The US Census contains many questions, but about 25% are about race and ethnicity. Racial profiling made the social lexicon with stop-and-frisk, and other painful practices by the government throughout the country, and people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds rightfully raised their voices against it.
Why then does the Census get a free pass? This is clearly a form of racial profiling as it seeks to categorize Americans according to racial and ethnic characteristics. What we must understand is that racial profiling, no matter the source or intent, is racism.
The detail into which these questions go is mind boggling given this countries long struggles with this issue. So what is the US Government doing practicing racial profiling? The purpose we are told is to better understand the diversities of the population; that raises an existential question, which is why would there be a differentiation of anything in government based on race or ethnic background when we are all equal before the law?
This was never the intent of the census. Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that an apportionment of representatives among the states must be carried out every ten years. Therefore apportionment was the intended legal purpose of the decennial census by our nation’s founders and the framers of the constitution, which makes sense when considering how to structure a representative legislature.
To insert race into the census is as bad as perpetuating the three fifths rule in dealing with the black slave population prior to the 13th and 14th Amendments. It reeks of the very toxic practices of the post-Civil War era with its Jim Crow laws, or the persecution of the Jews in European history, or today’s bias against Muslims, or the anti-immigration policies focused on Hispanics and Latinos.
When there is any judgement or decision based on race, you have that cursed cancer known as racism, and as a nation and a society we have struggled against this since the republic was born. To have government blatantly practicing racial profiling is to have institutional racism. This has gone on for quite a while now and it’s about time that Americans stand up and refuse to answer any of the census questions about race or ethnicity.