Well it was in a way a simple form. The troop leader is supposed to check off the “racial” breakdown of her group of girls. Here are the choices presented: White, Asian, Black, and a category called “ASHO,” which was the abbreviation for “also some Hispanic origin.” In many places I guess that would make sense that people could so easily fall into one of those categories. But here were our questions to the regional leader: What was my wife supposed to check off for the girl who was part Lebanese and part Kuwaiti? What about the child who was mixed with Asian and White? What was the correct choice for the child who was full Mexican in descent, since ASHO meant “ALSO of Hispanic origin” and in this child’s case there is no “also.” And of course she asked, what about black and Mexican, though we knew that was easier.
The leader’s answers were kind of amusing, not because she said anything particularly funny, but because it so stumped her on a few of those. In a couple of cases, her initial response was simply a drawn out “uhhhhhhhh.” Finally she answered that the Kuwaiti-Lebanese girl should elect white, something that we know would have been a revelation to her parents. Asian and White drew another hesitation, but finally she just relented and said for all the others to just go ahead and check multiple boxes. Which in the end was the only solution possible. To the leader’s defense, she pointed out that this wasn’t a Girl Scouts’ form or requirement, but something they get from The United Way. But it was still interesting for us to have an opportunity to demonstrate to people that these racial boxes must go and that increasingly they are useless.