We have received a response from the Annie E. Casey Foundation because of our complaint (see last blog post). Either they just don’t understand, or they are deliberately excluding multiracial children.
The rather chilling response indicates that they take their data “collected by birth and death certificates at the state level.” That is the absolutely worst way to collect data on multiracial children. Most often, the parent is not asked the race of the baby at birth, and it is written on the baby’s chart by an attending nurse or doctor at the birth. Thousands of women over the years have told me they were never asked the race of their multiracial child until they started school. The fact is that in most states, race of the child is not even on the birth certificate and other times it only has the race of the parents.
What about those death certificates? A dead person cannot self-identify their race. Funeral home employees “eyeball” the person and write down a race—usually only one race.
The next Casey Foundation problem is that if they asked the right questions, they would get the right and most accurate data. In other words, they have admitted to only allowing one choice for “the five largest racial categories.” So if they don’t allow people to mark two or more, they haven’t asked question the right way to begin with. They are using inaccurate data.
The response from The Casey Foundation baffles me because they can get better data from the US Census Bureau, The American Community Survey and schools. The federal government ordered federal agencies to comply with check two or more boxes in 1997. Casey is a private foundation and they do not have to do what the federal government does, but what ever happened to doing the right thing?
Their response concludes by saying they will “explore” revisiting the categories for the 2013 publication and then they abruptly dismiss us. Oh really? There will be more to this story.