Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Am Not A Number!

So, I filled out our census. Or, as I called it a few days ago, in my half asleep state, the concensus.

Anywho, I was all gung ho to be counted as an American! Land of the free, bitches! USA! USA!

I started reading the directions aloud to the family. Todd was sitting at his computer, Kayleigh was at the dinner table drawing the Seattle skyline and Tyler was in the leather chair playing Super Mario on the DS. All the while, the cats were body slamming each other in the middle of the room. We are an all American family.

The very first question was:

"How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010?"

I stopped, blinked a couple of times, then read it again.
And the kids started laughing.

How many people "were" living here on April 1, 2010? Um. I don't know. I'm very confused. "Were" is past tense of "are". But April 1, 2010 hasn't happened yet.

Was the original plan to mail these out AFTER April 1, 2010?

So I underlined the word "were" and put a question mark beside it.
Then I wrote the number 4.

On to the people in the household.

The names are easy. Except for mine. I still haven't legally changed my name (any of it), so I have to put "Brenda R." which just feels weird. And I'm still a Marsh, for another month. I'll get around to going downtown and getting the documents to change it.

Where was I?

Ah, names. Easy. Then comes birthdays. I always choke on Todd's. 19....3... And then he yells at me. I've got the kids' birthdays memorized. They're very proud. Then I'm asked if anyone is Hispanic, Latino or Spanish. I want to check Latino for Todd, but he says no.

And then comes race. My options are:

  • White
  • Black, African Am., or Negro
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
I don't have a "Black, African American or Negro" friend to ask right now (Oh! Gary!), but don't those terms all mean the same thing? Todd brings up a good point; not all Africans are American but then why would they be filling out the census? Is the government just counting residents, not citizens?

And didn't the word "negro" go away a while ago? I've read that having this word on the census caused a quite a stink with some people, but the older generation still consider themselves "negro" (even wrote it in on the last census) and the younger generation doesn't identify with "African American". So, now there are options.

But if you're going to get all technical with the African American, why not go with "Caucasian", rather than "White"? (Actually, I want to write in "Caucasoid". I like that word. Makes me sound like an alien.)

This baffles me. This whole thing baffles me.

But I filled out our census. And it made for good conversation this evening with my family. Maybe that was the goal. Get the family talking and bonding, and making fun of the government.
Yes, I'm sure that was the whole point.

1 comment:

Bob said...

You actually expected a form designed by a committee of guvmint bureaucrats to be logical?