Christine Emba’s column, “The Census’ new question for white people,” brought to mind a Census 2010 family story. My son had delegated the task of filling out the Census form to my daughter-in-law, who is a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. She had no difficulty until she encountered the question on race and ethnicity.
“What is Person’s race? White; Black, AfricanAm., or Negro; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian Indian; Japanese; Native Hawaiian; Chinese; Korean; Guamanian or Chamorro; Filipino; Vietnamese; Samoan; Other Asian; OtherPacific Islander; Some other race — Print race.”
She checked Chinese for herself and white for her husband. But how to categorize their U.S.-born daughters? My son looked at the troublesome question and the answer alternatives, then checked “other” and wrote in American.
That is what we all are. That is why the dreamers’ parents crossed borders without documentation. That is why visitors overstay their visas. That is why citizens strive to bring relatives to the United States. They want to be Americans.
We don’t need more categories to further divide us. We, like the people who hope to join us in this amazing country, are simply American.
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.