That last entry has comics and video installations. I always forget I'm not supposed to mix low and high art. Never understood why, but this is apparently very important to some people. Apologies.
In a press release, the American Sociological Association asks:
Would 'race' disappear if the United States officially stopped measuring it?
WASHINGTON, DC -- What if the U.S. government stopped measuring race? Would the results be positive, negative, or indifferent? Under what conditions does the classification of people by race for the purpose of scientific inquiry promote racial division, and when does it aid in the achievement of justice and equality?
Some scholarly and civic leaders believe that the very idea of "race" has the effect of promoting social division and they have proposed that the government stop collecting these data altogether. Respected voices from the fields of human molecular biology and physical anthropology (supported by research from the Human Genome Project) assert that the concept of race has no validity in their respective fields. Growing numbers of humanist scholars, social anthropologists, and political commentators have joined the chorus in urging the nation to rid itself of the concept of race.
At its press conference today, the American Sociological Association (ASA), a scholarly organization of 13,000 academic and research sociologists, asserts in an official statement that it is imperative to support the continued collection and scholarly analysis of data on racial taxonomies.
[. . .] ASA also goes on record as opposing the elimination of data collection on race, because sociological studies show that this practice does not eliminate its use in daily life, both informally by individuals and formally within social and economic institutions. In France, information on race is seldom collected officially, but evidence of systematic racial discrimination remains. In Brazil, the nation's then-ruling military junta barred the collection of racial data in the 1970 census. The resulting information void, coupled with government censorship, diminished public discussion of racial issues but did not substantially reduce racial inequalities. Refusing to acknowledge the fact of racial classification, feelings, and actions, and refusing to measure them does not erase their consequences and will not allow research-based approach to the alleviation of race-induced social inequalities. At best, these actions will preserve the status quo and create an information vacuum.
(link courtesy of John C.)
One of the aforementioned "scholarly and civic leaders" is Steve Sailer, a proponent of the Racial Privacy Initiative (which I'd link to directly, but they've set links up to go boldface on a mouseover, causing it to jump to the next line in my browser. So it's no longer under the pointer, and I can't click it. Moving the pointer down to the link causes it to unbold and flip to the previous line. This is why my site design is so boring; to avoid effed-up shit like that.). Briefly,
The Racial Privacy Initiative would make it more difficult for the bureaucrats to carry on illegally discriminating by race in the name of affirmative action, since they couldn't demand that, say, University of California applicants check off race and ethnicity boxes.
As someone who was admitted to UC San Diego after Prop. 209 passed, all I have to say is, meh.
Think the folks in favor of not collecting data are headed in the same direction as Brazil. Discrimination will still take place, but it'll be harder to even try seeking court remedies because there'll be no data backing up accusations. And innocent until proven guilty still holds true in cases of little brown people charging discrimination, even if they can be detailed without trial indefinitely these days.
Want to know more? Someone far more intelligent than I (which don't take much) suggested discussing Race, Class and Power in Brazil a while ago. It's so different from our effed-up color issues, though (assuming you grant that such exist), it's hard for me to wrap my brain around the issue. Priscilla (the utterly gorgeous woman from Brasil I had a linguistics class with a zillion years ago) was fair-skinned, blonde, green-eyed and partially black, after all. And she just could not understand the caste system here at all.