Under everyone's name, gender, date of birth and relationship, we were supposed to check the box next to our race. The options were written as follows:
- Mexican, Chicana, Mexican American
- Puerto Rican
- Other Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish Origin (Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard and so on)
- Black, African American, Negro
- American Indian, Alaska Native (Space for principal tribe) Are they no longer even trying to use "Native American?"
- Asian Indian
- Other Asian (Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, Cambodian and so on)
- Native Hawaiian
- Guamanian, Chamorro
- Pacific Islander (Fijian, Tongan and so on)
- Some other race
Several conclusions come to mind. One. Am I so melted in to this big pot that my possible Irish/English/Russian/Italian/Australian heritage doesn't count anymore? Two. Since my Dutch/Danish/Austrian/South African/Jewish heritage has light skin, does that make my race the same as my German/Czech/Ukrainian/Polish/French husband? Three. My skin is not white. I am wearing a white sweater as I type and there is a marked difference. Four--and this is the point I really want to make. Aren't we past that already? Why can't we just be American? For the sake of census and understanding immigration (legal or illegal, I don't care for this purpose), maybe there could be two boxes. One that says American (if you are a legal citizen) and the other that says Other, with an option to fill in your country of origin. How many generations does it take to say I am American--not Dutch, Mexican or African? Today, St. Patrick's Day, is a perfect day to make this rant, because I am not suggesting you forego your cultural heritage. Drink your beer in Oktober, dance the Polka on Ground Hog Day, beat the Pinata on your birthday, make matzo balls for your celebration. Yahoo! Keep the traditions alive!
But check the box that says American on your census form. That's what you are. Please, let's finally dispense with the name calling and sub-dividing.