Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Multiracial Space?

Comment from Susan Graham: The article below is very interesting and we will have to watch for its outcome. When the multiracial community suggested an "umbrella" category of "multiracial," with some of the most frequent combinations under it, the Census Bureau told us that it would "take up too much space on the form."

Demand to Include Central Am. Nations on Census

Los Angeles (USA) - Pro-immigrant organizations will ask the U.S. Census Bureau to include Central American countries on the forms of the next decennial Census to identify the origin of residents from that area.

"In late May of this year Central American activists are going to meet with census officials to demand that the 2020 census forms include each of the countries of Central America," said Francisco Rivera, president of the Central American Roundtable (Mesa Redonda Centroamericana).

"We have the basis of a lawsuit, because long before the 2010 Census we told them that the Central American population could be estimated with a minimal margin of error if the form was printed with a box like the one for those born in Puerto Rico or Mexico," he argued.

The U.S. population, according to the 2010 census, is over 308 million, of which 50.5 million or 16.3 percent are Hispanic.

"With the help of our lawyers, we are going to require changes to the forms so that we'll know in which areas in the U.S. Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Belize, Panama and Costa Ricans are concentrated, which together add 7.5 million people to the U.S.," he said.

Rivera said the exact figures are important because both activists and political representatives of the areas in which they live may require funds for health, education, housing and other services.

"If we have concrete data from the census, then we can require the Government to return the money and services for the taxes that are a paid by our communities and other underrepresented minorities," said Rivera, who is not convinced that the 2010 census reflected the actual number of Central Americans.

The president of the Central American Roundtable noted that most residents born in Central America reside in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

Salvador Sanabria, executive director of The Rescue (El Rescate), meanwhile, said that before the last census of 2010, the government and other foundations made agreements with some nonprofit organizations to get them funds in exchange for help convince 'the population more vulnerable " to participate.

"People in our communities, because many live here with irregular immigration status, when they see a Census Bureau government official at their door, are afraid," said Sanabria.

The director of the organization helping Central American political exiles, El Rescate, said that working with nonprofits in the immigrant neighborhoods inspire people to be more confident to talk to other immigrants like them.

"With the 2010 Census results, we are still not getting the funds to implement, for example, programs in health or education services, " said Sanabria.

Salvadoran Marvin Andrade, director of Leadership Development in the Asian Pacific American Legal Center," told EFE that "Census 2010 does not reflect the true number of Latinos in the U.S. and much less those living in California."

"I think there was some fear in our people, particularly those coming from countries with repressive governments who do not feel comfortable sharing information with the government," he said.

According to a Pew Hispanic Center study released this month, most U.S. residents with roots in Spanish-speaking countries do not consider the term "Hispanic" or "Latino" is the one that best suits their identity.

In a study of a sample of 1,220 Hispanic, 51 percent responded that although they do not mind referring to them as "Hispanics" they prefer to identify with the adjective of your country of origin, while 21 percent consider themselves "American."

1 comment:

  1. The Gomillion v. Lightfoot U.S. Supreme Ct. decision, 364 U.S. 339 (1960) has always been read as forbidding "white" Americans to organize by census numbers. For the "minorities," however, a census "box" is a license to community-organize so-called "minority-majority" voting districts. This is legal gerrymandering (forbidden to non-Hispanic "whites," thanks to Gomillion). From it emerges a politician whose primary constituency may be "a race"; and his/her American constituency counts somewhere further down the list. Increasing numbers of such taxonomy-affiliated politicians may form a caucus --a "minority" congressional caucus. Hispanic is an empowered "ethnic" category whose organizers may sometimes enjoy flexible entitlements to rights of "a race"; or alternatively enjoy the choice to "be any race." Not surprisingly, other groups are actively campaigning to have such a census entitlement "box" for themselves.