Thursday, September 9, 2010

Race and Ethnicity

Reading Rehman Rashid made me wonder what this term/phrase really means. It's on Census forms and various other official and school documents for K1 and K2. In the US I would fill in Asian and when working with public use data I've seen Filipino or even Malaysian as a race/ethnicity usually in the 'Other' category.

Curiously, in Malaysia where this question is always mandatory in all official forms (including religion!) I would have filled in Chinese. So race/ethnicity is relative to where we are, but does where we are define who we are, and does it also define who we are supposed to be as well what our roles are depending on where we are? Or is this question just another useless item on a questionnaire?

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