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Census forms and race

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
DH is Venezuelan, born and raised, but has lived in the US for 20+ years, so I'm surprised this hasn't been resolved already.

Essentially, he doesn't know his race.

He, honestly, never thought about it until DD was born and they marked "white" on her birth certificate. It bothered him, though he didn't know what else they should have picked, so he let it slide.

FWIW, DH's entire family identifies as white, but he does not. He's the darkest in the family, affectionately nicknamed "El Negrito"; and when very hard-pressed to 'pick' a race, he goes with Mestizo, thinking that's probably historically accurate if nothing else.

But when the census form came, he didn't want to write in mestizo, but he didn't want to mark "white," and he had no idea what to pick for DD (who's half white and half-whatever-DH-decides-he-is). He ended up just picking white because that's what DD's birth certificate said, but you can tell he's not happy about it.

I don't care, and I don't want to force him to pick something; but every time it comes up on documentation, it makes him frustrated and irritable. Any thoughts/advice?
post #2 of 31
Obviously it isn't free, but he could get a DNA admixture test.

Admixture tells you roughly what percentages of each race you are. Have you been watching Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC the past few Friday nights? Emmit Smith, the football player, had one done on last week's episode, and they told him he was 81% black African, about 12% European, and about 7% Native American, which was a real surprise to him. They said that was one of the highest percentages of black African ancestry they have seen amongst "African-Americans", meaning most black Americans are at least 25-50% not black. Likewise, I'm sure there are a lot of "white" Hispanics who are completely unaware of some percentage of non-European ancestry. Check out ancestry.com and see if they have any links to this type of DNA testing.

Good luck!
post #3 of 31
He can mark multiple boxes. He can check both white and whatever else he feels is part of him (I haven't looked at ours yet, so I don't know if native south american is an option.) He doesn't have to feel like he must choose just one.
post #4 of 31
My husband is Honduran and we didn't know what to put for his race either. We finally decided to mark Native American and wrote in the tribe he's from in Honduras (Lenca). I know that's not what they meant, but I guess we won't jack things up too much.
We spent so much time deliberating on his, that I'm fuzzy on what we put for our DD. We wrote in Honduras, but I can't remember what I we put for race. Hmmmm, spring fever.
post #5 of 31
My husband is also Venezuelan(!!!), born and raised, and is Mestizo as well. Some of his family thinks theyre White but he has a Black grandfather one one side and a White (blonde, blue eyes) grandfather on the other with the rest all Mestizo somewhere along the way. Whenever we have to fill out any census type forms we mark multiple boxes, regardless if they like it or not. I´m as White as can be (Irish-German-etc) and our son is only a tad bit darker than me with brown hair with banana curls and brown eyes. We mark White, African and Indigenous for him as well.
post #6 of 31
DHs is Brazilian and can trace back at least a few generations so we know he's about 70% Portuguese (although that part of his family looks pretty Middle Eastern so we're pretty sure it's not 100% white), 20% Native American and 10% African. So we just mark all three for him and will do the same for DD even though her precentage of African will be pretty small since I'm all white. In Brazil he'd be considered white but anywhere out of S. America people have no clue what he is (he doesn't have an accent in English) and at one point we counted about 20 different countries that people thought he was from.

We also wouldn't have felt comfortable marking white for DD on her birth certificate and would've checked hispanic or something else if there was only one option. Even though he's not hispanic that's probably the closest we could find in the US.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
This is so facinating, and is giving me lots to think about. I was thrilled when more people realized that "Hispanic" is not a race, but now here we are, still unsure about what to do. It never dawned on me to do any genetic testing, but I wonder if he might be up for that. We think he has a strong indiginous influence, but looking at his family tree we don't really know anything.

Looking forward to hearing more...
post #8 of 31
I filled out my census form last week, so I might be able to help with this.

If I remember this correctly, the way the census forms are formatted, the question asking if you're of Hispanic/Latino heritage is separate from the actual "race" question. Meaning he could check off that he's Hispanic AND white.
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC_hapamama View Post
I filled out my census form last week, so I might be able to help with this.

If I remember this correctly, the way the census forms are formatted, the question asking if you're of Hispanic/Latino heritage is separate from the actual "race" question. Meaning he could check off that he's Hispanic AND white.
I know. He's Hispanic, but he does NOT consider himself white. Or Black. Or any of the other options available, nor does he know what he could write-in. For him, it was almost easier to say "Hispanic or Latino" and then avoid the race thing entirely, but now he can't do that, so he's a little stuck.
post #10 of 31
I was just coming here to post the same thing.
DH is from Peru. I wrote in "Indigenous Andean". I was tempted to mark Native American, since he is native to the americas.. but I got tripped up by "tribe".
for DS I think I marked Hispanic and White. really frustrating, and we've not had to deal with these horrid little checkboxes before!

a friend of mine started a facebook group about it:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gi...2775143&ref=nf
post #11 of 31
We are in the same situation. There really is no choice that fits for my husband (Mexican). I was surprised that Samoan, Korean, Japanese etc are all individually listed, but there is not a good choice for people of hispanic origin.

I was told when enrolling my son at school that they were told to instruct us to check White and Native American (that NA covers both Americas). So that is what I did. On the census form they wanted a specific tribe listed, but we don't really know that information.
post #12 of 31
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post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
Interesting... an article came out about this issue and pointed out other shortcomings with the new forms that I hadn't thought about, either.

Why the U.S. Census Misreads Hispanic and Arab Americans
post #14 of 31
here is a facebook group my friend started on the topic:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/g...05884282775143
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosaic View Post
Interesting... an article came out about this issue and pointed out other shortcomings with the new forms that I hadn't thought about, either.

Why the U.S. Census Misreads Hispanic and Arab Americans
Which points out the head scratcher I encountered filling mine out

Quote:
It also includes Spaniards in the "Hispanic Origins" box, when in fact a Spaniard is a European, not a Hispanic.
I'm part Spanish, as in Spain, but certainly never considered myself Hispanic. I just put [x] White for myself and both [x] White, [x] Korean for my son. I'm still baffled as to why Spaniard is included there.
post #16 of 31
I'm planning on just marking "Other" and leaving it at that.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaesun's Dad View Post
Which points out the head scratcher I encountered filling mine out



I'm part Spanish, as in Spain, but certainly never considered myself Hispanic. I just put [x] White for myself and both [x] White, [x] Korean for my son. I'm still baffled as to why Spaniard is included there.
Spaniard is included there because Hispanic means "of Spanish speaking heriage." So, Spaniards are Hispanic. That's why it's separate from race on the forms. There are plenty of white (or mostly white) Mexicans (descended from Europeans, but go generations back in Mexico)- they would be White Hispanics. I think it's a little trickier, though, when dealing with people of hispanic ancestry who no longer speak Spanish. Decendants of Spaniards usually don't consider themselves hispanic, while descendants of Latin Americans usually do (even if they don't speak the language).
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
Spaniard is included there because Hispanic means "of Spanish speaking heriage." So, Spaniards are Hispanic.
Yes, I know what you mean. But, since there's a difference between coming from a Latin American Spanish-speaking country than having Spanish ancestry from Europe, the term is used inaccurately and just adds to the confusion, I think.

If we follow along that line of thinking: multi-generational Americans and Canadians would all be referred to as Anglos, simply because they speak English.
We don't put the Brazilians and the Portuguese in the same group.
The racial categories in this Census are the worst ever, IMO.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoMaH View Post
Yes, I know what you mean. But, since there's a difference between coming from a Latin American Spanish-speaking country than having Spanish ancestry from Europe, the term is used inaccurately and just adds to the confusion, I think.

If we follow along that line of thinking: multi-generational Americans and Canadians would all be referred to as Anglos, simply because they speak English.
We don't put the Brazilians and the Portuguese in the same group.
The racial categories in this Census are the worst ever, IMO.
Oh, I agree. I think Hispanic is just sort of a weird term. I think it's hard to classify Latin Americans because, although most of them have indigenous ancestry, they also mostly don't identify with that ancestry because it has been stripped away through generations of oppression. I think, racially speaking, most Latin American immigrants should put white and Native American (since most have European and NA history), but then they throw in that request for tribal affiliation, and they have no way of knowing what their tribal roots are. It's sort of like asking African Americans to list what tribe in Africa their descended from before they can claim themselves as having African heritage. I understand why the census asks these sort of questions, but I wish it were asked with more sensitivity toward the people who have to fit themselves in the boxes.
post #20 of 31
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-po...racial-society

(I'll keep it short and sweet- I'm talking like the sweedish chef today!)
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