Could the race question be one reason why people are not returning their census forms? The question has always been a part of the census, but it seems to be really stumping people in 2010.
Houstonians are discovering who they are is not so black and white. Some people told FOX 26 News that they feel the census is putting them in a box by giving them a question that is too difficult to answer.
At Hermann Park, it is easy to see Houston has many faces, but several people told us their race is not among the options on the 2010 Census. Question 9 asks, “What is Person 1’s race?” It sounds simple enough, but the options include White, Black and a variety of Asian descents but no choice for Hispanic.
“Well I’m Hispanic. When I saw that question on the census I left it blank because it doesn’t list Hispanic,” said Karina Delgado.
Federal law considers Hispanics an ethnic group instead of a race.
“Ever since 1890, you’ve never had the same racial categories as part of the census. It’s been changing all the time,” said Dr. Luis Salinas, a sociology professor at the University of Houston.
Salinas has studied census data for 30 years.
“About 47 percent of the Hispanic population labels themselves as White. Slightly less goes to the bottom of the race category, checks off other and writes Hispanic,” said Salinas.
Hispanics aren’t entirely left out. Question 8 asks if the person is of Hispanic, Latino or of Spanish origin.
“I think origin is more appropriate to say, but nonetheless under race, there was not another option for me,” said Ricardo Rodriguez.
Under “some other race,” Rodriguez wrote in Mexican-American.
Jocelyn Salinas is still trying to decide what to check before she puts her census in the mail.
“I’d be Hispanic, but since there’s no box, I guess I’d choose White, but of course, I’m not White,” said Salinas.
“It really is the census trying to find out how people think of themselves,” said Dr. Salinas.
His advice? Pencil in your race if it is not listed and send in your census.