I want to make this clear right now: Melanin is an integral component of existence on Earth for anything that isn’t a plant. The fact that people judge other people by the quantity of this necessary chemical present in our bodies is beyond ridiculous. What’s next? The hemoglobin content of our blood?
I had to fill out the US Census questionnaire this year, and was, once again, reminded of why we need Egodrive to exist in real life. There was a question of “race”. (But, sadly, no option for “human”.) The choices offered spotlight the sad reality of what “matters” to demographic calculations. Of the choices given, two of them were colors (black and white), the rest were national origins.
If you’re “white”, it doesn’t matter where you came from. If you’re “black” it doesn’t matter where you came from. That’s all the sorting they need. For everyone else, regardless of citizenship status, you’re sorted by where your ancestors came from before they were in the US. Nevermind the fact that your ancestors came to the US a hundred years ago. Nevermind the fact that some “white” people here are first generation. Why are we still making this a thing?
Before you rattle off the marketing, “It’s so they know where to send the money for services people need most,” I want you to think about this…
We have social services in place on the local level, that report to the county and state level with regular (much more frequent than every ten years) information on the needs of communities. They already know where the poor districts are. They already know where unemployment is high, where education is low, and where homelessness is rampant. They already have all of this information. This is big data, that has been compiled and is updated every day. So why are we asking for it on a government form that we are required, by law, to answer?
Then I got to the next section of the form… there are only two genders, and you are required to pick one.
Then marital status? Why is this important at all? What government services apply solely to either single or married people? This one is actually a trick question. They can’t ask you about your sexual orientation, but they CAN ask if you are married to someone of the same gender. (Of the two they offer.) You see what they did there? It’s a net with some gaps in it, but it’s still a net.
The point I’m trying to make here, is that ALL of this is marketing. All of this is just another way to tuck people into little boxes to be dealt with more efficiently, with no regard for the way we are all different or the same. If the true purpose of the census is to count everyone “Once, only once, and in the right place” then we should be able to answer in the exact same way we did in second grade.