Reporter Miller continues, "Republicans say it would remove the primary way to gauge success among minorities, while Democrats say it would conceal racial discrimination and eliminate affirmative action" (Miller, 2002, p. A05). Sadly, these legislators seem so determined to categorize people by their race and accomplishments or lack of them, that they cannot see that all accomplishments should be celebrated regardless of race, and that if society were truly blind regarding race and other personal items, then the worry about racial discrimination would not apply.
Proponents of studying race, sex, gender, and religious data insist that knowledge is the key to societal change and growth. For example, one sociologist reporter Miller interviewed states, "Mr. Gutierrez-Jones said that, for example, Hispanic students have not been faring as well as others at public universities in the state. Passage of Mr. Connerly's measure would make it impossible to track that 'until it is too late and we see the results of that failure'" (Miller, 2002, p. A05). Thus, many government social and educational programs might have no way of showing their necessity, and others might never get off the ground until they were unnecessary. Weighing the pros and cons of collecting all this data is difficult, but it seems that at least some necessary social programs might suffer without the knowledge of what works for minorities and what does not. The Connerly measure in California was placed on the ballot in October 2003, but did not pass. Opponents of the bill said it would not only harm government programs, but would even help stall medical research on many diseases that attack a proportionate number of minorities. California voters agreed, and the bill died. While answering these questions may be offensive to some, it seems that often they serve statistical purposes that are not so obvious to the casual observer. What the data is used for is as important as how the data is collected, and if the data is used for racial, gender, religious, or sexual stereotyping, then it should not be used. However, if it is used for bettering society, then it is necessary, and should be collected.
This does not mean that collecting this data is benign and unobtrusive. It is not. Collecting this data can be quite offensive to many people who fill out these forms and see no need to reveal some of this highly personal data. While many forms are anonymous, many more are not. While the data is indeed necessary for many studies, statistical data, and continuation of important programs and government funding, there are many other occasions where the data simply seems superfluous. In some cases, it may simply be collected because it "always" has, and that is not necessarily the right reason to collect and maintain sensitive data. As this data relates to a blind society, it is clear there is nothing blind about our society. It is built on layers, both social and racial, and what happens in the country is largely geared by race, gender, sexual preference, and religion. While that may be unpalatable to some, it seems to be the way the country has worked from the beginning, and it seems to be the way the country will work into the future.
In conclusion, some Americans may hope for a blended society that is blind to the differences between us, but it seems that as a nation that has never been the case. Today, the government and surveyors are exceptionally interested in the race, sex, gender, and marital status of each and every one of us. The figures may give surveyors and census folks the data they need to figure out trends, population curves, and the data regarding the people of our nation, but they also draw lines between the people. As long as the media broadcasts data such as "Hispanics are now the largest minority in the nation, and the fastest growing minority," then there will be lines between us that the forms, the statistics, and the continual questions only help perpetuate.
Miller, Steve. Connerly seeks end to race notation; gets criticism from all sides. (2002, April 28). The Washington Times, p. A05.
Snipp, C.M. (2003). Racial measurement in the American census: Past…