Comment Letter to Census Bureau re: Multiple Response Sampling

January 20, 2000
Project RACE Comment Letter to Census Bureau
Regarding Multiple Response Sampling

January 20, 2000

Dr. Kenneth Prewitt
United States Department of Commerce
Bureau of the Census
Washington, DC 20233-0001

Dear Dr. Prewitt:

"The time is always right to do what is right."
     — Martin Luther King Jr.

Project RACE has been involved with the effort to allow appropriate options for multiracial Americans on the U. S. Census for the past ten years. We have given testimony at numerous Congressional subcommittee hearings about race and ethnicity. Our national membership sent letters to the Office of Management and Budget in the hopes that the voices of multiracial Americans were heard.

Time after time we came away shaking our heads and saying, "They just don't get it."

Once again, we are wondering why you just don't get it. You have decided to allow for multiple check-offs on the 2000 U. S. Census. That's not exactly what is needed, but fine-for now; it's a step in the right direction. But now we have been told the U. S. Bureau of the Census is going to pull out 10,000 of the forms in which people chose two or more races and send them a follow-up form asking what race they would choose if they were asked to only mark one.

This defeats the purpose of allowing multiple check-offs and is a slap in the collective multiracial face of this country. This also singles out only multiracial persons (a breach of confidentiality) and reassigns them by way of some kind of "racial profiling," results in sampling and causes the deliberate skewing of census numbers. Our community must know about these serious problems with the 2000 U.S. Census.

Our families will not help you step back into time by embracing the one-drop rule or any other racist means of redistributing numbers into monoracial categories. The question "what one race do you really want to be?" after a person has told you they consider themselves to be of more than one race is ludicrous. We hope you will work with us on these issues to ensure a truly proper and accurate census for all Americans. We look forward to your response.


James Landrith
Washington Office

Susan Graham
Project RACE, Inc.

cc: William M. Daley
     Bill Lann Lee
     Rep. Dan Miller
     Rep. Stephen Horn
     Marshall L. Turner, Jr.
     Nancy Gordon
     David L. Hubble
     James B. Hubbard

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