10 March 2010

"...And Within Every Subsequent Term Of Ten Years..."

Unless you've been living under a rock and missed all of the taxpayer-funded TV adverts (the best we could do was Ed Begley, Jr.? Geez. -ed.) and the mailers, well, you know its that time of the decade. Yes, dear readers, the Census is upon us.

This year's form is somewhat less intrusive than 2000, and there is just one form for all. (We got the 'long form' ten years ago, and refused to fill it out.) But the race and ethnicity questions do seem to be an anachronistic throwback to another day. My race and ethnicity are public knowledge - I can't exactly hide it - so there is no privacy issue with divulging it. Its what the government is going to do with that information that concerns me, and many others.

Some folks are advocating people take a different approach to those questions, and suggest folks mark their race and ethnicity as 'Other', and write in 'American'. On first blush that seems silly, but the folks at Powerline don't think so. Maybe they have a point.

Government has become obsessed in the last few decades with dividing us, especially by race and ethnicity. They're two of the major yardsticks our elected Lords use to define us, measure the amount of pork they fling back at us, and to whom.

But unlike being French, Chinese or even Armenian, race and ethnicity do not define who is, or who is not, an American. Unlike any of those other folks, what makes someone an American is is a shared idea and ideal. Its a function of the head and the heart, not skin color or where you were was born. That's what makes us unique. So even thinking of race and ethnicity as a measure is, therefore, un-American.

If government will not stop, then maybe we should make it a tad more difficult for them to continue balkanizing us for their own good. Let's take President Obama at his word about building a post-racial America, and not buy into the race and ethnicity compartmentalization of the past.

Whether you are Black, White, Hispanic, African, Scots, or Chinese - if you are an American Citizen think seriously about checking "Some other race" at Question 9, and proudly print, "AMERICAN".

Pass it on.

UPDATE: Hot Air thinks it's a good idea, too.

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