In Letter III of his Letters From an America Farmer (1782), J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur famously asked: “What then is the American, this new man?” He answered: “He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. He has become an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals of all races are melted into a new race of man, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world. Americans are the western pilgrims.” (More on De Crevecoeur here.)
The Census Bureau will have none of it. Mark Krikorian observes: “Fully one-quarter of the space on this year’s form is taken up with questions of race and ethnicity, which are clearly illegitimate and none of the government’s business (despite the New York Times‘ assurances to the contrary on today’s editorial page).” The editorial to which Krikorian refers is here.
Mark Krikorian harks back in spirit to De Crevecouer. Krikorian has set up a Facebook page inviting Americans to follow his example:
In 2010, the new CENSUS will be taken.
Last time, instead of listing my race, I listed me as “HUMAN.”
This next year, I will be listing myself as “AMERICAN”… please Join ME!!
If you believe, as do I, that when America QUITS asking people what their COLOR, RACE, Ethnicity is, then we will all become a stronger Group: Americans.
Krikorian therefore suggests:
[W]e should answer Question 9 by checking the last option — “Some other race” — and writing in “American.” It’s a truthful answer but at the same time is a way for ordinary citizens to express their rejection of unconstitutional racial classification schemes. In fact, “American” was the plurality ancestry selection for respondents to the 2000 census in four states and several hundred counties.
So remember: Question 9 — “Some other race” — “American.” Pass it on.
As he says, pass it on.
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