THE UNITED STATES CENSUS: ‘SOME OTHER RACE’

The OMB Directive 15 oversees the racial and ethnic categories used by the United States Census to categorize and compile racial classification of people via a decennial census.

The census has changed many times over the course of this country’s history, most notably when so-called Whites mixed with Black and Native people’s blood. From the first census, through each decade, racial classifications changed to benefit those classified as White, and to stifle, strangle and subjugate those classified as non-White. The so-called category mulatto has morphed over the centuries giving rise to the hateful racist One Drop Rule in its vicious application against the humanity of Black American and even when the category mulatto was dropped, the ramifications of racist white supremacy left behind a legacy of racial atrocities. One category stands out big time in the history of the census, and that is the category called “Some Other Race”. Per the U.S. 2010 Census on the issue of Some Other Race is as stated:

The Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program (PEP) produces estimates of the population for the United States, its states, counties, cities, and towns, as well as for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its municipios (county-equivalents for Puerto Rico). Additionally, housing unit estimates are produced for the nation, states, and counties. The timing of the release of estimates varies according to the level of geography. The schedule of releases is available at https://www.census.gov/popest/schedule.html.

Population estimates use the race categories mandated by the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) 1997 standards: White; Black or African American; American Indian and Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. These race categories differ from those used in Census 2010 in one important respect. Census 2010 also allowed respondents to select the category referred to as Some Other Race. When Census 2010 data were edited to produce the estimates base, respondents who selected the Some Other Race category alone were assigned to one of the OMB mandated categories. For those respondents who selected the Some Other Race category and one or more of the other race categories, the edits ignored the Some Other Race selection. This editing process produced tabulations from our estimates that show fewer people reporting two or more races than similar tabulations from Census 2010, because respondents who selected Some Other Race and one of the OMB mandated races in Census 2010 appear in the single OMB race category in the estimates base.

These values reflect updates to Census data from Count Question Resolution program revisions, any geographic changes that were incorporated since the census date, and the results of other Census operations. Further, we modified race categories to redistribute “Some other race” responses into the five Office of Management and Budget (OMB) race categories “alone or in combination.” For more information see: Modified Race Summary File Methodology.

SOURCE

Per the 2000 U.S. Census, the following definitions apply as follows:

  • White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as “White” or report entries such as Irish, German, English, Scandinavian, Scottish, Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish.

  • Black or African American. A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as “Black, African Am.” or provide written entries such as Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian.

  • American Indian and Alaska Native. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment.

  • Asian. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. It includes “Asian Indian”, “Chinese”, “Filipino”, “Korean”, “Japanese”, “Vietnamese”, and “Other Asian”.

  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who indicate their race as “Native Hawaiian”, “Guamanian or Chamorro”, “Samoan”, and “Other Pacific Islander”.

  • Some other race. Includes all other responses not included in the “White”, “Black or African American”, “American Indian and Alaska Native”, “Asian” and “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander” race categories described above. Respondents providing write-in entries such as multiracial, mixed, interracial, We-Sort, or a Hispanic/Latino group (for example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban) in the “Some other race” category are included here.

  • Two or more races. People may have chosen to provide two or more races either by checking two or more race response check boxes, by providing multiple write-in responses, or by some combination of check boxes and write-in responses.

  • SOURCE

Just what comprises the category “Some Other Race”?

What physical descriptions?

Not withstanding the Hispanic/Latino group for example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban anyone can be Latino/Hispanic—Black, White, etc.—what would you look for to categorize Some Other Race?

If I worked for the U.S. Census, and was told to go out and try to find at least ten people who classified themselves as some other race, hell, I would be hard pressed to be able to give a concrete physical identifier of a Some Other Race person.

What kind of religion do Some Other race people profess and adhere to? What kind of cultural traditions do they have? What kind of written or oral language do they have? Do they hail from a specific nation?

What would the conclusions be to arrive at and decide who fits into this nebulous category?

Just what does a person declaring Some Other Race look like?

Here is another thing.

Many people are checking off the Some Other Race category as the following The Atlantic article indicates:

Something unusual has been taking­­­­­­ place with the United States Census: A minor category that has existed for more than 100 years is elbowing its way forward. “Some Other Race,” a category that first entered the form as simply “Other” in 1910, was the third-largest category after “White” and “Black” in 2010, alarming officials, who are concerned that if nothing is done ahead of the 2020 census, this non-categorizable category of people could become the second-largest racial group in the United States.

Among those officials is Roberto Ramirez, the assistant division chief of the Census Bureau’s special population statistics branch. Ramirez is familiar with the complexities of filling out the census form: He checks “White” and “Some Other Race” to reflect his Hispanic ethnicity. Ramirez joins a growing share of respondents who are selecting “Some Other Race.” “People are increasingly not answering the race question. They are not identifying with the current categories, so we are trying to come up with a (better) question,” Ramirez told me. Ramirez and his colleague, Nicholas Jones, the director of race and ethnic research and outreach at the Census Bureau, have been working on fine-tuning the form to extract detailed race and ethnic reporting, and subsequently drive down the number of people selecting “Some Other Race.”

The U.S. census form has evolved over 226 years. “Race is the oldest question we have in this country,” Ramirez said. “We asked it in our first census in 1790, and we have been asking it ever since, every 10 years in a different way and different shape, but consistently throughout.” “White” has been the only consistent racial term since August 1790, when marshals knocked on doors in the original 13 states and in the districts of Kentucky, Maine, Vermont, and the Southwest territory (Tennessee) to classify people as a “Free White Males” or “Free White Females,” “Slave,” or “All Other Free Persons.” The civil-rights era was a pivotal moment for how census data was used, Jones said. “Prior to that, the measurement of race and ethnicity in the census was often used, not for helping people, but to show how people can be differentiated,” he told me. “But from the 1960s onwards, the measurement was really used to address problems and concerns.” Today, it also serves to reapportion congressional seats and Electoral College votes.

SOURCE

In the coming years, this so-called nation can be in for a mish-mash, jumbled up racial category.

It will be no better than Mexico, Latin America and  Brazil’s multi-color classification.

But, the Some Other Race classification definitely does not bode well for Black Americans.

Those who consider themselves Some Other Race will most certainly not align themselves with some (in reality, many) of their fellow Black citizens.

In the end, they will do as all those who came before them who were the In-Betweens (Irish, Germans, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Italians, Polish, etc.) who go over to the white side.

And as history documents, we all know what that ended up creating in this country.

 

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