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ken_bw.jpg Ethicalego Speaks

Ethicalego (Kenneth Brooks) discusses current events from a critical thinking perspective rarely expressed elsewhere


Government uses race categories it admits are not scientific.


By Kenneth Brooks

4/23/12

 

American society constructed illogical justifications for socioeconomic inequality based on race the past 236 years. However, a current federal directive describing White, but not Black, as a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Africa is a racist rant of unbelievable absurdity.

 

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB ) approved Directive No. 15, "Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting" on May 12, 1977. It defined basic racial and ethnic categories for Federal statistics and program administrative reporting as follows:

 

American Indian or Alaskan Native A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliations or community recognition.

 

Asian or Pacific Islander A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.

 

Black A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

 

Hispanic A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

 

White A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.

 

By use, Directive No. 15 defined race to mean a class of persons having origins in any of the original peoples of a continent or land area. It asserted this meaning in descriptions of American Indian, Asian, and White. However, it used a circular description for Black, "A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa." This description excludes Black as a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Africa, or any place. It excludes from Black the descriptive meaning of being a race and suggests they are rootless people.

 

In contrast, Directive No. 15 describes White as a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, Middle East, and North Africa. However, Middle East and North Africa are only Eurocentric labels for southwest areas of Asia and northern areas of Africa. Therefore, it describes White as a person having origins in any of original peoples of Asia with Asians and the only race having origins in the original people of Africa.

OMB Directive No. 15's admits, "These classifications should not be interpreted as being scientific or anthropological in nature. . . They have been developed in response to needs expressed by both the executive branch and the Congress to provide for the collection and use of compatible, nonduplicated, [sic] exchangeable racial and ethnic data by Federal agencies."

 

A theory has questionable logic that decides race classifications based on what people originally lived in certain places on earth. The disclaimer affirms that Directive No. 15 did not even have a scientific or anthropological basis for the meaning of race-deciding the original peoples of a continent or area. Therefore, government agencies spend billions of dollars reporting scientific interpretations of race data the directive says they should not interpreted as having scientific or anthropological support.

 

The human and money costs America allows from racial prejudice is irrational social policy. However, a social policy approaches mania when it intentionally creates those costs promoting racial prejudice based on race classifications the creator of the classifications says government should not interpret as being scientific or anthropological in nature.

 

The OMB reviewed the race directive in 1997. Nevertheless, it retained the Black and other descriptions despite some reviewers' recommendations for change. The Executive Department should repeal OMB Directive No. 15. Congress, State and local agencies should revoke all reports and analysis based on race classifications constructed without a scientific basis.

 

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