How Does Race Change?: Time
Race also changes overtime. In the United States alone, what each race is changes overtime.
For example, in the past "Irish" was considered a race, now it is just a possible ethnicity a "White" person may have.
Asian, a term one hears often, is a new term. For example, in the past each Asian country of origin (Chinese, Indian, Korean, etc) was considered to be its own race. However, this changed due to social reasons.
Ways it Changes:
The United States Census is a total population count that is taken every 10 years since 1790.
The way race is measured on the Census has major social consequences, because so many policies are determined by the Census. For example, voting districts, school funding, and welfare are based off Census data.
Congress has to approve the Census questions before they can be given out
See this link to the Census for questions that were on the 2010 Census: Click Here
Race information has been gathered two different ways on the Census
- In the Past: A Census employee would mark what they thought the person's race was.
- Presently: People can choose their own race.
A key point is that what is define as a race, changes from Census to Census
Below is a Timeline of some highlights of when certain categories were considered to be races
Take Home Point: Race changes overtime for social reasons (this will be explored in detail for each "race" throughout the semester).
What is Politically Correct?:
What is considered "Politically Correct" even changes overtime too! Consider the below changes in what is politically correct overtime.
- Colored -> Negro -> Black -> Afro-American -> African American -> Black
- Mongoloid -> Oriental -> Asian -> Asian American
- Indians -> Native American Indians -> Native American
Think About it:
1. Did any of the past words make you uncomfortable? Why or why not?