Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More on the Census

Ive already posted some links to issues surrounding the 2010 census, in particular the adoption and race questions. Here are a few more:

AngryAsianMan is hosting a contest -- chance to win a tshirt by sending in a photo of yourself/family holding your census (or if you've already sent yours in, holding a sign that says "I count!"). The contest is really just a fun way to encourage Asian Americans to send in their census forms.

Also from AngryAsianMan, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has complained to the U.S. Census Bureau about continuing problems in the Bureau's programs and outreach to Asian Americans.

The 2010 Census: Don't Put Me in a Big White Box, from NPR, the difficulty of being multiracial and having to choose which box to check.

Census Sensibility from Mama C and the Boys: "I shared my enthusiasm with my students about my first opportunity to fill this out as a mother, and how important it felt to me that I was recording my multiracial family accurately on the form."

From Adoption Mosaic, Adoption on the Census:

I know many people in the adoption world are upset about this singling-out of adopted children, for a variety of valid and understandable reasons. The issues range from parents, who have both adopted and birth children, feeling they are being asked to unfairly differentiate between their children, to people who feel the profiling amounts to “othering” – singling-out adoptees as exceptions to the norm, to feelings that the question is personal, and frankly, none of the government’s business. (I am simplifying these positions for the purpose of brevity, but welcome comments that explore them further)

Although I respect and understand these viewpoints, I see it a little differently. It doesn’t bother me when adoptive families are shown to be different. It bothers me much more when they are viewed to be the same.

* * *

As a transracial adoptee, with a brother who was born to my parents, I imagine how I would have felt as a child, or teen, had I found out that my parents chose not to complete a (mandatory) survey because they didn’t want to state that I was adopted and he was not. I think it would have been completely confusing to me, and would have caused me to ask the question “What’s so bad about being adopted?”
In Mean(ish) Girls and the Census (those are actually two unrelated topics under one heading!), the complications of filling out the census with a Caucasian mom, a Taiwanese dad, a mixed-race biological child, and a mainland-Chinese adopted daughter.

Jenna from the Chronicles of Munchkin Land reprises her blog post on the census at Blogher.com. The comments there are very interesting. Here's what I said in response to comments claiming that in the absence of open adoption records (which I support) census data would not help adopted persons:

I think gathering the statistics, as imperfect as they are, is helpful to adopted persons as a group. No, no individual adopted person will be helped in terms of geneology or birth parent search and reunion.

But in the way it helps a school district to know when to build an elementary school depending on the number of children reported on the census for a particular area, that group information about adoptees is helpful.

Consider the schools example for a moment -- when universities and teacher colleges see how many adopted children are reaching school age, they can see the importance of training teachers and counselors about adoption issues. Counseling anyone? Given that adopted persons have more mental health needs than non-adopted persons, knowing how many adopted persons there are tell us how many adoption-trained therapists would be needed.

Yes, this is the way census data is used -- it isn't about any particular individual, it's about groups and trends and predictions about the allocation of resources.

If we "hide" how many adopted persons there are in the United States, how do you think it will benefit adopted persons?
Queer the Census, decrying that the census is not explicitly counting gay and lesbian individuals or families headed by gay or lesbian parents: "The data collected impacts issues critical to every American – like our health care, our economic stability, and even our safety. And when LGBT people aren't counted, then we also don't count when it comes to services, resources ... you name it."


maybe said...

All of the arguments I've read that are in opposition to the "adopted" box have been based on emotion rather than fact and logic.

Anonymous said...

If they want to know my race and I'm the adopted adult with sealed birth records, I cannot answer that.

Under race there should be a box:

Don't Know, Adopted W/Sealed Birth Records

Von said...

Absolutely agree with Jenna, how cn reform and privision of service happen effectively if you don't know wha tgroups are in the population and waht their needs may be.
Anon has a good point too, not an answer anyone should ever have to guess.