SIGNIFICANT OTHER: Increasingly Significant Issue
ANNE V. GILBERT
avgilbert at PRODIGY.NET
Wed May 15 16:56:50 UTC 2002
Mike and all:
> My wife died last year. After 45 years of marriage, I find it odd to say
> that I am single ("soltero"), but I don't see how a spouseless man can
> claim to be married ("casado"), either. I'm a widower, and there's a
> perfectly acceptable Spanish word for that ("viudo"). Trouble is, the
> official forms don't make that choice available.
FWIW, this sounds like Typical Bureaucrat.
> I'm not just picking on our neighbors to the south. In the U.S., the
> Census Bureau and my university's Office of Affirmative Action insist that
> I pick one and only one "race" or "ethnic group" as a self-label. I can't.
> I am like all other human beings in that regard: I am of mixed ancestry.
I think they want you to pick out the "race" you are "supposed" to belong
to. IOW, if you always *thought* you were "white", pick that category",
"black", same thing, etc. They do now have several "mixed" categories but
these don't fit everybody.
> I'm told that if I insist on affirming the biological truth, then I should
> provide the details of what is mixed with which. Well, like all human
> beings I can't be at all sure what would be in my individual mix if I
> trace ALL my ancestors back for a mere two thousand years or so. Even in
> that short a time, I suspect that my genealogy would reach out to every
> continent and include the ancestors of some members of each and every
> "race" or "ethnic group" enumerated in the official list of available
That is a monumental, and essentially impossible task.
> Besides, I'm also told that, as a matter of written Census policy, if I
> were to claim that any of my ancestors were dark-skinned people from
> south of the Sahara it wouldn't matter how few they were in relation to
> my other ancestors: the Census would count me as "African American".
That's because if you have any *known* ancestors that happened to come from
Africa south of the Sahara, that's it. This, in fok ethnological
categorizing is known as "hypodescent". From a "biological" point of view,
it's bizarre, because most people who know some of their ancestors came from
south of the Sahara also know they have European or Native American or other
ancestors as well(or any combination of those).
> Why is it that bureaucrats insist on making me lie down in some rigid
> Procrustean bed?
> -- mike salovesh <m-salovesh-9 at alumni.uchicago.edu> PEACE !!!
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