My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Historical Retrospective: Michele Bachmann Has A Point…

Yesterday, I wrote a piece for Mother Jones that elaborated on my original post about Michele Bachmann. It is important to note that the Census Bureau DID give private data to the Roosevelt Administration during World War II. However, what Bachmann failed to recognize is that in 2004, many Arab-American groups protested the Census Bureau’s decision in the post-9/11 political climate to hand over Arab-American demographic data to the Department of Homeland Security:

Rep. Michele Bachmann Cites War-Time Internments in Her Crusade Against 2010 Census

— By Stephen Robert Morse | Thu June 25, 2009 12:13 PM PST
—Photo from Flickr user the Original Jeff Martin under Creative Commons

Just days after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) told the world (or at least whoever reads The Washington Times) that she would not be completing her 2010 Census questionnaire in its entirety, she has decided to cite as rationale incidents from World War II, when the Census Bureau released confidential information to the Roosevelt administration to aid the government’s effort to round up Japanese-Americans into internment camps.

Yes, the Census Bureau committed a major error during the 1940s. One assumes that such egregious offenses and violations of personal privacy wouldn’t occur today. Right?

A better argument for Bachmann to make would have been to cite the Census Bureau’s disclosure of Arab-Americans’ demographic data to the Department of Homeland Security in the post-9/11 era (Wouldn’t that be a great coalition: The Arab American Institute Foundation, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Rep. Michele Bachmann?)

As if the 2010 Census didn’t already have enough problems of its own, the continued politicization of this process will only be a greater detriment to the American people.

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