By Chelsea Albers, JMI Intern & Florida State University Junior in International Affairs and Languages
The census has included race since 1790, when a slave was counted as three-fifths of a man. Race was a political factor in determining the number of representatives each state could have and determining tax distribution. Since then, many minorities have risked everything fighting for equal rights; however, with race as a question on the census form, we are still defining and grouping people into racial categories, rather than encouraging a color-blind, equal society.When I inquired of the census worker at my doorstep, “Why does the government need to know my race?”, she explained that the information was needed to determine money allotment for different programs. Based on this response, apparently our government is discrimatory and a possible reason your neighborhood may not be receiving needed funding is the color of yourself and your neighbors.A friend of mine works for the Census, and when I asked her the same question, she responded that the information will help determine and implement affirmative action policies. I’ve always believed that a person should be judged based on his/her merit rather than the color of skin. If our country was founded on the notion that “All men are created equal”, why is there a count of who is red, yellow, black and white, and why does it matter in public policy?It’s time for America to scrap numbers 8 and 9 on the census form.