When you are asked to answer 10 questions as part of the 2010 U.S. census, which of the following will not be one of them:
1. Are you an American citizen?
2. What is your telephone number?
3. How many people were living or staying in this [home] on April 1, 2010?
4. Are you Tongan?
(Answer is below the graphic)
The question that is NOT on the census questionnaire is "1". That's right, the Census Bureau wants to know your race, but nothing as basic as your citizenship.
I suppose there is a practical reason for that; asking if you are a citizen will make a lot of people suspicious and they won't answer the questionnaire. Here's a story about the general distrust of the census, and details of how many people ignore it.
The race question has been on the form for about 30 years, and as the Census Bureau explains, it must be asked to allow the federal government to enforce a number of laws relating to racial and ethnic discrimination. We're kind of stuck with it. But it wasn't until 2000 that the bureau acknowledged the absurdity of requiring everyone to be entirely of one race or another. Then and now, Americans can described themselves as a mixture of two or more races.
What happened to the post-racial society? And why aren't we interested in the number of U.S. citizens in America?
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