Junk Mail

The school district mailed out an Ethnicity and Race Data Collection Form last week. I received six of them. 
Question #1: Is your child of Hispanic or Latino origin? If yes, check all the boxes that apply (Cuban, Dominican, Spaniard, Central American, etc, etc.)
Question #2: What race to you consider your child?
Then followed Black, White, a dozen or so each of Asian and Pacific Islander categories, and then literally dozens of choices for American Indian tribes. These categories are "set by the federal government, the Washington State Legislature, and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction." Apparently a lot of time, effort and resources have gone into determining the relevant pigeon-holes.
And I guess the difference between an Irish immigrant and a Russian immigrant aren't as worthy of distinction as the difference between the Jasmestown S'Klallam and the Lower Elwa Klallam tribes.
Black covers all of Africa.
I guess if you're native Austrailian, you don't even register.
Maybe I'm a bigot, but I don't understand the purpose behind this federally mandated bit of information gathering. If we really need to adjust our educational system to allow for the differences between the Nisqually Nooksack and the Muckleshoot tribes, then how can you decide that a child newly emigrated from war-torn Nigeria has identical needs to a sixth-generation African American child? 
How can you say that my "white" mongrels are no different that fifty percent of the other children on the bus who are share the same skin color but who speak Russian, Ukranian or German?
Because you can't. Because they are all children. Human beings. And I don't understand why we can't treat them as such. I don't understand why we must pigeon-hole them. 
If you really just want to understand the demographic of graduates or dropouts or whatever else it is you are looking for, then why the skewed categories? Why does having pale skin make the distinctions of my heritage of less interest than anyone else's?
I threw the letters away. Mostly because I was cleaning off the table and I really didn't care to sort the letters out from the rest of the junk mail. 
I've received two reminder calls in a week to return them.  It's almost Orwellian.
Someone enlighten me, please…

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4 responses to “Junk Mail

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