The concept of race and the associated terminology has altered over time. Dr. Michael Rodriguez, associate professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota, sent me a very intriguing example of the evolution of the race item on the U.S. Census. The census is administered every 10 years, and almost every administration seems to contain a variation in the language surrounding race. The full pictorial history of its evolution can be found here: http://racebox.org/
Some interesting things of note:
- “Colored persons” started to be counted in 1830, and then only if they were classified as “free” (although the three-fifths compromise, allowing African slaves to count as three-fifths of a person for representation and distribution of taxes, began in 1787).
- The distinction of counting only “free” people disappears after 1850 (the Civil War began in 1861).
- The item specifically concerning “…of Spanish/Hispanic origin or descent” begins in 1980.
- Also beginning in 1980, “color” (the color of a person’s skin) is no longer affiliated with race in the item stem.
Anything interesting you see? Leave us a comment and let us know.