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What Is "Your" Race?The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans$
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Kenneth Prewitt

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157030

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157030.001.0001

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Race Science Captures the Prize, the U.S. Census

Race Science Captures the Prize, the U.S. Census

Chapter:
(p.45) Chapter 4 Race Science Captures the Prize, the U.S. Census
Source:
What Is "Your" Race?
Author(s):

Kenneth Prewitt

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691157030.003.0004

This chapter narrates the race science story. Among the more important was the shift from simply counting races, as was needed to make the three-fifths policy work, to investigating characteristics considered unique to different races. The policy goal was to determine who was fit for citizenship responsibilities: whites, certainly; the American Indian, probably not; the African, clearly not. The statistical races helped fix the color line in American politics, essentially drawing policy boundaries that gradually governed all aspects of life: schooling, housing, employment, marriage, travel, and political participation. The political understanding that counting the population by race could do nationally significant policy work led naturally to a close partnership between race science and census statistics, setting the stage for what scholars call evidence-based policy 150 years later.

Keywords:   race science, races, whites, American Indian, African, American politics, evidence-based policy

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