The Idiocy of “Race”

Who we are is not so simple as "race."

Here is further proof of the idiocy of the concept of “race,” that it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever:

The federal Department of Education would categorize Michelle Lopez-Mullins — a university student who is of Peruvian, Chinese, Irish, Shawnee and Cherokee descent — as “Hispanic.” But the National Center for Health Statistics, the government agency that tracks data on births and deaths, would pronounce her “Asian.” And what does Lopez-Mullins’ birth certificate from the state of Maryland say? It doesn’t mention her race.

Lopez-Mullins, 20, usually marks “other” on surveys these days, but when she filled out a census form last year, she chose Asian, Hispanic, Native American and white.

The chameleon-like quality of Lopez-Mullins’ racial and ethnic identification might seem trivial except that statistics on ethnicity and race are used for many important purposes. These include assessing disparities in health, education, employment and housing, enforcing civil rights protections, and deciding who might qualify for special consideration as members of underrepresented minority groups.

But when it comes to keeping racial statistics, the nation is in transition, moving, often without uniformity, from the old “mark one box” limit to allowing citizens to check as many boxes as their backgrounds demand. Changes in how Americans are counted by race and ethnicity are meant to improve the precision with which the nation’s growing diversity is gauged: the number of mixed-race Americans, for example, is rising rapidly, largely because of increases in immigration and intermarriage in the past two decades. (One in seven new marriages is now interracial or interethnic.)

In the process, however, a measurement problem has emerged. Despite the federal government’s setting standards more than a decade ago, data on race and ethnicity are being collected and aggregated in an assortment of ways. The lack of uniformity is making comparison and analysis extremely difficult across fields and across time.

Under Department of Education requirementsthat take effect this year, for instance, any student like Lopez-Mullins who acknowledges even partial Hispanic ethnicity will, regardless of race, be reported to federal officials only as Hispanic. And students of non-Hispanic mixed parentage who choose more than one race will be placed in a “two or more races” category, a catchall that detractors describe as inadequately detailed. A child of black and American Indian parents, for example, would be in the same category as, say, a child of white and Asian parents.

Absolutely crazy. In a way it is progress because at least our government is moving away from the three races concept basically. But the only real solution is to recognize that there are no races of people, only differing ethnic and culture differences. As I have maintained, the concept of “race” is outdated and only divides.

Time to end the idiocy. Here is the full article.

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