As I See It: Stop Massachusetts from creating an unconstitutional ‘Asian Registry’

A controversial Massachusetts bill, the Asian Data Disaggregation Act (H.3361), is under consideration by the state legislature. If enacted, it would require “all state agencies, quasi-state agencies, entities created by state statute and sub-divisions of state agencies” to identify Asian American, and only Asian American, people based on their country of origin or ancestry.

The bill is a senseless approach to a sensitive issue. In fact, it will essentially create an Asian Registry and has many unintended consequences.

H.3361 is a form of racial profiling because it singles out Asian Americans, down to their nationality even if they are born in the United States. Disaggregation means separating something into its component parts. No matter the intent, the outcome is obvious. Not only the first generation of immigrants, born in a foreign country, need to identify themselves by their country of origin, but also their children who were born in the U.S. and their children’s children by the country of origin of their ancestors. Theoretically, there’s no end to the generations this could affect.

First, let’s look no further than America’s own history. The hyphenated American was a commonly used term from 1890 to 1920 to disparage Americans of foreign heritage. President Theodore Roosevelt was an outspoken anti-hyphenate. And he said “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.” And he continued, “The one absolute certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.” Under the proposed bill, there will be many hyphenated Americans with Asian heritage, boxes for Chinese-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, Indian-Americans, Cambodian-Americans and Korean-Americans, etc.

Second, to be perfectly clear, H.3361 is not a form of census because the U.S. Census requires all races and ethnicities to be classified and surveyed, not just Asian American. Moreover, the U.S. census is granted by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution and administered by the U.S. Census Bureau, under very strict data collection, data security and privacy rules and regulations. More important, H.3361 is not a scientific method of collecting data. Census data is gathered by one federal agency at one given time through a single standard census form. It’s a snapshot of the entire population at a point in time. But under H.3361, the racial, ethnic or ancestry data would be collected by many different agencies at many times using many different data entry points, which will result in redundant effort, data overlap, double counting, as well as vast data tabulation, normalization, correlation, reconciliation, consolidation and cleansing issues. It is an unscientific as well as imprudent way of collecting sensitive personal data.

Potentially, the disparate datasets from different agencies could be unreliable, inaccurate and unusable for policymaking due to its flawed data collection method. It is a waste of taxpayers’ money, and a waste of the state funding and resources.

Third, the mental and psychological impact on hundreds of thousands of Asian immigrants and their children can’t be underestimated. Many Asian Americans are keenly aware of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, the long suspected hidden Asian quota in many top American colleges and universities which echoes the Jewish quota of 1920s, not to mention the Nazi concentration camps as well as the Jewish Registry created by Nazi Germany from 1939 ethnic data collection and which led to the identification, prosecution and ethnic cleansing of Jews. Since H.3361 was introduced, racial tensions, angers, resentments, anxieties, and fears among Asian communities have been running high. There were half a dozen protests and demonstrations held in the last 6 months by various Asian organizations and groups.

The bill also reinforces a perpetual foreigner mindset and stereotype. It would alienate many patriotic Asian Americans by reminding them of an Asian Registry. It would solidify discrimination and racism against Asian Americans, many of whom were born in this country. It’s a wrong approach. If we disaggregate Asian Americans, by the same logic, should we disaggregate European Americans into German American, Irish American, Italian American, Jewish American, or Scandinavian American, for instance? Should we disaggregate African Americans into Somalian American, Ethiopian American, Egyptian American, or Ghanaian American?

And what about people with parents from different countries, different racial or ethnic lines? How many boxes do they have to check? This is dividing, not uniting, our country.

The U.S. has racially and culturally progressed faster than some of our lawmakers’ abilities to comprehend. Interracial marriages and multiracial kids are quite common nowadays even if some lawmakers are still stuck in last century.

Ironically, the bill is sponsored by State Rep. Tackey Chan, D-Quincy. He and his supporters argue that having disaggregated data on Asian Americans could improve awareness of the needs of the different Asian populations, help target local and state funding and resources for underserved Asian minority subgroups. Some also claim that data collected on specific Asian American subgroups means distinctive medical and disease conditions can be identified, leading to appropriate and better diagnoses and treatments.

But H.3361 isn’t the solution. The better alternative is to provide social, financial, or language education assistance to anyone, especially the first generation of immigrants, based on an individual’s economic or linguistic needs regardless of one’s race or country of origin. There are socioeconomically disadvantaged families and kids across racial and ethnic lines from any country, all of whom need help. Fundamentally, such assistance should be need-based according to income level and language proficiency, not race or ethnicity.

As to the demographic data for research and diagnosis, many medical experts dismiss the notion that the differences between Asian subgroups are more statistically significant than the differences between European or African subgroups on a biological or genetic basis. The decennial U.S. Census data and estimates in-between provide better datasets for research and analysis. And there will be a fresh U.S. Census dataset in 2020, including statistics on all racial and ethnic groups.

Finally, the cost of H.3361 clearly outweighs any potential benefit. Selectively collecting data on racial and ethnic minority groups is culturally insensitive, morally objectionable and legally contentious. It’s unconstitutional. Why single out Asians? Can we do this to the Jews or Arabs? Where does this end? This kind of legislation continues the unfortunate path of identity politics, a losing cause for any individual or any group, and especially for this great state and our nation. Racial profiling or any form of identity politics does a disservice to our humanity. H.3361 needs to be stopped.

George Shen, of Newton, was born in China and is a naturalized citizen of the United States who has lived in Massachusetts more than 20 years. He is an associate partner at IBM, Cambridge, specializing in data analytics & Watson solutions. His technical papers on data management include “Big Data, Analytics and Elections” in Analytics Magazine, and the cover story,“Unplugged – The Disconnect of Intelligence and Analytics,” in Information Management Magazine.


来源:2017-06-16 硅谷华人 北美华人之声

亚裔细分法死灰未灭,不死心的种族主义者们又借欧巴马遗毒准备在2020年国家统计局人口统计上做文章,很多大腕都出手撰文支持各种细分。然后我们发现原来国家人口统计局长辞职了,继任他的会是谁呢?会是那个气象局副局长?去年底她刚刚调到人口统计局。大家惊栗地意识到她乃是迫害华裔科学家陈霞芬Sherry Chen的第一人。严重关注!

亚裔细分,在1988年,由民主党白人议员Floyd发起,但此后17年没有进展。直到刘云平2005年当上加州众议员之后,开始突飞猛进。在Ted Lieu(刘云平)Mike Eng(伍国庆)等人坚持不懈的努力下,整个亚裔细分计划,大跨步前进。到2016年的AB1726,差一点点就完成了亚裔细分之大业。

1989年 AB814 (Floyd)

民主党众议员Floyd将亚裔初步细分了11个族裔: Chinese,  Japanese,  Filipino,  Korean,  Vietnamese,  Asian Indian,  Laotian,  Cambodian. Hawaiian,  Guamanian,  Samoan,  此后17年亚裔细分一直没进展,直到刘云平2005年当上加州众议员之后,推动按种族“优惠”政策才有了显著成效。

2006年,AB2420(刘云平,赵美心等)在GC8013.5中, 又添加了Native Hawaiian,  Bangladeshi, Guamanian(Chamorro),Hmong,  Indonesian,  Malaysian,  Pakistani,  Sri Lankan, Taiwanese,  Fijian 10个族裔。即,21个细分亚裔族裔全部在GC8013.5 中。


2007年,AB295(刘云平,伍国庆等)   备注 *伍国庆是赵美心的老公

亚裔细分被拆到8310.5和8310.7中,并在8210.7内加上了细分用途(包括健康、就业、政府合同,要close the achievement gaps,即按种族AA健康、工作、政府合同等)。


2010年,AB1737(伍国庆, 刘云平)

相当于重新提交AB295。此外,在亚裔细分用途上,即8310.7中,偷偷加上了教育, 要close achievement gaps。至此,AB1737,里有全部的亚裔细分和细分用途。即:AB1737=AB1088+AB1726(初稿)


2011年,AB1088(伍国庆,刘云平)拿掉8310.7中的亚裔细分用途,只留亚裔细分(分别写在了8310.5 +8310.7中)。

2011年,民主党州长Jerry brown终于上任了。所以,此提案一路过关斩将,州长签字,通过了!


2015年 AB176(Bonta)2016年 AB1726(Bonta),两次尝试,就是要在8310.7中完成亚裔细分用途的添加。亚裔细分用途,曾经在AB1088中被拿掉,降低了提案被阻挠的机会。



2014年,民主党参议员Henandez在加州民主党雄踞绝大多数(>2/3)的大好形势下, 推出了急功近利的SCA5,旨在修改加州宪法,公立大学可以合法的用肤色因素来甄选学生。这下可好,撼动了加州公投的209宪法。


一招不成,再来一招,民主党的重要纲领identity politics一定要贯彻执行。



现在, 不死心的种族主义者们又借欧巴马遗毒准备在2020年国家统计局人口统计上做文章,很多大腕都出手撰文支持各种细分,很多以前推亚裔细分的组织,连署信都没改,直接上传原来支持亚裔细分的信件给国家统计局的征求意见栏,迫切要求登上这艘海盗船细分亚裔。详情请点击下文:



然后我们发现原来国家人口统计局长辞职了,继任他的会是谁呢?会是那个气象局副局长?去年底她刚刚调到人口统计局。大家惊栗地意识到她乃是迫害华裔科学家陈霞芬Sherry Chen的第一人。严重关注!请点击下面的阅读原文或Read More,直接进入链接,写信去联邦参议院与众议院表示抗议与关注。


来源: 2018-02-08 解滨 美国华人之声

您也许已经知道了我们反对亚裔细分取得重大胜利的消息,但您未必知道此时此刻有多少颗难以平静的心。 今天上午就得到了消息,直到现在仍然难以平静。 等了多少天,盼了多少天,奋战了多少天,挫折了多少次,加油了多少回,一直到今天,终于从反亚裔细分的最前线传来了这个振奋人心的大好消息:

这个决议判处了麻州亚裔细分法案H3361的死刑,让它胎死腹中,还没有出oversight committee就被“substituted”了! 麻州议会不可能对此提案进行表决了。 虽然搞了个委员会来探讨对美国所有的种族进行细分的可能性,但您知道,那个难度可能比登上火星还要大! 连一个种族都没法细分,居然打起细分所有种族的歪主意,笑话!

今天,我们全美各地成千上万的战友们和同胞们在奔走相告,在欢呼雀跃,欢庆我们这个来之不易的胜利!  虽然这只是一个州的胜利,但正如我在另一篇文章里所述,麻州这一战,犹如二战中的中途岛战役、斯大林格勒会战、不列颠战役战,将会对整个战争产生决定性的影响。 如果我们打赢了麻州这一战,那么今后的局势将朝着有利于我们的方向扭转,谁要是搞亚裔细分都将深思再三,权衡利弊,担心遇到另一个麻州式的滑铁卢。 如果我们失败了,那么今后反对亚裔细分的战役将越来越艰难。 细分法案会在一个接一个的州落地开花,我们可能疲于奔命也无法阻挡那股恶流。


是的,我们赢了! 这不是在做梦,也不是在夸大其词,赢了就是赢了!


麻州的反亚裔细分有组织的行动最早是从莱克星敦开始的。 去年三月份的时候,莱克星敦的一张地方问卷当中出现了把亚裔进行细分的情况,那里的中国人奋起抵制导致那个问卷被改写,去掉了体现出亚裔细分的问题,初战告捷。 去年7月,罗德岛亚裔细分法案通过,华人同胞再次组织起来、行动反对亚裔细分。 一个由美国各地的反对亚裔细分的联络和协调机制建立了起来。 各地反亚裔细分的同胞们很快对各个州的亚裔细分立法进行了普查,查出了有细分法案的几个州。 麻州的细分法案可能是全世界最短小的立法提案了,也是最简短的亚裔细分提案:

Bill H.3361

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any General Law or Special Law to the contrary, all state agencies, quasi-state agencies, entities created by state statute and sub-divisions of state agencies shall identify Asian American and Pacific Islanders as defined by the United States Census Bureau in all data collected as part any and all types of data collection, reporting or verification; provided further that, the five largest Asian American and Pacific Islander ethnic groups residing in the Commonwealth shall have individually reported data as part of the total Asian American Pacific Islander reporting.

那个微型法案在那之前就已经被华人知道,但由于一直没有动静,也就没有进行大的反对行动。 但是谁也没有想到,为了让这小小的一段文字成为废纸,麻州的华人同胞不知道花费了多少心血、勇气、努力和付出!




2017年8月27日,麻州的反亚裔细分勇士们举行了声势最为浩大的反对亚裔细分抗议示威和游行。 印度裔著名社会活动家、科学家Shiva 参加了这次行动并带领众人游行:

8月27日大游行之后,麻州的反亚裔细分行动进入了持久战、攻坚战和拉锯战的状态。 勇士们不辞辛苦,搜集了8000多个反对亚裔细分的签名,约谈了几乎所有的跟该提案有关联的议员。 无数个电话,无数个email,无数封信,把一份又一份反对亚裔细分的信息传达给议员们。

一转眼进入了2018年,终于H3361进入新立法提案审核委员会(Oversight Committee)的听证程序。  于是,那一天,公元2018年1月30日,麻州的反亚裔细分勇士们创造了美国华人前所未有的历史记录: 上千人涌向波士顿,600人的省府听证会大厅里,几乎被华人坐满了!

从听证会出来后,同胞们几乎是马不停蹄地继续向议员们表达我们的心声。 就在今天早晨,电话和email还在不停地涌向州议会。 就在上个星期六(2月3日,他们还在示威游行,两百多位勇士再一次冲上前线:

终于,hard working, dedication, and courage paid off, 我们赢了!


马萨诸塞州的反亚裔细分是全美反亚裔细分打的最艰苦、最惨烈的一个州。 虽然惨烈,但勇士们没有倒下,而是战斗到赢! 麻州这一场胜利,不但是反对亚裔细分的一个巨大的胜利,也将是我们在美国的华人维护自己权益的运动的分水岭。 在这之前,谁想弄个狗屁法案来讹我们一笔,我们要么忍气吞声地受着要么有气无力地反抗一点。 从今以后,麻州或任何一个州的政客们如果想要再把华人当作软柿子捏,他们就要三思了。我们会毫不犹豫地打回去!

麻州的反亚裔细分的勇士们用他们的行动和胜利告诉我们:我们在美国的华人从今以后真正地站起来了! 我们将不再接受任何欺辱我们的政策或立法提案。 我们将主宰我们的命运。 我们将和美国大地上每一个族裔一样被平等对待。

2016年2月,美国华人在30个城市举行了声势浩大的挺梁大游行,把梁案扳过来了。 创造了历史!


有所不同的是,挺梁是一场全国大游行。 而麻州反亚裔细分则是十几场大大小小的游行。 这场战役一开始是守卫战,渐渐转变成为拉锯战、后来战争局势越来越明朗,终于转化为攻坚战,以及1月30日的战略大反击,最后迎来今天的胜利!

麻州的反细分战役,锻炼和造就出来一批参政议政的先锋和领军人物,以及一大批战士。 这些人通过这一年的苦战,获得了宝贵的实战经验,知道了美国政治斗争的各个环节是如何打通的。从组织游行到征集请愿书签名,从游说政客到发表演讲,从分组合作到社交舆论,从推特到脸书,每个环节他们都做得有声有色。 这个抗争的力度强度以及深度都是美国华人政治参与中前所未有的。 这是一出生龙活虎的大戏,越来越精彩。


虽然这一战已经告捷,但麻州的勇士们并没有打算就此停手。 他们将把这一场胜利当作新的起点,广泛参政议政,积极参与当地的事物,踊跃投票。 他们将设法彻底堵住歧视华裔的所有途径。 他们将有新的起飞! 美国的华人被动挨打,只会反抗的日子很快就要结束了。 我们将变被动为主动,把握局势,掌握我们自己的命运!


来源: 2018-02-08 谢小编 北美华人之声












“还在等官方声明,但大局看来,麻州反细分是大获全胜了!感谢各方面长期坚定的战友们:跟议员谈话劝说,跟对方的“御用”学者们理论,接受媒体采访,抗议,理论研究,策略研究,还有很重要的:社交媒体的宣传战的胜利对于取胜非常关键。揭下细分高大上的画皮,揭露出里面的黑暗不堪和反移民效果,让他们再也不好意思高歌猛进,光芒万丈地通过亚裔细分!社交媒体是民主的基石!有几位特别坚定,投入无穷时间,精力,一直在各个方面网上网下孜孜不倦反细分的战友,特别感谢你们!You know who you are!谢谢各个群鼓励支持我们的声音。麻州的经验将被传到外州,帮他们反细分”。

“我们有个比较 ambitious 的梦想就是给阴暗邪恶强大的亚裔细分势力一个重挫!这个梦想鼓舞我们一心一意地坚持了下来!谢谢外州朋友一直的鼓气加油!”。



然后,该声明居然在最后出现这样的内容:对包括他本人以及Tacky Chan和Timilty主席受到反对者的恶毒攻击感到失望。对于是否有人对他们进行恶意的攻击,小编并不能确定,然而,小编能确定的是,支持亚裔细分的群体,公开对反对亚裔细分的群体进行了诽谤,甚至蔑称一些反对者是拿了钱才去抗议和出席听证会的。作为职业政客,这个Benson主席没有公平地对待法案的正反两方,令人遗憾。一位北加州网友在一个名为“全美反对亚裔细分”的群说得好,“这句话是她偏见、双重标准、不宽容、不成熟、不职业的佐证”。





“我们刚刚得到关于 bill H3361 的官方声明. 我们胜利了! 为了继续显示我们的力量,给对方以震慑,让我们再一次掀起电话email感谢信的浪潮吧。 请大家有礼貌的给committee member打电话 请在周一至周五 9AM- 4PM之间,给committee打电话 (chair最重要,member也尽量多打!)”。






[1] 紧急:请立即行动,分化亚裔,为推行种族法案埋伏笔的立法又来了!(谢小编等)!

[2] 我们该怎么办?亚裔细分法案AB1726被正式批准!(谢小编)!

[3] 罗德岛细分亚裔不遗余力,民主党到底意欲何为(狼崽)

[4] 亚裔细分惊现麻省,某华人协会是否充当急先锋引发争议(谢小编)

[5] 紧急,今夜,不要让莱克星顿的枪声变成黑枪,朋友们,反对亚裔细分,请行动!(谢小编)

[6] 反对亚裔细分,直击麻省华人的奋斗记录(Michael King, 李楠, 安平) 

[7] 10天之内3次集会抗议,波士顿华人民众创造奇迹

[8] 昏睡百年,华人渐已醒:波士顿华人朋友,今天我们再次为大家感到骄傲!(含海量图片)(谢小编)

[9] 这些华人比特朗普还令人震撼:迎风雪,战细分,坚持10多个小时,斗智斗勇,他们究竟在干吗?(谢小编)

[10] 波士顿华人再创历史,激情照亮华人参与大道:体制内途径寻求改变(谢小编)

[11] 别让我的身影太孤单:1月30日,即使我有一百个理由不去(blue iris友情提供)

[12] 2018年1月30日,麻省华人共创历史,宝贵经验在哪里?请听组织者的来信(laohu)

[13] 细分阴影笼罩全美,相关文章历史汇总,最完整,最齐全,从2016年3月第一篇开始!

[14] 亚裔细分呼啸而来,遭遇表格,我们要如何应对(波士顿妈妈)

[15] 加州一纸表格掀巨浪,台山人也被拉来档子弹,亚裔细分触目惊心(谢小编)

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Asian-American Data Collection Proposal Roils Massachusetts Residents

source: February 6, 2018 Evan Lips

BOSTON — Massachusetts lawmakers considering a bill that would direct state agencies to demand more specific nation-of-origin information from Asian-Americans will be running afoul of the United States Constitution’s Equal Protection clause, opponents of the proposal tell New Boston Post.

State Representative Tackey Chan’s (D-Quincy) legislation calls for “all state agencies, quasi-state agencies, entities created by state statute and sub-divisions of state agencies” to “identify Asian-American and Pacific Islanders as defined by the United States Census Bureau in all data collected,” in addition to gathering personal data on “the five largest Asian-American and Pacific Islander ethnic groups residing in the commonwealth.”

“I’m not a lawyer but I understand the Constitution,” George Shen, a Newton resident who specializes in data and analytics for IBM, said in an interview Monday. “The bill selectively collects data from racial group, one minority group, and you can’t just single out us Asians.”

Lei Zhao, a Newton-based attorney originally from China who has lived in the United States since 1994, said the proposal could lead to Fair Housing Act anti-discrimination complaints. She pointed to a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision that upheld a Superior Court ruling awarding a Venezuelan couple a lofty settlement after they filed a complaint with the Boston Fair Housing Commission after a real estate broker asked about the couple’s country-of-origin.

“This bill even calls for quasi-state agencies to collect that data,” she said. “That scares me.”

Chan, in testimony delivered to the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee last week, was quoted by State House News Service saying that Asians “should be able to identify ourselves to you as who we are, as opposed to having other people identify for us.”

“I promise you — not an Asian person, not a Chinese person, not a Japanese person — no one created the concept of Asian, it was kind of like created around us. I never heard it before in my childhood and into adulthood,” Chan said.

Backers of Chan’s bill have argued that census-style individualized boxes where Asians are separated, such as Chinese-Americans from Indian-Americans, would provide improved data sets. At last week’s hearing, which drew large crowds to the State House, Dr. Elisa Choi of Harvard Medical School  testified that breaking down the data by country would improve the health screening process.

Shen, however, argued that new disparate sets of data — collected by multiple state and quasi-state agencies — will lead to chaos.

“The U.S. Census Bureau gathers data under one agency, at one given time, and once every ten years,” he said. “They use one data entry point.

“If all these agencies start collecting data from many entry points it will result in a data overlap — triple-counting, tabulation problems — this is an unscientific and imprudent way of collecting very sensitive data.”

Swan Lee of Brookline agrees, and in an interview she added that the proposal could also create a “Southeast Asia versus East Asia narrative” in addition to fueling other divisions.
“What they [supporters of Chan’s legislation] really want is data with no privacy protection,” she added.

Shin said the proposal also serves as a reminder of old wounds, such as World War II-era Japanese internment camps and efforts to limit Chinese immigration.

Angie Tso of Acton told New Boston Post that while the bill “may have good intentions, it is still unconstitutional.”

“It treats one party different from the other parties,” she added. “That’s the very definition of discrimination.

“If I am Latino, or any other non-Asian-American, how would I feel if this were happening to me?”

According to the State House News Service account of last week’s packed hearing inside Gardner Auditorium, opponents of Chan’s legislation, toting signs denouncing the bill, vastly outnumbered supporters. The report noted that opponents teamed up to conduct loud coughing fits while Chan was testifying.

The bill has yet to receive a recommendation from the committee.

Confirmed: The U.S. Census Bureau Gave Up Names of Japanese-Americans in WW II

source: JR Minkel on March 30, 2007

Government documents show that the agency handed over names and addresses to the Secret Service

Confirmed: The U.S. Census Bureau Gave Up Names of Japanese-Americans in WW II

Despite decades of denials, government records confirm that the U.S. Census Bureau provided the U.S. Secret Service with names and addresses of Japanese-Americans during World War II.The Census Bureau surveys the population every decade with detailed questionnaires but is barred by law from revealing data that could be linked to specific individuals. The Second War Powers Act of 1942 temporarily repealed that protection to assist in the roundup of Japanese-Americans for imprisonment in internment camps in California and six other states during the war. The Bureau previously has acknowledged that it provided neighborhood information on Japanese-Americans for that purpose, but it has maintained that it never provided “microdata,” meaning names and specific information about them, to other agencies.

A new study of U.S. Department of Commerce documents now shows that the Census Bureau complied with an August 4, 1943, request by Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau for the names and locations of all people of Japanese ancestry in the Washington, D.C., area, according to historian Margo Anderson of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and statistician William Seltzer of Fordham University in New York City. The records, however, do not indicate that the Bureau was asked for or divulged such information for Japanese-Americans in other parts of the country.

Anderson and Seltzer discovered in 2000 that the Census Bureau released block-by-block data during WW II that alerted officials to neighborhoods in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Arkansas where Japanese-Americans were living. “We had suggestive but not very conclusive evidence that they had also provided microdata for surveillance,” Anderson says.

The Census Bureau had no records of such action, so the researchers turned to the records of the chief clerk of the Commerce Department, which received and had the authority to authorize interagency requests for census data under the Second War Powers Act. Anderson and Seltzer discovered copies of a memo from the secretary of the treasury (of which the Secret Service is part) to the secretary of commerce (who oversees the Census Bureau) requesting the data, and memos documenting that the Bureau had provided it [see image below].

The memos from the Bureau bear the initials “JC,” which the researchers identified as those of then-director, J.C. Capt.

“What it suggests is that the statistical information was used at the microlevel for surveillance of civilian populations,” Anderson says. She adds that she and Seltzer are reviewing Secret Service records to try to determine whether anyone on the list was actually under surveillance, which is still unclear.

“The [new] evidence is convincing,” says Kenneth Prewitt, Census Bureau director from 1998 to 2000 and now a professor of public policy at Columbia University, who issued a public apology in 2000 for the Bureau’s release of neighborhood data during the war. “At the time, available evidence (and Bureau lore) held that there had been no … release of microdata,” he says. “That can no longer be said.”

The newly revealed documents show that census officials released the information just seven days after it was requested. Given the red tape for which bureaucracies are famous, “it leads us to believe this was a well-established path,” Seltzer says, meaning such disclosure may have occurred repeatedly between March 1942, when legal protection of confidentiality was suspended, and the August 1943 request.

Anderson says that microdata would have been useful for what officials called the “mopping up” of potential Japanese-Americans who had eluded internment.

The researchers turned up references to five subsequent disclosure requests made by law enforcement or surveillance agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, none of which dealt with Japanese-Americans.

Lawmakers restored the confidentiality of census data in 1947.

Officially, Seltzer notes, the Secret Service made the 1943 request based on concerns of presidential safety stemming from an alleged March 1942 incident during which an American man of Japanese ancestry, while on a train from Los Angeles to the Manzanar internment camp in Owens Valley, Calif., told another passenger that they should have the “guts” to kill President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The incident occurred 17 months before the Secret Service request, during which time the man was hospitalized for schizophrenia and was therefore not an imminent threat, Seltzer says.

The disclosure, while legal at the time, was ethically dubious and may have implications for the 2010 census, the researchers write in a paper presented today at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America held in New York City. The U.S. has separate agencies for collecting statistical information about what people and businesses do, and for so-called administrative functions—taxation, regulation and investigation of those activities.

“There has to be a firewall in some sense between those systems,” Anderson says. If a company submits information ostensibly for documenting national economic growth but the data ends up in the antitrust division, “the next time that census comes they’re not going to get that information,” she says.

Census data is routinely used to enforce the National Voting Rights Act and other policies, but not in a form that could be used to identify a particular person’s race, sex, age, address or other information, says former director Prewitt. The legal confidentiality of census information dates to 1910, and in 1954 it became part of Title 13 of the U.S. Code, which specifies the scope and frequency of censuses.

“The law is very different today” than it was in 1943, says Christa Jones, chief of the Census Bureau’s Office of Analysis and Executive Support. “Anything that we release to any federal agency or any organization … all of those data are reviewed,” she says, to prevent disclosures of individual information.

The Census Bureau provided neighborhood data on Arab-Americans to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2002, but the information was already publicly available, Jones says. A provision in the controversial Patriot Act—passed after the 9/11 attacks and derided by critics as an erosion of privacy—gives agencies access to individualized survey data collected by colleges, including flight training programs.

The Census Bureau has improved its confidentiality practices considerably in the last six decades, former director Prewitt says. He notes that census data is an increasingly poor source of surveillance data compared with more detailed information available from credit card companies and even electronic tollbooths.

Nevertheless, he says, “I think the Census Bureau has to bend over backwards to maintain the confidence and the trust of the public.” Public suspicion—well-founded or not—could undermine the collection accurate census data, which is used by sociologists, economists and public health researchers, he says.

“I’m sad to learn it,” he says of the new discovery. “It would be sadder yet to continue to deny that it happened, if, as now seems clear, it did happen. You cannot learn from and correct past mistakes unless you know about them.”

Trump Administration Strikes a Blow Against Identity Politics

source: Mike Gonzalez / /

Americans who are sick of identity politics and yearn for a return to the unifying notion of “e pluribus unum” will cheer the Census Bureau’s recent move to reject changes to the decennial survey that were proposed by the Obama administration.

Briefly put, the Obama administration had proposed artificially creating yet another pan-ethnic grouping, for Americans of Middle East and North African descent. The administration also proposed reducing the choices of Americans of Latin American or Caribbean descent (the bureaucratically invented pan-ethnic group the census calls “Hispanics”) to identify themselves by a real race (such as black or white).

The Obama administration made this proposal in late September 2016, no doubt fully expecting an incoming Clinton administration to rubber-stamp it (pasted below is the balkanizing census question that was proposed). Then history got in the way.

The decision, announced last Friday by the bureau, to stop this further slide into becoming a fractured republic is welcome, if only because not doing a very bad thing is itself a very good thing.

But now the Trump administration needs to go much further to rid the country of the identitarian fever currently sweeping into all corners of society.

It must start with the decisive step of getting rid of many of the silly ethnic boxes that since 1980 have found their way into the constitutionally mandated census. It must also break once and for all the lock that progressive organizations currently enjoy, through advisory bodies, on the formulation of the census.

These steps will no doubt require political courage, but the administration prides itself both in its boldness and on understanding the centrality of the nation’s identity.

The breakup of the country into government-created ethnic categories has been a negative byproduct of the civil rights era, and the opposite of the equality the 1964 Civil Rights Act itself set out to create. As one of the foremost historians of the period, University of California, San Diego professor John Skrentny, put in his book “The Minority Rights Revolution,” policymakers and bureaucrats:

carved out and gave official sanction to a new category of Americans: the minorities. Without much thought given to what they were doing, they created and legitimized for civil society a new discourse of race, group differences and rights. This new discourse mirrored racist talk by reinforcing the racial differences of certain ethnic groups.

Our current racial and ethnic dispensation is more akin to apartheid-era South Africa than to anything the Founders intended, but it is strictly policed by special-interest ethnic organizations.

The outsized sway of these organizations is increasingly the subject of academic attention. As Alice Robbin of Indiana University describes it, “They can be influential beyond their numbers in the public policy process” and have now made America into an “interest group society.”

This actually understates the problem: there can be compromises, say, between labor and capital, but there cannot be compromises where identity, not money, is at stake (just witness the contradictory mess that is “intersectionality”).

The administration has shown it understands how liberal groups have insinuated themselves into policymaking over the past decades in other areas and has moved to limit their influence. The census deserves at least the same attention.

The census “both creates the image and provides a mirror of that image for a nation’s self-reflection” is how Harvard professors Jennifer L. Hochschild and Brenna M. Powell put it.

Does President Donald Trump want to leave office knowing it has left progressive outfits such La Raza, NALEO, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Census Project, the Arab American Institute, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and many others in charge of determining who America is?

The success of these special-interest organizations depends on brainwashing individual Americans into sorting themselves out by ethnic and racial categories, and seeing themselves as members of victimized and alienated minorities who need government protection from a supposedly cruel and irredeemably racist society. Even with the best of intentions, the incentives are all wrong.

The Census Bureau itself tells you that “The information the census collects helps determine how more than $400 billion of federal funding each year are spent on infrastructure, programs, and services.”

In other words: “come and get it.”

These groups are now so used to mau mauing census officials that when the Census Bureau made its announcement last Friday they complained almost in unison, and promised to take their case to the U.S. Congress.

But the interest of any administration, right or left, should be to encourage Americans to see themselves as empowered citizens with agency and the ability to thrive in a country that, despite its faults, provides opportunities for those willing to take advantage of them. The goal for all Americans, especially for the left, should be social solidarity, a concept this president has emphasized, but that many in the left are now also understanding.

This is why all Americans, liberal or conservative, should welcome the census news, and ask for further steps.