Paul R. Lehman, Report’s data on states racial integration progress is suspect

February 1, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American Dream, American history, American Indian, black inferiority, blacks, democracy, desegregation, discrimination, DNA, employment, entitlements, Equal Opportunity, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, European Americans, fairness, Hispanic whites, Human Genome, integregation, justice, language, law, minorities, Non-Hispanic white, Prejudice, public education, race, Race in America, racism, segregation, skin color, social conditioning, social justice system, socioeconomics, The Oklahoman, tribalism, U. S. Census, White of a Different Color, whites | 2 Comments
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The intent is not to rain on the parade, but too much confusion exists in the article “Report shows state has made progress on race,” to let pass ( The Oklahoman 01/2018). The reference to race in the article’s title is confusing as to its meaning. Once we got beyond the title, the confusion continued. Relying on “A new report from finance site Wallet-Hub” the report ”ranked states based on’ the current level of integration of whites and blacks by subtracting the values attributed to whites and blacks for a given metric.’” The ranking of each state’s progress relative to integration was based on four areas: Employment & Wealth, Education, Social & Civic Engagement, and Health. Oklahoma, according to the report, ranked 13th in racial integration out of the fifty states according to the four areas examined.

Without going into the meat of the report, we determined the data to be questionable in that no definition of terms used was given. Therefore, the reliability of the data is suspect from the beginning. For example, the term race is used in the article’s title, but no following information is offered to explain what is meant by race. If the reader has to rely on assumptions regarding the meaning or intended meaning of race, then what good is the data? Another problem is produced if the reader assumed the reference to race was intended to refer to the human race. The problems continued once we look at the objective of the Wallet-Hub report.

We read that the Wallet-Hub report focused on the “level of integration of whites and blacks”….Again, we are not informed as to the meaning of the terms white and black, but each term was treated as a monolith. We know historically that America at is formation socially constructed two races, one white and the other black, with the white being thought and treated as being superior to the black. But, this report was viewed as being current, and our knowledge of the false concept of two or more races is no longer acceptable. Without a clear definition of the term white any data offered would again be suspect.

The report also used the term black, but provided no definition or clarification as to its meaning or usage. One of the problems that the absence of a clear meaning or definition produced was the question of what black people provided the data for the report in that no specific culture, ethnicity, religion, language or geographic location was presented? So, who are the blacks? The same question exists for those people labeled as white.

When we turned to the U.S. Census Bureau for information the confusion increased because the bureau confused ethnicity, race, and origin. The bureau still operates under the assumption that multiple biological races exists. The bureau list the race categories as” White,” “Black or African American,” “American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Asian,” Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander,” and finally, “Some Other Race.” So, all the scientific date relative to the human race and DNA is seemingly of no concern to the bureau.

We do not know how or why the Wallet-Hub report decided to use the two terms, black and white, but from the 2010 Census information relative to race the question of what is race still remained. The Census Bureau stated in its 2010 data what it meant by race. Noting that their data is based on self-identification, the language reads as follows: “The racial categories included in the census questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country, and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically or genetically.” More specifically, it continued: “People may choose to report more than one race to indicate their racial mixture, such as “American Indian and “White.” People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.”

If this information is not confusing enough read what the Bureau provided for blacks: “Black or African American” refers to a person having origin in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race(s) as “Black, African Am., or “Negro” or reported entries such as African American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian.” The information (biased and irrational) did not mention what selections were available to black individuals of mixed ethnicities—Puerto Ricans, Cubans etc…

Maybe the point of the report’s validity can be seen more objectively after reading the information from the Census Bureau. If race cannot be defined, and a person can select any race, how can the report provide accurate data about blacks and whites? Unnecessary confusion exists relative to terms like, race, ethnicity, origin, and nationality. One rule of thought exists regarding these terms, only one, the term race, has to do with biology, and that is only with respect to the human race. The other terms are all products of various cultures.

One other term used in the Wallet-Hub report was integration, but it, like race, black, and white was not defined or explained. The word integration became popular during and after the 1954, Brown v Topeka Board of Education case. Many people confuse the words desegregation with integration, but they are clearly not the same or interchangeable. When public schools were desegregated, that meant African American children had a seat in the room. Integration occurs when African American children sit in same the room as the European American children but also learn about their history as well. We still have some distance to travel before we reach integration and share the benefits of our diverse American cultural experiences.

As mentioned at the start of this piece, the intent was not to spoil the seemingly good news of the report concerning Oklahoma’s “progress on race,” but to bring some clarity and facts into the mix. One wonders why a group of “experts” would not be more attentive to the problems with the terms used in conducting this study. Good news is always welcomed relative to the plethora of societal problems involving America’s ethnic populations. When good news comes, we just want it to be accurate.

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Paul R. Lehman, Census Bureau fails to recognize its core problems with new plans

August 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, American Racism, blacks, equality, Ethnicity in America, fairness, Media and Race, minority, Prejudice, public education, U. S. Census, whites | 1 Comment
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Hope Yen, a writer for the Associated Press, published an article, “Census plans to change how it measures race,” in The Oklahoman today (8/9/12). The article stated the purpose: “To keep pace with rapidly changing notions of race, the Census Bureau wants to make broad changes to its surveys that would end use of the term  “Negro,” count Hispanics as a mutually exclusive group and offer new ways to identify Middle Easterners.” Basically, what it will do is add more confusion and complexity to the problems it already has.

The article reported on the confusion the Census survey created for the people taking it in 2010. Having written on this subject in this blog and my latest book, America’s Race Matters: Returning the Gifts of Race and Color, the need to change aspects of the Census form comes as no surprise. The Bureau will try to identify and fix the problems that revolve around the identity of various ethnic groups because an accurate accounting of some groups was not possible based on the selection offered on the Census form. We are told that “The research [Census Bureau’s] is based on an experiment conducted during the 2010 census in which nearly 500,000 households were given forms worded differently. The findings show that many people who filled out the traditional form did not fit within the five categories of race…” The five categories of race listed on the forms were white, black, Asian, Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native. Hispanics evidently caused a problem “because Hispanics is currently defined as an ethnicity and not a race, some 18 million Latinos—or roughly 37 percent—used the ‘some other race’ category on their census forms to establish a Hispanic racial identity.”

So, just how does the Census Bureau plan to address this problem in the future? We are told that “Under one proposed change, a new question would simply ask a person’s race or origin, allowing them to check a single box next to choices including black, white, or Hispanic.” Unfortunately, that would actually create more problems for the Census Bureau because people of mixed ethnicity would not identify with any of the boxes offered. However, the Census Bureau, not to be deterred, offered some other changes:”The other changes would drop use of “Negro,” leaving a choice of “black” or African-American, as well as add write-in categories that would allow Middle Easterners and Arabs to specifically identify themselves.” Well, if people are allowed to identify themselves would those identities in effect create other races or would they be considered simply ethnic groups?

The primary problem facing the Census Bureau has to do with a lack of specificity, namely a lack of definitions. People filling out the survey forms are left on their own to figure out what the Census Bureau means with reference to race and ethnicity. Part of the problem comes from the fact that many people do not see themselves the way the Census Bureau sees them. For example if a person has an Asian mother and a Hispanic father, what box would he or she check? Asian is listed as a race, but Hispanic is listed as an ethnicity. Would this person be considered a half-race person or half-ethnic person? The Census Bureau does not offer a solution to such a problem, but suggest that the person filling out the survey make a choice according to the boxes available which includes “some other race.”

The fact that new immigrants are arriving in this country daily, we need to have a system in place to identify them accurately. The present system leaves much to be desired. What needs to happen without question is for the Census Bureau to drop the use of the term race and go with the term ethnicity, allowing individuals a wide range of selections based on specific cultures and geography. The terms black and white should also be discontinued because they serve no useful purpose. For example, if one goes by color than certain Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, and a host of other people might be considered black; however, because of their cultural and geographical identity, refuse to be identified as black. The same problem exists for people who identify themselves as white. The Census Bureau does not define race, but uses the colors black and white as though they are races. Apparently, that line of action does not work; hence, the problems and confusion.

One thing about the census that cannot be ignored is the fact that the data collected is used in a variety of ways that impact people and society specifically. Politically, information about the cultural make-up of certain areas is important in order to address the problems and concerns in those areas. If the census information is faulty or inaccurate, then the likelihood of some areas receiving attention would be affected. Since the cultural and ethnic make-up of America is changing on a daily basis, it is incumbent on the Census Bureau to make some meaningful changes, but not changes that simply exacerbate the problems. The Census Bureau needs to recognize what the obvious nature of the problem is, and address that first. Unfortunately, the Census Bureau cannot seem to recognize that the problem has to do with their use of and dependency on terms that are no longer applicable to the objective.

Chances are we will be reading another article in the future about the continued confusion being experienced by the Census Bureau because they have received an overabundance of survey forms with the selection marked “some other race,” and they will not know what to do with the information because they have no idea of what that means. For many years now when forms come to me with a space requesting an identity under “race,” the word “human” is supplied.

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