Check “American Indian” And Write In “Mestizo” Or â€œUnknownâ€ As Tribal Affiliation
The 2010 U.S. Census shipped this week to residents across the country. For those who consider themselves Latino or Hispanic, question #9 may cause some confusion. Question #8 asks whether or not a person is of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. No confusion there.
Question 8: Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
Asked in 1970. The data collected in this question are needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as under the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. State and local governments may use the data to help plan and administer bilingual programs of people of Hispanic origin. (census.gov)
Question #9 separates ethnicity from race, considering Latinos can be of various races; Spanish-speakers in Latin Americans do come in all colors. Using the crude color analogy, the available choices include “white,” “black,” “red” and “yellow.” But nothing explicitly for “brown.”
Question 9: What is Person 1’s race?
Asked since 1790. Race is key to implementing many federal laws and is needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act. State governments use the data to determine congressional, state and local voting districts. Race data are also used to assess fairness of employment practices, to monitor racial disparities in characteristics such as health and education and to plan and obtain funds for public services. (census.gov)
Most Latinos have mixed ancestral heritage from indigenous Americans (Amerindian, Native American) and whites (or one of the other choices). But the “American Indian” category asks people to specify a tribe. In past census counts, the government ignored what Latinos wrote in here and counted them as white. But this year is different, according to Nicholas Jones, chief of the racial statistics branch of the U.S. Census Bureau. From an article written by Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, assistant professor at the University of Arizona, the “fill in the blank” box will be calculated and not re-assigned:
If they are de-Indigenized or far-removed from their Indigenous culture, that is not of interest to the bureau. For those who have a direct connection, they can check American Indian and write in their affiliation, such as: Aymara, Quechua, Mixtec, Maya, Huichol or Yaqui, etc. If they donâ€™t know their affiliation â€“ which is perhaps the case for most Mexicans/Chicanos and Hispanics/Latinos, the bureau will accept â€œunknown,â€ â€œdetribalized, â€œde-Indigenizedâ€ or â€œmestizoâ€ or any other term that indicates or connotes Indigenous or American Indian ancestry. (politicalarticles.net)
For me, I will be marking both “White” and “American Indian” categories, writing in “mestizo” as the tribal affiliation.