Sunday, November 18, 2012

A few questions from CMRS 2012

At the 2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies conference at DePaul University in Chicago, IL, I gave two informal presentations about NAC matters. As with this blog, I intended to share information and to hear people’s questions and concerns. Here are a few of the questions people raised -- I offer them as food for thought and discussion.

1. Will the Census Bureau attempt to use Census 2010 data as the Third Party Record of first resort? (Census 2010 complies with OMB Directive 15. However, the racial categories between 2010 and 2020 will likely differ and have areas that don’t match. Further, young people may self-identify in 2020 differently than their parents identified them in 2010.)

2. If and when the Census Bureau uses Third Party Records, what algorithms will it use for tabulating people who have marked TOMR? And what about people who’ve marked TOMR when MOOM is available, but marked a single race when MOOM was not available? (Questions and potential responses will vary across different entities’ records -- and people’s responses to some questions may vary across contexts and over time.)

3. How might the Census Bureau use its position as a potential data-buyer to leverage Administrative Records data-sellers to comply with OMB Dir. 15?

4. Will there be a “Mark One Or More” option for the Hispanic ethnicity question, if that question is retained as a separate question? (For example, if someone identifies as Two Or More Races: White and Some Other Race might also want to identify as both “Non-Hispanic” and “Hispanic” -- however, the Hispanic ethnicity question currently only allows respondents to check only one.) Further, if a respondent were to be allowed to check more than one for that question, how would the responses then be tabulated?

5. Where do lusophones (Portuguese speakers) fit in the Hispanic category? In governmental parlance, Hispanic refers to people who are “of Spanish speaking descent.” (This also creates the complication that Spaniards are Hispanic and Mexicans are Hispanic, but the US racializes those two groups in very different ways -- they’re treated differently, but are counted as the same.) But Portuguese is not Spanish; it’s Portuguese. For governmental purposes, are lusophones “Hispanic” or not? In the US, lusophone Brazilians would likely be racialized in ways very similar to Hispanics -- yet they are not Hispanic, they’re lusophone. And, as with Spaniards and Mexicans, the US racializes Portuguese and Brazilians differently. Further, where might lusophones fit if the Race & Hispanic ethnicity questions are combined and a Latino category is added?

6. Will the Census 2020 have a way to recognize Creoles? And if Creole recognition is included, in what format should it be included? (Currently, Census recognition for Creoles might be limited to using the “Some Other Race” category or to using one of the five racial categories, depending on how one positions Creoles relative to the US’s prevailing system of racialization.)