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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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Where Are We Exactly?

Where Are We Exactly?

(p.171) Chapter 10 Where Are We Exactly?
What Is "Your" Race?

Kenneth Prewitt

Princeton University Press

This chapter calls for very specific changes in the census race and ethnic questions. The strategy depends on a close understanding of the political and technical landscape. It is often the fine print that has to be changed to bring about change. In the case of census race questions the fine print is knowing exactly what is being asked by the Census Bureau, when it is asked, and on which of its many different surveys. Powerful political constituencies are wedded to the current statistical races, especially the well-organized African Americans and Hispanics. Commercial interests are organized around familiar race data, which they use for product placement and location of retail outlets. These and other sources of resistance contribute to what social science describes as the self-reinforcing tendencies of political and social institutions.

Keywords:   census race, ethnicity, Census Bureau, political constituencies, statistical races, African Americans, Hispanics, social science

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