Civil Liberties

Coloring America


The Office of Management and Budget has cleared up one big census confusion: Government bureaucrats will determine your race. People who check off more than one racial group on census forms will be assigned to one category for the purpose of monitoring discrimination and enforcing civil rights laws. And anyone who checks both "white" and a minority designation will be counted as a minority when the feds pore over the census data to help enforce the Voting Rights Act, job bias rules, and other racial bean-counting laws.

The OMB had to make this ruling for government agencies because of differences in census data sets. The problem is that the census forms individuals receive allow 63 possible race categories, while schools, employers, and other institutions can report only about a dozen categories. So there will obviously have to be some mix-and-match when is comes time to look for "patterns" of discrimination.