The Census

Several years ago I was involved in a discussion that posited a future for this country where all its citizens were a uniform coffee and cream color since all the variations of white to brown to black would have blended together. Being a blue-eyed blond, this seemed weird to me—all those brown eyes, that brown hair, and that pale brown skin—but at the same time it suggested a handsome vision of the human race, straight out of Jorge Amado.

Have you ever wonder about those futuristic space stories that inevitably landed on some planet and all the inhabitants of the planet looked alike? Why was the planet was uniformly populated while the crew of the spaceship were still white, black, asian, cossack, and even vulcan? If you recall, even the vulcans were all alike with only minor variations in the bushiness of their eyebrows. So we humans envision a future where all the variations of the human animal will still be maintained. That is far more unbelievable than traveling to the ends of the universe or William Shatner winning an Academy Award.

So what is it with this latest census that announce that for the first time in recorded history, more non-white babies were born in the United States than white babies? Before you grab your carbine and head to the hills of Idaho, stop and exercise your brain. First, the melding of the variations of humanity is inevitable and hopefully will be a good thing (although none of us alive now are going to see it). What is so special about having white, pasty skin? Off the cuff, I would say that the whitest country around is Russia:  is White Supremacy a disguised longing for Mother Russia? But the real issue is what the census means.

I have read several articles explaining that the census counted babies as non-white if any one of the parents was non-white. Several of the articles saw this as a mistake; I think it was reasonable and showed the population beginning to blend.

Categorization by the ethnicity of your name is problematic, however. I have a good Anglo-Saxon name but through the years I have met or become aware of many others carrying the same name that were not like me:  some were black, some were educators, some had freckles, some spoke languages I didn’t understand, some had never read Ulysses. I suppose if my name was Martinez, like a girl I knew from grade school up through college, I wouldn’t want to be bundled in as an Hispanic when I was whiter that Kat Dennings. I might not be too upset but it does show that the census is a little flakey around the edges.

What are your thoughts on this?

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