very difficult to answer!

Jennifer Skoog Photography said...

Hey, great post-- I agree. Very patriotic. We are all, essentially, "blended"! They don't have a box for "Finnish American", do they??!! And to be technically PC, let's just call ourselves "United States Americans" (being "American" can meal Central American, South American, North American) and have the argument be done with. ;)

elizabeth said...

Having just gotten around to filling out the census, I was wondering what they use that box for. I should have written in Italian. I've always wanted to be Italian myself. ;)

ethiopifinn said...

ELIZABETH! that really made me laugh. I love a good Italiana.

Julie said...

Good things to think about. I wonder why they ask? And why they have only a handful of few races to choose from? We should all check "other" and write in "human". :)

MindiJo said...

I always wonder that too. It's ridiculous. And if you must describe yourself as something, why doesn't American come first? Like African American. Aren't you American first? That makes more sense to me.