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.

Archive for the ‘Minorities’ Category

MyTwoCensus Investigation: Dumb Decision # 7485839: Translation Services Contract Expired August 31, 2009

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Though the mainstream media hasn’t picked up on it, Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves acknowledged at the Google Press Conference on March 24 that there have been translation errors during the 2010 Census process (see below transript).

I went so far as to have experts from Cornell and MIT prove that the Burmese translations were wrong. I also filed a FOIA request to find out about the 2010 Census translation contract with Diplomatic Language Services, a firm based in Virginia. Yesterday, the Census Bureau gave me a partial reply to my Freedom of Information Act request. In this document (click here for the full FOIA translation services response), I learned that the Census Bureau’s language translation contract ended on August 31, 2009. Now, this is extremely problematic because this did not leave time for all 2010 Census language issues to be resolved. What this document lacks is one key feature: The price tag for these (sub-par) services. The document makes it clear how much money it costs per word for translations yet in never makes mention of the total amount of money paid to Diplomatic Language Services. t I inquired today with the FOIA officials to determine what this figure is. Stay tuned for updates!

2010 Census Questions for Cesar Conde, head of Univision Networks

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

The following interview is courtesy of the LA Times:

What does this year’s census mean to Latinos and Univision?

The 2010 census is going to go down in history as the census of the Latinos. We have the opportunity as a country to really embrace the fact that we are moving to a multiethnic society. That is one of the strengths of our country today. We as a company, and we as a community, are very excited by that.

How did the 2000 census change Univision’s business?

It helped us to begin to have more conversations with organizations that were starting to realize the role that this community would play across all aspects of our country — social, economic, political and cultural — through the coming years and decades.

Fast-forward to this coming census in 2010, and I think it’s going to be a big wake-up call. What will surprise people is the exponential growth of the Latino community, coming off of an already big and growing base. Second, we are going to begin to see growth in the Hispanic market in parts of our country that people don’t necessarily expect. To see the growth of the Latino population in Los Angeles, Miami and New York is wonderful but somewhat expected. You are going to see more growth in geographic pockets, places that people don’t intuitively think of as part of the Hispanic community.

How great is the fear that Spanish speakers and other immigrants might not recognize the importance of the census form?

This is why we have become so proactive in ensuring that we communicate to our community how important the census is. We have to communicate what is the benefit, what is the value, of filling out this census not only for themselves as individuals but also for their local communities, and our community. Univision is in a unique position because of our unique connection and relationship that we have with Hispanics.

How do you reassure people that filling out a government form will not invite problems?

Confidentiality is a big issue in the census. We tried to pick our most trustworthy talent on Univision to speak about the importance of this issue, putting our most trusted voices out there to become the face of the “Ya Es Hora” campaign.

[Univision news anchor] Maria Elena Salinas is our primary spokesperson. She and the others talk about why people can trust this process. We literally allocate material airtime to walk our audience by the hand through the process. We will be running this series of stories and public-service announcements through and past April 1 to address this concern and talk people through some of these issues that are, at the end of the day, important for them and beneficial for them.

Not only that, but an increasing Latino population benefits Univision.

Our mission here at Univision is to inform, entertain and empower. Most people can get their arms around the first two, informing and entertaining, because they are such a key part of what we do. That third one, empowerment, is sometimes a little more nebulous. This concept is that we need to make sure that we are working on the issues that most impact our community. We have this incredible privilege to have this leadership position and to have this unique relationship with our audience. And with that privilege comes a responsibility, one we take seriously.

2010 is a very big year for many Latinos and Univision. Which is more important: the World Cup or the census?

(Laughs.) It’s going to be telling Latinos how important it is to fill out the census during the World Cup.

Pepsi, Terra Team Up on Pepsi Yo Sumo Census 2010 Effort

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

H/t to David Cohen of Media Bestro for the following:

Pepsi Yo Sumo isn’t a new viral-video craze combining a soft drink and a large, scantily clad Japanese man. Rather, it’s an effort byPepsi and Latin Internet company Terra to encourage Hispanics in the United States to participate in Census 2010.

The viral campaign is aimed at second- and third-generation U.S. Hispanics, encouraging them to share stories and photos on the Web site, which will then be fed to Terra, which claims 3.5 million users in the country. A Pepsi Yo Sumo widget is being featured on Terra’s site.

Terra will also host user polls on the census, which Pepsi will sponsor via banner ads, and users can add the widget, built by New York-based Second Thought, to their social-networking pages.

Terra USA vice president of sales Jim McCabe said:

When it comes to 2010 Census participation, the Pepsi Yo Sumo campaign has the message and Terra has the audience. By bringing the two together, second- and third-generation U.S. Hispanics will show the world how many they are and how they’re changing the landscape of this country.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution Provides The Best 2010 Census Coverage of Any Mainstream Publication

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Yesterday I wrote that in general, the mainstream media has failed to report about 2010 Census issues. But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is an exception to this rule. The newspaper has consistently created insightful stories related to the decennial, and I commend them for their reporting. Here is one example:

Declare ‘Confederate Southern American’ on Census forms, group says

The Southern Legal Resource Center is calling on self-proclaimed “Confederates” to declare their heritage when they are counted in the 2010 Census.

The organization is urging Southerners to declare their “heritage and culture” by classifying themselves as “Confederate Southern Americans” on the line on the form, question No. 9, that asks for race. Check “other” and write “Confed Southern Am” on the line beside it, the group says on its Facebook page and on two YouTube videos.

“A significant number of Southerners identifying themselves as Confederate Southern Americans on the Census form could finally spell the beginning of the end for the discrimination that has been running rampant, especially for the last 20 years or so, against all things Confederate, and for that matter against Southern heritage and identity in general,” SLRC executive director Roger McCredie said in a written statement.

FYI: Stephen Robert Morse is a trained scholar of American history and MyTwoCensus.com condemns the above movement as a racist attempt to revise history and re-write the past. However, we still support in the right to freedom of expression and speech by all individuals.

Census forms in Spanish prove difficult to find

Friday, March 26th, 2010

The following report comes from JCOnline.com in Lafayette, Indiana:

By Curt Slyder

Mida Grover is the Hispanic/Latino liaison for Lafayette School Corp. It’s her job to reach out to families in the school district who speak Spanishbut might not speak English.

Since the U.S. Census Bureau recently began mailing 2010 census forms to people throughout the country, families she works with have been getting theirs — in English only.

That led several families to contact her, asking her what they could do ahead of the April 1 population count of all people in the United States.

“I’ve also alerted people in other buildings in the district to be prepared for people coming in there,” she said.

That concerns Lafayette City Clerk Cindy Murray, co-chairwoman of Tippecanoe County Complete Count Committee. “People don’t know where to go, what to do,” she said.

Though census forms are available in six languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian — finding out where to get a form in a language other than English has been a problem.

That is especially troubling, local officials have said, as they try to get as many people counted here as possible. Spanish-speaking households have been a particular target for the Complete Count Committee, as the community’s Hispanic estimated population has increased since the last census in 2000.

In Tippecanoe County, the Hispanic population grew from 7,834 in 2000 to 12,020 in 2008, according to U.S. Census estimates. That was a 53 percent increase. The Hispanic population is 7.3 percent of Tippecanoe County’s total, according to those estimates. That’s up from 5.3 percent in 2000.

Similar stories can be told about surrounding counties. In Clinton County, the estimated Hispanic population grew 89 percent between 2000 and 2008. In White County, it was up 39 percent. In Montgomery County, it was up 110 percent.

The federal census office mailed out forms based on data from the 2000 census, according to Jim Powell, office manager at the local U.S. Census Office in Market Square Shopping Center. His office oversees Tippecanoe and 16 other nearby counties.

(To continue reading click here.)

MyTwoCensus Investigation: 2010 Census Response Rates Lag Behind Response Rates From 2000

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Correction/Update:

1. I may have misheard Dr. Groves at the Wednesday Press conference when I wrote that he said 2010 response rates were as good as they were in 2000.

2. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that 2010 response rates are significantly WORSE than they were in 2000. My suspicions were also raised today when I learned that the response rate increased by 14% in one day. This means that some 25 million forms were processed in the past 24 hours, which is historically unheard of!

I apologize for any inaccuracies, but I stand behind the data and statistics that I am reporting, and furthermore, other than the one statement above, I stand by the rest of my claims. I was likely confused when I heard Dr. Groves say “We’re off to a pretty good start.”

Though we don’t have the full transcript yet (we will publish it here as soon as we get it), Census Director Robert M. Groves made claims at yesterday’s press conference that mail response rates for the 2010 Census were ahead of/on par with what they were in 2000. These claims are false for the following reasons…

According to Appendix F of this document from the 2000 Census, http://www.census.gov/pred/www/rpts/A.7.a.pdf, the mail return rate was at 42% ten days after the major questionnaire mailing period began on 3/13/2000. But in 2010, ten days after the process started on 3/15, the  participation rate is at only 20%. Here are screenshots from the 2000 report and from 2010Census.gov to check out the data:

Now, look at the mailback rate for 2010 on 3/25 (This year the mailing started on 3/15. In 2000 it started on 3/13.):

*ALSO, PLEASE  KEEP IN MIND THAT THE 2010 CENSUS FORM IS WAY SHORTER/EASIER TO COMPLETE THAN THE ONE FROM 2000!

Why are the mentally ill who live in group quarters participating in the standard 2010 Census enumeration rather than being enumerated during the Group Quarters Enumeration operation?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

The master address file at the Census Bureau should have identified the following locale as “Group Quarters.” Is this identification error happening at other facilities for the mentally ill around the country as well? Will this lead to many individuals being double-counted?  Check out this brief from Channel3000.com:

MADISON, Wis. — In many mailboxes around the country, the 2010 U.S. Census forms have arrived. The forms are being mailed to every household in the nation.Although the census is vitally important for many reasons, some folks are afraid to be counted. Burgess Brown helps run Safe Haven, a facility that gives people in Madison with mental illnesses a temporary place to stay.He said the relationships that his staff have developed with the guests is key to getting patients feeling comfortable about being counted.”A lot of people have diagnoses that make them skeptical of answering certain questions,” said Brown. “A lot of them will need to be coached through and reassured that what they are filling out is not someone prying into their personal past or history.”

Why is the South lagging behind? — and other questions about response rates and the 2010 Census mapping tool.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I’m hoping Nate Silver or another quantitative/statistical genius (other than Census Director Robert M. Groves) can provide me with  details about the current participation rates for the 2010 Census (updated Monday-Friday by the Census Bureau). Some key questions I hope to ask Dr. Groves at his press conference later today:

1. How do these rates compare with mail response rates for this time of year during the 2000 Census?

2. From my casual observations, it appears that the South is lagging behind in 2010 Census response rates. Does that this mean there will be a shift of more workers to this region? (And actually, does this mean that more taxpayer money will be infused into regions that DON’T participate in the 2010 Census initially, so more workers will physically knock on every door in these places, and thus raise the amount of cash generated for workers in such areas?)

3. IT Question Why the heck does my computer, which rarely ever experiences problems, freeze when I try to zoom in to check out Census Data? Come on Census Bureau, get your act together with your technology!

4. Should states or counties with low mail response rates be punished in some way (such as by withholding funds in the future), as it will be more costly to run more extensive non response follow up operations in these areas?

5. Why are areas of the map of the US (at the local level) blank in some instances?

6. Why can’t view the response rate for a particular town or city in all situations — and sometimes only one part of a city or town?

7. Why is it impossible for the common man (me!) with some statistical knowledge to understand what the data in the “Download Today’s Data” means — particularly because we don’t know what each of the “regions” stands for?

8. Why has the Census Bureau created such an incomprehensible explaination on their web site to explain the difference between mail response rate and mail participation rate?

The US Census Bureau Falls Short In Paying Contractors, Says GA1 Marketing Firm

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

WASHINGTON, March 23 /PRNewswire/ — Global Advertising 1st (GA1), an award-winning integrated marketing solutions firm, was chosen to meet the US Census Bureau’s increasing needs to recruit applicants for temporary positions necessary to conduct the decennial Census in 2010.

In August of 2009, the US Census Bureau contracted GA1 to handle recruitment advertising in the Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, Kansas City, and Charlotte regions. The campaigns launched during the peak recruiting phase of the 2010 Census, which fell between late 2009 and continues through April 2010.

Although, the efforts of the recruitment campaign have been an overall success, with some regions having a surplus of applicants, the small business agency still has not been paid. The US Census owes GA1 several millions to date and the company has received less than $2,000.00.

“In this economy, it is unfathomable to ask any business, especially one of our size to execute such a major campaign and work six months for free,” says Derrick Hollie, president and CEO of GA1. “GA1 has been caught up in the Census’ red tape and bureaucracy which has resulted in major delays in payment to our firm.”

With an initiative as large as the US Census and the holdup of payment for services rendered, it is impossible for any businesses to survive.  GA1 has continued to extend themselves to this government client despite effects to their credit line and that cannot go on forever.

GA1 was excited to be a part of such an important initiative mandated by the US government, and the agency is prepared to make the 2010 Census a huge success. However, GA1 never thought receiving compensation for work completed would be such an issue.

About GA1:

Global Advertising 1st (GA1) is an award-winning minority-owned, full-service marketing solutions firm that specializes in providing innovative approaches to disseminating our clients’ messages. GA1 has created and implemented campaigns for clients such as the US Department of Education, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Gillette, Dodge, the US Department of State and American Lung Association of DC, and the 2010 US Census. GA1 holds a GSA AIMS Schedule 541 and does the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a qualified minority-owned business for government media placement certify 8(a). GA1 has also received multiple state and local authorities. For a complete list of our certifications and awards please visit: www.globalad1.com.

Update: Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner sent me the following response to this post:

We are required by law to adhere to federal accounting and financial guidelines, policies and standards to ensure the appropriate use of public funds.  The U.S. Census Bureau promptly pays invoices properly submitted by contractors as long as the information presented in the invoice is correct and is accompanied by the legally required supporting documentation.

In the case of Global Advertising, as of March 25, 2010, the Census Bureau has paid Global Advertising for every invoice properly submitted and accepted. Because they are a small business, we have gone the extra mile and Census Bureau staff personally assisted the company’s employees to prepare their invoices and speed the invoicing process so they can be paid for work performed in an efficient manner.  We deeply regret that the President of Global Advertising did not disclose the extraordinary effort our staff have provided to his company to help them with contract compliance. The Census Bureau values the work of our contractors and will do all that we can to make the invoicing process as smooth as possible, at the same time we are careful stewards of the taxpayers funds.

Update: Errors in Burmese Translations

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

On March 8, MyTwoCensus posted a story that explained that there were errors in the translations of the Burmese 2010 Census documents  — and documents translated into other languages as well.

Burmese scholars Julian Wheatley of MIT and San San Hnin Tun of Cornell University took the time to correct the errors and re-translate the Burmese documents. The major mistakes are addressed here on the corrected Burmese translation of the 2010 Census form that the two professors created. (There are also questions of standard vs non-standard spellings and some usage changes that the pair has observed, but did not incorporate into the final product, as these are not true errors.)

Perhaps if the Census Bureau consulted experts in the way that I did, these translation errors would have never occurred in the first place.

Fact-Checking “20 Million” People Checked American On The 2000 Census

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

As MyTwoCensus suspected, 20 million people did NOT check “American” as their race on the 2000 Census form. The folks who claimed this  were mistaken. In 2000, 20 million people checked “American” as their ancestry. Here’s the full official response to our inquiry from the Census Bureau:

The data you are referring to (20 million “American” responses) come from
the Census 2000 question on Ancestry, not the race question or the Hispanic
origin question.  ”Ancestry” is a different question and concept from race
and Hispanic origin, and is collected in a different manner (open ended
question; sample of the population).

Ancestry refers to ethnic origin, descent, roots, heritage, or place of
birth of the person or the person’s ancestors.  The question on Ancestry
was not intended to measure the respondent’s degree of attachment to a
particular group, but simply to establish that the respondent had a
connection to and self-identified with a particular ethnic group.  The
American Community Survey’s ancestry question separately identifies and
publishes estimates of the population who identify as solely “American,”
and this information is available annual basis.

The Census 2000 report, “Ancestry: 2000″ <
www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/c2kbr-35.pdf> contains the following
information (page 3) –

Seven percent of the U.S. population reported their ancestry as American.
The number who reported American and no other ancestry increased from 12.4
million in 1990 to 20.2 million in 2000, the largest numerical growth of
any group during the 1990s (Footnote: American was considered a valid
ancestry response when it was the only ancestry provided by a respondent.).
This figure represents an increase of 63 percent, as the proportion rose
from 5.0 percent to 7.2 percent of the population.

So again, the 20 million “American” responses come from the question on
Ancestry, not the race question or the Hispanic origin question, and
“ancestry” is a different concept from race and Hispanic origin.

Do Spanish speakers get an extra month to complete their forms?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

UPDATE: All BE COUNTED forms, intended for people may not have received 2010 Census forms when they were supposed to, are to be returned by May 1, regardless of what language the forms have been printed in. Thanks to our readers for clarifying.

H/t to Denise Poon who created last week’s article series for Spot.us for bringing the following to my attention:

Census Day is undoubtedly April 1, 2010…so why does this 2010 Census form tell Spanish-speakers that they have until May 1 to return it? Was this a printing error? A translation error? An operational error? A double standard? MyTwoCensus has contacted the Census Bureau about this case and hopes to hear an answer very soon.

Spot.us & MyTwoCensus.com Team Up…

Friday, March 19th, 2010

As an independent journalist, I am aware of how difficult it can be to earn money from reporting, as newspapers and magazines continue to hit new financial lows. Fortunately, sites like Spot.us are using innovative methods to finance journalism. I recently volunteered as a peer review editor to assist journalist Denise Poon who is writing stories about the 2010 Census for Spot.us. The following two stories, about multi-racial reporting and hard-to-count communities in California, are the the products of this collaboration:

The Census on Multiracial IDs

The Census Search for Hard To Count Communities

Justice Department Says: Patriot Act Does Not Override Privacy of Census Information

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The following is a story from Feet In 2 Worlds, an pro-immigration reform organization:

By Diego Graglia

In a new attempt to reassure undocumented immigrants that taking part in the 2010 Census is safe and that the Census Bureau will not share information with other government agencies, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D.-N.Y.) obtained a letter from the Department of Justice stating that the confidentiality of the count is not superseded by the Patriot Act.

Velázquez sent two letters to the agency in September and December last year, asking what effect the anti-terrorism bill could have on the confidentiality protections the Census Act provides.

“Your letters express concern on the part of some members of the public that information-gathering or information-sharing provisions of the Patriot Act may override the confidentiality requirements of the Census Act so as to require the Commerce Secretary to disclose otherwise covered census information to federal law enforcement or national security officials,” wrote assistant attorney general Ronald Weich in a response dated March 3, 2010.

Weich then went on to say that the precedents in federal legislation which protect census participants’ information from disclosure support “the view that if Congress intended to override these protections if would say so clearly and explicitly.”

No provision of the Patriot Act, he added, contradicts that view.

At the same time, a different letter, this one part of a signature-gathering campaign, showed that efforts to distance the Census campaign from the stronger enforcement of immigration laws of the last few years have not been 100% successful.

The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights wants support for its request of a “suspension of immigration enforcement activities in order to maximize immigrant community participation” in the Census.

Immigrant advocates have expressed concerns that undocumented foreigners won’t participate in the Census out of fear of government officials.

NNIRR notes in the letter that “in the past two census periods, during 1990 and 2000, many operations were suspended for specific periods,” but it also acknowledges that the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security “have thus far not indicated that they will take any steps.”

The Feet in Two Worlds project on the Census is made possible thanks to the generous support of the 2010 Census Outreach Initiative Fund at The New York Community Trust.

Federal Census officials get an earful from local community leaders

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

H/t to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Associated Press for the following:

Days after U.S. Census forms began hitting mailboxes, local religious and government leaders are sounding alarms that St. Louisans will be undercounted thanks to wasteful efforts and poor planning.

The criticism came at a roundtable hosted by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, part of the federal government’s push to encourage community leaders to promote the decennial head count and get residents to return census forms.

At Wednesday’s roundtable, Josh Wiese, an aide to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, complained that the census was using “a cookie-cutter” approach to counting that wouldn’t work in “high-crime, low-education” areas the same way it works in the suburbs.

“If this isn’t done right, we’ll certainly hold the Census Bureau accountable,” Wiese told Cedric Grant, director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships program, representing the Census Bureau’s parent agency.

Evan Armstrong, of the St. Louis-based International Institute, said he was frustrated that U.S. citizens are given preference for census field work, even if they don’t speak the language of the refugee or immigrant groups they will be counting.

Both Wiese and St. Louis County planning manager Lori Fiegel brought up the challenges of counting the city’s large Bosnian population. Fiegel said her office had been promised a Bosnian liaison, which never materialized. When a census official said the liaison had, indeed, been provided, Fiegel said no one had told her office about it.

“The Bosnian community is afraid of the government, afraid of the government, afraid of the government,” Wiese said. “Then, on April 1, they’re supposed to trust the government before going back to being afraid of the government again the next day.”

William Siedhoff, director of the St. Louis Department of Human Services, said the city’s own annual census of its homeless population, completed in January, would have to be repeated by census workers because the bureau didn’t respond to the city’s suggestion to partner on the January effort.

David Newburger, from the city’s office on the disabled, said data provided by the bureau to help reach the city’s disabled citizens were not specific enough and should include street names. Grant said privacy issues prevented that specificity.

The contentious atmosphere at the roundtable “was based on past experience and the anticipation that undercounts are going to happen again,” Siedhoff said after the meeting.

Dennis Johnson, the bureau’s regional director, defended the census in an interview, saying the effort could not succeed without community partners.

“Someone looking for the federal government to provide all the tools is not going to reach every corner of the community,” Johnson said. “But working through partners who already have outreach systems is one of the most effective communications vehicles the census has.”

Local complaints mirror national ones. Last year, a string of independent reports from the Government Accountability Office and others found mismanagement and troubling computer failures at the Census Bureau. (more…)

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Census Bureau, GlobalHue, and NNPA should all be held accountable…

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

On March 12, allegations surfaced that GlobalHue (the agency hired by the government to coordinate the 2010 Census advertising campaign for minority-focused media organizations) required that the National Newspaper Publishers Association (a coalition of African-American newspapers that GlobalHue purchased Census Bureau advertising space from) would each write a series of six articles and two editorials about the 2010 Census. If the already struggling newspapers didn’t publish the articles and editorials, they were in jeopardy of losing these vital advertising dollars. To make this concept more abstract, this is an example of government-supported coercion, as trading editorial content for money leads to the spreading of pro-government propaganda, a system that has no place within American democracy or the American media.

Angela Spencer Ford, a representative of GlobalHue said, “With regard to added value from the Black newspapers, in a proposal dated 12/31/2009, the NNPA recommended that GlobalHue request participating Black newspapers promise the following:

“In lieu of free advertising added value, I recommend we ask all participating newspapers to promise to run, during the paid advertising campaign, at least 6 news articles and 2 editorials stressing the important of completing the 2010 Census. African American/Black readers believe in the Black Press. African American/Black readers have been guided by and represented by the Black Press for more than 100 years. The combination of paid advertising and the Black Press endorsement will have great success in increasing the completion ratio.”

GlobalHue accepted the NNPA’s added-value recommendations and issued insertion orders to all newspapers accordingly.  The added value guidelines as recommended by the NNPA led to concerns by a few representatives of the Black newspaper community.”

Though it is necessary to state that individual black newspapers were not responsible for the ad choices that the NNPA made, it is completely unethical that Danny Bakewell, publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and head of the NNPA, was complicit in these actions. He should now be held accountable for putting finances above journalistic integrity.

Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner responded, “The National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) was actually hired by DFCB [the lead advertising agency for the 2010 Census] and the Census Bureau last year to handle Black/African American newspaper media buys.  The request for their members to provide the Census Bureau with added value originated with NNPA, which was paid $195,000 as one of the two contracted media buyers for the Black audience.  In fact, all of the more than 3,800 media outlets selected in the 2010 Census advertising buy were asked to provide added value, which is a standard industry practice.”

At no point does Buckner consider the difference between “added value” and paid editorial content.

Sadly, this situation is not unique. Ten years ago, a Salon.com investigative report led to the discovery that the White House was covertly financing anti-drug messages that appeared on all of the major television networks. As Daniel Forbes reported in 2001, “Two years ago, Congress inadvertently created an enormous financial incentive for TV programmers to push anti-drug messages in their plots — as much as $25 million in the past year and a half, with the promise of even more to come in the future. Under the sway of the office of President Clinton’s drug czar, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, some of America’s most popular shows — including “ER,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Chicago Hope,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “7th Heaven” — have filled their episodes with anti-drug pitches to cash in on a complex government advertising subsidy.”

That the Census Bureau had no qualms in permitting similar actions, albeit not reaching as large of an audience as those who were affected by the 2000 scandal, is both ludicrous and deceptive. In this instance, the Census Bureau has not only refused to admit wrongdoing in this situation; Buckner even attempted to justify these actions. Those who should be most upset about this situation are the readers of black newspapers. Unfortunately, these individuals are most likely unaware that the content they are reading is influenced by goals of the US Census Bureau and GlobalHue, as well as the financial interests of the NNPA.

While the overall message that the black newspapers are sending when they publish articles that promote the 2010 Census is good, because the organizations are bound to an advertising/editorial content contract, it is unlikely that they will be able to cover any problems with the 2010 Census – ranging from vague employee hiring practices to mailings not reaching the proper addresses to poor turnouts at Census Bureau sponsored events. The failure of the black press to report on the negative aspects of 2010 Census operations is detrimental not only to each publication’s credibility, but to the role of journalism in American democracy as a whole.

Official response from GlobalHue…

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Here’s the official response from GlobalHue, answering allegations that were made last week:

March 15, 2010

Contact: Angela Spencer Ford

GlobalHue’s Statement Regarding NNPA Allegations

GlobalHue has long respected the Black Newspapers and their value to the Black community. We are however concerned about the recent allegations from some members of the National Newspaper Publisher Association (NNPA) – also referred to as the Black Press – which was subcontracted by GlobalHue to negotiate and execute all Black newspaper buys for the 2010 Census.

In 2009, following a competitive selection process, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) was selected to manage the Black newspaper buy. The NNPA is headed by Mr. Danny Bakewell, publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel. The NNPA was selected as a subcontractor because of their extensive knowledge about the Black newspaper business.  The NNPA is receiving payment for their services, and Mr. Bakewell is one of two NNPA subcontractors actually conducting the work on behalf of the Census Bureau.

In close consultation with GlobalHue, NNPA conducted negotiations with media properties for ad placements.  NNPA also made recommendations to GlobalHue on what the terms of the agreement with the media vendors should be. One of the items in the negotiations was the added value the media vendors would offer.  All of the more than 3,800 media vendors participating in the 2010 Census media buy were asked to provide added value.  This is a standard industry practice and an important factor in informing the public about the Census.

With regard to added value from the Black newspapers, in a proposal dated 12/31/2009, NNPA recommended that GlobalHue request participating Black newspapers promise the following:

“In lieu of free advertising added value, I recommend we ask all participating newspapers to promise to run, during the paid advertising campaign, at least 6 news articles and 2 editorials stressing the important of completing the 2010 Census. African American/Black readers believe in the Black Press. African American/Black readers have been guided by and represented by the Black Press for more than 100 years. The combination of paid advertising and the Black Press endorsement will have great success in increasing the completion ratio.”

GlobalHue accepted the NNPA’s added-value recommendations and issued insertion orders to all newspapers accordingly.  The added value guidelines as recommended by the NNPA led to concerns by a few representatives of the Black newspaper community.

In response, GlobalHue amended the value added guidelines and new insertion orders were submitted to all of the newspapers that received the original insertion order.  While the new insertion order asked that every paper make an effort to include articles/editorial pieces about the 2010 Census, it also made it clear there was no quid pro quo for advertising buy.

Of the $23 million Black Audience paid media plan, Black newspapers are receiving 11 percent of the ad dollars for this audience. At this time, 173 African American, African, Caribbean and Haitian newspapers in 64 markets across the country are being engaged in the buy.

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The Multiracial Debate

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

H/t to the Chicago Tribune for producing a lengthy piece of journalism:

By Oscar Avila, Dahleen Glanton,

Look in the mirror and what do you see?

When the census form arrives in mailboxes this week, the complex answers to that question will help paint America’s evolving portrait, with repercussions for a decade and beyond.

For most people, the census will be a simple 10-minute process. For others in this nation of Barack Obama, Jessica Alba, Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, Apolo Ohno and Joakim Noah , questions of mixed race and ethnicity will prompt soul-searching over how to categorize themselves among a small but growing minority in the national fabric.

The census is a montage of self-portraits that will detail the ways a nation of nearly 309 million has changed since 2000, including migration, family size and housing patterns. While that data is easier to quantify, critics say a rote list of boxes and checkmarks can’t adequately reflect all the racial and ethnic transformations.

On Chicago’s South Side, the daughter of a black father and white mother will check both. Her brother will check black. Their children will write in “mixed” or “biracial.”

A Brazilian immigrant will mark a box that says Hispanic, though she doesn’t accept the label. A woman from Jordan won’t check Asian, though she is. A man born to a Japanese mother and white father considers himself white only at census time.

Another respondent may check four racial boxes like the multi-ethnic Woods, who invented his own identifier: “cablinasian,” a mix of Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian. Obama jokingly labeled himself a “mutt,” but he won’t find that box on the form.

Some bemoan the absence of a separate “multiracial” box to check. And beyond race and ethnicity, the form won’t account for the principal factor by which many Americans identify themselves: There is no category for sexual orientation, so some gay activists plan to protest by affixing pink stickers on the envelope.

“The lesson is that, like reality, like our lives, census data are messy,” said Jorge Chapa, a University of Illinois professor who has consulted for the Census Bureau. “But the messiness does reflect the growing diversity and our complexity as a people. It’s closer to the truth.”

Over the years, the census form has changed to reflect racial realities. A historic switch for the 2000 census allowed Americans to click more than one category, meaning that the son of a Kenyan father and a white woman from Kansas can now officially be both races. About 6.8 million Americans, 2.4 percent of the population, checked more than one racial box.

A Brookings Institution survey has shown a doubling of mixed-race marriages over the last two decades. A Pew Research Center report last month documented that younger generations were far more tolerant of racial mixing than their elders.

People who mark more than one race box are not counted more than once in the overall population tally. But they would add one additional person to each racial category they choose.

Susan Graham, executive director of California-based Project RACE, which advocates for multiracial families, said a hodgepodge of individual boxes is not sufficient to describe her children. She is white and was married to an African-American, and their children have a singular identity as multiracial American.

“The term ‘multiracial,’ we believe, is important and should be on the form. Words are important,” Graham said.

Researchers have found that people’s self-identities can be fluid: Over the course of their lives, they can more strongly identify with various parts of their ancestry at different times.

Kenneth Prewitt, who directed the 2000 census, said some civil-rights groups have resisted the concept of checking more than one race out of fear that it will dilute their influence.

Prewitt said the “Hispanic” term, one used mainly in the U.S., is especially confusing. The term, which the Census Bureau first used in 1980, describes an ethnicity pertaining to Spain but can include white, black and other races. He would include one catch-all category merging Hispanics with other race identifiers, or eliminate all boxes and have everyone write in their preferred identities.

(to continue reading this article click HERE)

The 2010 Census takes to YouTube for a last-minute push…

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Propaganda Minister Census Director Robert M. Groves pleads for your participation…

Counting Arabs In The 2010 Census

Friday, March 12th, 2010

New America Media has an interesting new article about counting Arab-Americans. Here’s a highlight (for full article click HERE):

According to the 2000 Census, the number of Arabs living in the United States was 1.25 million, a figure that many involved in this initiative believe is inaccurate, since Arabs traditionally have larger families than other ethnic groups in the United States. The Arab American Institute estimates the national population to be more than 3.5 million. Community activists say both numbers are too low.

One reason for the undercount, Qutami said, is that without a box to check Arabs write in a variety of terms – for example, Middle-Eastern, Arab-American or Palestinian — on the Census questionnaire, and the numbers get stratified.