Census Bureau turning back the racial clock: FIVE CHECK-BOXES WON’T COVER LATINOS’ EXPANSIVE VIEW OF RACE
By Joe Rodriguez
When we were kids, our mother and father teased each other about race in a playful way that puts the Census Bureau about 500 years behind the times. Both of them were Mexican-Americans born in the United States.
Pop was big, tall and as bronze as an Indian from northern Mexico, where his family came from. A truck driver with morning rounds, he had to get to bed early on weekdays. That was impossible when our Mexican immigrant neighbors partied too loud. Furious, Pop would open the window.
“Muchachos, por favor! Let a man get his sleep.” Then he would turn to our light-skinned mother and proclaim, “I thank God he made me an Indian, and not a Mexican!”
We kids were darker than Mama, a trait that allowed her a comeback line whenever we misbehaved. She’d turn to him and yell at us, “Indios de mala clase!” Low-class Indians.