Racial Categories

We talked in class at the beginning of the semester about the racial categories that are featured in surveys such as the census. I happened to complete a survey a couple of days later and it included this feature. It was confusing because it had many different options like Hispanic (White), Hispanic, Hispanic (Black) and it made me think, what does that even mean? I read an article in the New York Times about the categories that the census has which are white, black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian and native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. It elaborated on how it should be changed and how many racial groups are growing and mixing so these options wouldn’t work. I wonder, why these are the exact categories chosen versus the other racial groups there are. I understand when it comes to collecting data and creating statistics that it is better to have fewer categories but how are they chosen? What must a person have that places them into these specific categories?


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One Response to Racial Categories

  1. ndecaille says:

    I have read this article before and what is even more interesting are the ideas that reinforce colorism in communities of color. I found it interesting how the lighter your pigment, even if you are Hispanic or from the Middle East there are some that argue a person check ‘white’. It made me ask whether this meant when this data was collected, are there certain privileges or obscurities they are offered because they pass? Is it right or an unfair advantage to those who cannot escape the barriers of pigmentation? Especially when it comes to subjects such as education and economics, there is a lot that can be said about how the racial demographics maybe changing or being obscured. I think one of the discussions we need to have that the article starts is how the Census is promoting the salience of white privilege in our quest to simplify.

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