The United States Census Bureau administered its Decennial Census of the population. Recently, CNN News highlighted controversy regarding the 2010 Census Short Form. Americans voiced concerns about item nine, which questioned about respondent’s race. Americans were especially troubled by the answer choice “Black, African American, or Negro”.
Americans raised numerous questions about the item on race. Is the inclusion of the term “Negro” offensive? Is the term outdated? According to the Census Bureau, research indicated that a segment of the population currently self-identifies as “Negro”. Nevertheless, the Census Bureau acknowledged that the term is considered offensive and outdated by many Americans. As a result, the Census Bureau is considering removing the term from future surveys.
Additionally, Americans pondered whether the Census Bureau should eliminate the item on race. In the CNN News video below, Christian Lander emphasized the importance of including the item on race: “To say something like ‘I don’t see color’ is ridiculous. That’s like saying you don’t recognize that this person has a heritage: that this person has a different experience.”
The reproduction of racial inequality occurs in the normal operation of society. Although people might not intend to contribute to racial inequality, they might unintentionally perpetuate racial inequality by residing in racially segregated neighborhoods or sending children to racially segregated schools. Even though racial categories are socially constructed, the emergence of racial categories has actual consequences. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the existence of racial categories, thereby avoiding color-blind racism.