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Census Bureau Receiving Forms With Star Trek Races Written In April 1, 2010

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Fandom , trackback

It appears that some people are having some fun with their new US Census forms, including thousands of Trekkies telling the government they not exactly human. However, the government doesn’t think it is very funny and you could end up getting fined (unless you can prove your non-terrestrial ancestry). More details below.  


Trekkies being counted

As mandated in the US Constitution, every ten years the government conducts a census to count up everyone in the country. In March tens of millions of Census forms were sent out to every household in the USA. Forms are already coming in, but apparently some people are not taking it seriously, or at least not Question 9 which asks for Race, and allows you to fill one in if it isn’t one of the options on the form. This is from an article in the Christian Science Monitor:

Census workers report literally thousands forms that include, well, creative self-identified races. They include Vulcan and Borg (nods to "Star Trek"), Cylon (for the "Battlestar Galactica" fans), and, yes, NASCAR. (Get it? Race?)

Although that is all pretty funny, apparently it is not legal. Again from the article:

In other cases, census workers will call or even visit to determine if a respondent is, in fact, from the planet Vulcan.

The Census Bureau doesn’t want to get serious. But if worse comes to worse, a recalcitrant Vulcan could face fines of up to $500 for wrongful disclosure.

Apparently not a valid response





1. a aguilar - April 1, 2010

I thought we were all of the human race. Just sayin’!

2. Mark - April 1, 2010

whats the diff between Black and af-american?????

3. P Technobabble - April 1, 2010

The government has no problem confiscating billions of taxpayer dollars with a smile, but try to joke around with them….

4. denny cranium - April 1, 2010

I was filling out a questionaire for a survey.
When they asked me my marital status I replied NIGHTMARE

(Im happily married now.) She’s happy. I’m married

5. Rach - April 1, 2010

Haha, my dad had to call the census and ask them what I was. I’m interracial, so they had to put me down for indian-european-american. haha. Vulcan is way cooler. 10 years from now… yes.

6. OneBuckFilms - April 1, 2010

My Race: Human. :)

I could also put “White and Nerdy” :P

7. Randall Klopping - April 1, 2010

ROFL – I sure as heck ain’t telling the government where my star cruiser is much less what universe I come from. They already blew up my favorite parking spot on the moon! ;-)

8. Smart Science - April 1, 2010

@a aguilar: Yes, we are all human. Unfortunately, Human is a species, not a race.

9. @moldor - April 1, 2010

In Australia we regularly have fun with the “religion” question – JEDI is probably the most common, followed by SITH.

10. Theresa A. Utsey - April 1, 2010

My husband is insulted by the word Negro being on there. He going to check other and put human race. I mean come on it’s 2010!

11. KahunaMatata - April 1, 2010


A Aguilar: We are so part of the Human Race … except those pesky Vulcans!

Mark: Not everyone who identifies as Black has roots in Africa.

I always like answering the SEX: _______ question with “Yes”!

12. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - April 1, 2010

…why is there no option for “Hispanic/Latino?”

Do they not exist in the eyes of the government, or something?

13. Scottor - April 1, 2010

Jeez, I just put down Northern European because Irish-Norwegian-Swedish-Polish-English-French-American wouldn’t fit on the form.

Maybe I should have used Terran. That’s more truthful than Vulcan.

14. tru - April 1, 2010

I found it weird when they had two questions on race. One question asked only if you were espanic and the next on the different races. What up with that. Are they trying to find illegals to tell them vote for me and we’ll make you legal? The Executive branch is controling the census this time not the Judicial as in years and years past. Also why do they need to know if you have a morgage or not or pay rent? Are they going to threaten folks who own their home with eminent domain confiscation if they disagree?

15. Ahmad H. - April 1, 2010

Apparently many older “Americans of African descent” still use the term “Negro”. There was an article about this a couple months ago, that they tried to get rid of it in the 2000 census on some forms, and some (generally older) Af.Am.s wrote in “Negro” rather than put a check in the “Black/African Am.” box. So it’s still there.

And if your husband gets “insulted” by it, he needs to get over himself. My 102 year old great grandmother still calls herself “colored”.

16. KimikoMuffin - April 1, 2010

Well, with “sex” I’m pretty sure that they only allow you to check “male” or “female.”

But if it was a write-in, I know some people who’d have LOADS of fun with it …

17. Anthony Pascale - April 1, 2010

To the nitpickers

RE: Hispanic/Latino
that is actually on question 8

RE: Negro
The Census people say that is there because many older african americans still use that term, according to their 2000 census but they are studying getting rid of it for 2020

18. Frederick Francis Freakout - April 1, 2010

Jethro says we’s all human beans…

19. Darkwing - April 1, 2010

I thought the states would allow Vulcan as an option, as I though Obama was vulcan(?)

20. Bobby - April 1, 2010

I thought you weren’t doing any april fools stories today…

21. CmdrR - April 1, 2010

Damn. Wish I’d thought of that.

22. Zanpher - April 1, 2010

You have to remember, the you are only legally obliged to provide the # of people living in your household, nothing else. All those other quests are just padding and you are NOT required to fill them out.

To clarify some more, the government cannot legally do anything to you if you do fill them out with fake information as they shouldn’t be asking those questions in the first place.

23. ryanhuyton - April 1, 2010


But they are asking those questions so obviously you do have to answer them. Unless those questions are a violation of the law and constitution.

24. Another Q - April 1, 2010

A spokes-person from the Census Bureau said
that in some cases (like not filling out & sending
the form back) you MIGHT be fined by the Justice
Department, but in all likelihood no one will be
fined anything. I sent mine in with very minimal
information – even though I’m omnipotent, I still
want to be counted.

25. Chingatchkook - April 1, 2010

Hahahaha, God bless my neighbours in the States. You folks rock!

26. Kaylee Steffen - April 1, 2010

OMG!!!!..that’s too funny…It’s wrong I know but it’s also funny at the same time!…hahahahaha:)

27. ZudoBug - April 1, 2010

haha! very funny!

i knew the census bureau is nothing but a member of the homo-sapiens only club… :)

28. Zanpher - April 1, 2010

#23, umm, just because the gov ask questions, doesnt mean you have to answer them ;) lol

29. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire - April 1, 2010

Hmm. Im human from the Terran Empire. Or Maybe that is what the U .S is doing. Going to be more like the Terran Empire.

30. Carmen Sandiego - April 1, 2010

How is it that no one has questioned the listed examples under Other Asian: one of these things is not like the others……..

I just want to know; at what point did Pakistan leave the middle east and join the far east? According the to world map I’m looking at, it’s no where near Thailand, Cambodia, or Laos.

31. Nivenus - April 1, 2010


But if you answer them, you are bound by the agreements of answering them.

They’re just trying to get reliable demographic information. You wouldn’t believe the uses census data can be put to. I’ve found the 2000 Census to be incredibely helpful in my work.

Hell, I wish we had a *global* census.

32. Korben Dallas - April 1, 2010

Negative. I am a meat popsicle.

33. Gary - April 1, 2010

I work for the Census Bureau, but I don’t officially speak for it.

@14 There’s only one question on race. The other is for Hispanic Origin. Hispanic is considered an ethnicity, not a race. Your other questions are rooted in paranoia.

@22 You’re required to answer all the questions on the form.

Your answers are protected by Title 13. If you don’t fill out the form properly, you’ll just waste a lot of your tax dollars.

The question about tenure (own vs rent) is a good one. As near as I can guess, tenure data provide a general proxy for higher income households (owner) and lower income household (renter). The question is then, why is that on the census form. Probably for the distribution of federal funds.

Be careful of fake questionnaires. The census cannot ask about religion, won’t ask for SSNs, PINs, etc.

34. Scooter - April 1, 2010

I wish I’d thought of doing this. Funny stuff!

35. Zac - April 1, 2010

Carmen, it’s sad that someone with your name would be so ignorant of geography. Notice that “Middle Eastern” is not an option. The continent of Asia includes the entirety of the traditional middle east, with the exception of Egypt, which of course is in Africa.

Therefore Pakistani are indeed Asian, as are Iraqi, Israeli, Iranian, and Indian (from India).

What’s even more embarrassing is that there are people who think the government has some nefarious purpose for finding out what race you consider yourself. Oh no, they know I’m a white guy! I better watch out!

36. Harry Seldom - April 1, 2010

I was surprised at how little was asked, actually.

In 1930, questions included:
– Value of home if owned, or monthly rental, if rented
– Radio Set
– Does this family live on a farm?
– Marital Condition
– Age at first marriage
– Attended School or College any time since Sept 1, 1929
– Whether able to read and write
– Place of birth of each person, and both his/her parents
– Mother Tongue of Foreign Born
– Year of Immigration, Naturalization
– Able to speak English
– Occupation
– Industry
– Employment
– Veteran status

Race still matters, although it shouldn’t. And I suspect that the question will be on at least one or two census forms after it finally stops mattering.

– Harry

37. Gene L. Coon was a U. S. Marine. Stand at ease. - April 1, 2010

I checked “some other race” and wrote “American”. It is true, and colorblind! I am actually Native American, in that I was born here, but I am not what is commonly considered “Native American” (i.e. Indian), so didn’t want to confuse them.

38. Robert - April 1, 2010

Am I still “White” if I have a tan? Anyway, in lieu of ‘White’ I’d like to be considered European-American.

39. karraselle - April 1, 2010

Hey TOS…

They did have hispanic as an option, it was in the previous question and broken down into which type of hispanic person…What a pain in the neck!!!…My adopted daughter is bi-racial. Her biological mother was white and her biological father was “an unknown hispanic male”…I have no idea if her genealogical ancestry is Mexican, Cuban, Columbian, etc.

I’m with the write in’s. Why does race matter in this day and age?

40. Suzanne Lanoue - April 1, 2010

They use the census data to help determine financial resources for your community, so if you mess it up, you may be cheating your community…

41. Slyguy52 - April 1, 2010

I think its ridiculous that they would actually fine people for this… I mean as long as the other information is legitimate what does it matter if someone put something in the fill in box as a joke. I mean they complain that a large majority of the people dont respond and fill the census out anyways so they should be happy people at least sent it in.

42. Carmen Sandiego - April 1, 2010

I also want to know where the “Can-sometimes-be-rabid” fans of the StarGate shows are at in all this. I just know some one out there marked Tau’ri, Goa’uld, Tok’ra, Asgard, Ori, Lantean, Wraith, Athosian, Asuran, Genii, or Satedan on the form.

43. Gabriel Bell - April 1, 2010

@33 – Gary: Thanks for that update. Very informative. I received mine in the mail. Filled it out the next day. And dropped it in the mail one day later.

I do not understand the histrionics so many people have with the census, which, if I’m not mistaken, is mandated by the “E Plebmnista” (also known as the U.S. Constitution).

Live long and prosper.

44. nicolette - April 1, 2010

my take- what’s my race have to do with redistricting, schools, hospitals or whatnot? just saying…

45. Sybok's Secret Brother - April 1, 2010


46. cd - April 1, 2010

The Census is a bit confusing if you are Hispanic. You can say you are Hispanic in one question but then you have to choose a race on another question. This is confusing many people and they don’t know what to put for race if they are Hispanic. Some of the choices, Japanese and Chinese, for example, are not races but nationalities. Very confusing.
They should just ask for race/ethnicity in one question and list them all together, including Hispanic.

I like the questions in 1930 listed in #36. If you are going to do a census, get some information.

47. Wheeli - April 1, 2010

@36 – those questions are on the longer forms, a certain percentage of people will get a follow up visit, or form with more questions.

@43 – By the way, the Constitution only Mandates that we be counted, the other questions are not Constitutional, and if they try to fine me for not answering the ones I left blank well they can wait until hell freezes over for their money.

48. Val Jean - April 1, 2010

i think we should all heed Admiral Adama’s words at the United Nations, in regards to the word “RACE”


49. Cygnus-X1 - April 1, 2010

“Apparently not a valid response”


On a somewhat related note, I was watching TNG “The Wounded” last night, and found myself wondering if the Cardasian race name was inspired by the surname, Kardashian.

It’s hard to imagine that there was absolutely no influence.

50. Lo - April 1, 2010

To explain Hispanic:
Hispanic is essentially anyone that speaks Spanish as their mother tongue. It is usually extended to include all of Central and South Americas, even those that speak Portuguese or native languages. Therefore, Hispanic includes people from Spain, people of European decent, African (slave) decent, native decent and the mixtures. A couple countries in south America actually have rather large populations of Asians that have been there for 200 plus years. They, too, are technically Hispanics, especially if the person in question is of mixed, as many seem to be.

That is why they ask for a race outside of Hispanic. You can be Hispanic and identify as white, native, black, or even Asian, plus all the mixture therein. I hope that helps!

51. Gabriel Bell - April 1, 2010

@47 Wheeli: I say again, I can’t understand the histrionics. (And I get no props for pulling out “E Plebmnista”? Tough crowd.)

52. Wheeli - April 1, 2010

Read the Constitution, it Authorizes the Government to “Enumerate” the population, for the purpose of determining how many Representatives each state should have in Congress, they don’t need my name, whether or not I own my house, what sex I am, my race, or even if I am married to decide how many Reps my State gets.

Anything other than counting me, is above and beyond the Constitutional Mandate.

By the way it is one of my favorite Episodes.

53. cd - April 1, 2010

What if someone is of Mexican descent, for example, is their race, white, American Indian (the closest choice I can see for the indigenous peoples of Mexico), both or other?

54. Buzz Cagney - April 1, 2010

We had something similar happen over here in the UK. Under Religion many people claimed they were Jedi! In fact one guy recently got a letter of apology when the Security guys in a Job Centre the ‘Jedi’ had gone to asked him to lower the hood on his jacket. He said he couldn’t as it was against his religion!
I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or roll my eyes!

55. ryanhuyton - April 1, 2010


Isn’t “Jedi” an actual religion over there? I remember hearing something about a bunch of people trying to get “Jedi” certified as an official religion.

56. Trekluver - April 1, 2010

In America some states have said that Klingon is an official language! Weird right? Anyway I’m surprised someone hasn’t put “none” for race! Lol

57. assimilator47 - April 1, 2010

Race is irrelevant. We’re all Terrans.
Want to take it extra-terrestrial? Then we’re all Cosmopolitans, living in the Cosmos.
There, you have it.

58. thebiggfrogg - April 1, 2010

Guess the census don’t Grok Spock. Wish race were irrelevant, but it ain’t so yet. Getting better, but a waays to go, cause just when you think the corner is turned you see a bit more muck. Just ask John Lewis.

59. Joshua - April 1, 2010

As someone who actually works at the Census, and does this everyday, for the past 5 years , I’d like to respond to some of the more unintelligent observations foaming from the mouths in here.

1. The term “negro” is on the form because there is a representative demographic that prefers that term. It is an age group issue.

2. In real life, no one gives a damn who you are, so it only makes you look ignorant to think you are too good to participate or that the questions are invasive and somehow impede your constitutional rights. Again, no one truly gives a damn who you are, you AREN’T that important, BUT, if you want your community to benefit with new roads, bridges, schools, businesses, basically you name it, I’d recommend filling the form out and being sincere, as this is how YOUR tax dollars are funneled back into YOUR community and by not participating you are only hurting YOUR neighbors.
Oh by the way, the constitutional authorization is Title 13, section 148 and 221. It gives the census permission to conduct the surveys, as well as protects the confidentiality of your information. If anyone tells you it is unconstitutional, you can now emphasize how uninformed and ignorant they are.

This is demographics. Colleges and businesses use this information. Not just the Government. There is no grand big brother conspiracy that’s out to “get” people. As I said before, no one is really that important or matters that much , and no one that works for the Census certainly gives two thoughts about the identity of the participant.

60. thebiggfrogg - April 1, 2010

Yikes were all Cosmopolitans?!? Does that man I have to imagine the fat dude at work in a breast revealing cocktail dress? Yikes.

61. ryanhuyton - April 1, 2010

We may come from different countries. We may have different racial or ethnic backgrounds. But on this site, we are all Trekkies. That is all that matters.

62. Mrs Spock - April 2, 2010

Not one of you recognizes this article as an April Fools joke? Highly illogical. ::raises eyebrow::

63. Henrik - April 2, 2010

I´m a PinkSkin

64. Buzz Cagney - April 2, 2010

#55 it may well be. As I understand it they only needed 10,000 people claiming to be one religion or another and it became an actual religion.

Until recently a very popular breakfast show presenter (now sadly retired) on BBC Radio2 was a guy called Terry Wogan. A bit of a legend in these parts! Anyway, his listeners were called TOGGS- Terry’s Old Guys and Gals.
I’m pretty sure enough people responded to the religion question with TOGG to make it an official religion!

Maybe, in 2000 years or so, Terry or Obi Wan will be considered the role models (i dare not suggest Messiah’s!) that a whole way of living is based on?

65. The Last Maquis - April 2, 2010

I guess you can say this barely qualifies as news.

66. Selor Kiith - April 2, 2010

@8 Correct terms would be… Species: Homo Sapiens, Race: Modern Human

@48 Good find!
For the purpose of not letting it go down in the rabble I’ll repost the link!

67. Dovile - April 2, 2010

There must be a lot of Klingons out there too, but only Vulcans get fined?

68. JP Saylor - April 2, 2010

Why doesn’t it say:

White, Honkey, or Cracker

I mean, it says Black, Af American or Negro right?


69. rwright329 - April 2, 2010

Race may not be a problem to us enlightened trekkies, but for some reason near my home, race is a “very important”. Everybody thinks their discriminated against. That includes whites, blacks, and browns.

I find the attitude irritating.

70. Matt Wiley - April 2, 2010

“Me not Black, Me Haitian…”

71. Ganya Ivanova - April 2, 2010

Gabriel Bell: I’m guessin’ no props ’cause technically, you didn’t use it right. “E Plebmnista” doesn’t translate into “The Constitution”…it translates into “We, The People”, the first words of the Preamble to same. Is that what you meant?

Thank ST:TOS; I’d never given The Constitution any thought until that episode!

May the Fates smile upon you!

72. Crusade2267 - April 2, 2010

Well according to the MIBs, half of New Yorkers really are aliens, so I guess I’d be safe. Alas, I am an honest and too serious human.

73. rogue_alice - April 2, 2010

As a male, if I answered Orion, that would mean I couldn’t be “head of household” could I?

74. Weerd1 - April 2, 2010

I have always, ALWAYS filled out any form which asks for race as “human.”

75. Andy Patterson - April 2, 2010

I would be Andorian or Katullan. And if they told me I’d filled it out wrong I’d say “I’m bleeding.”

76. Schiefy - April 2, 2010

While I am “skeptical” about the government’s use of the Census data and agree that the Constitution mandates a head count, I believe the Constitution also gives Congress the power to legislate so that they could add to the information gathered in the Census as long as it does not contradict or abridge a freedom the Constitution expressly forbids or protects.

As for the race/ethnicity questions–it does seem to highlight (according to the Media/Politics) the differences we are supposedly trying to eradicate in our great country. So, however benignly, the Census questions do provoke (too strong a word?) some of the racism, bigotry or resentment we wish to overcome.

Are we all not equal or not? If we are, then it seems these questions are irrelevant to the purposes of the Census (but maybe interesting for sociologists or marketers or political parties). If we are not all equal, then, again, what relevance does the Census have in collecting this data since it might further promote inequality (whether toward the minorities or the majority race)?

Then again, even Star Trek acknowledged differences between the (alien) races if not the Terran ones (except when Chekhov would extol the virtues of the Russians). :)

77. NCC-73515 - April 2, 2010

No tlhInganpu’?

78. MC1 Doug - April 2, 2010

#1: “I thought we were all of the human race. Just sayin’!”

Kirk: Spock, you want to know something? Everybody’s human.

Spock: I find that remark…. insulting.

79. Niall Johnson - April 2, 2010

Latino is an ethnicity, not a race. They’re still considered Caucasian.

80. bill hiro - April 2, 2010

@ 59, you’re remarkably arrogant and condescending, especially for a census worker. Nobody appreciates that kind of “shut up and do what we tell you, dummy” attitude, but it seems to be a requirement for being a federal employee.

81. Daoud - April 2, 2010

@59 Although you may quote US Title and Code by number…. it’s LEGISLATIVE, not CONSTITUTIONAL. The FOUNDERS would be appalled by what the Census has become used for, and the questions asked of it.

It’s supposed to be a head count… that it became a means of “gathering data”, which is then used for racial quotas, affirmative action, grants-in-aid, etc. is a bowdlerization of the original intent:

Fairly dividing up representation by population in order to proceed with the Connecticut Compromise of a bicameral national legislature, resorted every 10 years.

We had already decided to join the movement of marking Other, and filling in AMERICAN.

And as every number here shows, along with our multi-racial US President, and countless adoptees, and my children who are German-English-Irish from me, and English-Polish-German-Native American-Hispanic from their mother… what do my kids put, eh? What provision is there for checking MULTIPLE boxes?

82. Victor Swindell - April 2, 2010

Of course
If the purpose of the Census is to COUNT the PEOPLE to insure adaquate representation in the House of Reps.

Why does the goverment care or need to know what race they are.
Are blacks/AfAmerican still being counted as 3/5s of a person and Cyborgs 1/2 a person or something.

83. Nick1000 - April 2, 2010

@80… It’s seems it’s the necessary attitude to get into the mind of conspiracy theorists out there that are always seeing the US government as something evil that is trying to know everything about them (to better control them?). Anyways, the argument about “if the Constitution does not grant the government the powers to ask questions, they can’t do it” is bullshit. The Constitution is not a complete paper… The govt can do things that are not actually written in the Constitution ( if it was defined by law).

As for the race question, it’s irrelevant: most scientists agree that there is no “races” inside the human kind. There are not enough physical differences to affirm “races” exists (contrary to dogs for example).

84. thebiggfrogg - April 2, 2010

@69 “irritating”, hmmm, an emotional response. Guess that means you aren’t one of the Vulcans. ; )

85. Datalore - April 2, 2010

April Fools?

86. Areli - April 2, 2010

Wow, this pretty heated. And now I truly don’t know what to mark myself on the census. I am multi-racial and really have no understanding of what certain races I am except for two. And I was pretty damn certain that Iranian people were classified as a kind of White, but now I’m told it’s Asian. So am I partially Asian now? Just because this isn’t worth the hassle of understanding, I’m just going to mark “other” and write in mixed.

The race question bothers me a lot, being somebody who pretty much doesn’t have a set race. I get asked almost every other day “What ethnicity are you?” and I have to say “I don’t know. You guess.” And why isn’t Hispanic just a part of the race question? Some people are just Hispanic and don’t identify with being Black or White or anything else. To be forced to mark another race doesn’t make sense. If they identify with another race, they should be given the choice to put that down or not.

Haha, Vulcan. At least nobody has put down Furry or Na’vi.

87. Mary Kane - April 2, 2010

@81: See where it says “check one or more boxes”? That’s your provision right there!

@82: Victor, I always thought you were 5/3 of a person!

88. Nivenus - April 2, 2010


I love it when people talk about the Founders as if they were a single entity. You do know that campaign propaganda in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries makes our modern partisanship look tame by comparison, right? Or that the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans were much more dissimilar in policy than Democrats and Republicans today are?

There was no “Founding Fathers” consensus. There were two major camps, with a few smaller in-between, who loathed one another but realized it’d be better to solve their problems peaceably than by fighting. Jefferson might have had a problem with the census (and Patrick Henry certainly would have) but I doubt John Adams or Alexander Hamilton would have.

89. Losira - April 2, 2010

I got a thought. The census people may just umbrella all of us as GEEKS. Leave at that for an accuratt head count. 2020 census will have geek listed as a race! LOL

90. Jo Ann - April 2, 2010

Why cant people just answer all the questions accurately. They are asking a question. Provide the full and honest answer. Its not hard really

91. Rick - April 2, 2010

It’s hilarious how some white people get so upset when we try to get an idea of how many other races make up America. When the last census revealed how Hispanics were the largest minority group, there was a noticeable change in business and government demographic targeting. Hollywood realized that there should actually be more Latinos on the screen, and people realized that Hispanics weren’t just the Mexicans along the border.

America’s a diverse country. Don’t be so afraid when we try to find just how diverse it is.

92. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - April 2, 2010

The government needs and ENEMA!!!

93. Thomas Jensen - April 2, 2010

It’s none of the governments business what race we have been born to; the constitution calls for a head-count every 10 years. That’s it! Apart from that, the federal government can go pound sand.

94. Sybok's Secret Brother - April 2, 2010

@92 You are the government, Sparky…

95. snoopytrek - April 2, 2010

To #80…Bravo.
To #81…Well said.

And to those who have referenced the Constitution in these comments, the Constitution was “put in a lock-box” (Al Gore) and totally ignored when President Pelosi passed and Mr Obama signed into law their recent take-over and control of 15% more of your life. So why would the census be any different now.

Oh, and didn’t Whoopi Goldberg once say she doesn’t refer to herself as “AfAmerican” just American.

96. Bren - April 2, 2010



97. Jim Durdan - April 2, 2010

I agree, the Government, especially this administration, needs to back off. The original census was a head count, that was it. Now they want way to much information. It’s bad enough that they control 51% of the economy, why the heck do they need to know the number of bathrooms I have?

Hey Ho they gotta go

98. captainedd - April 2, 2010

While we’re on this thread, I came across this classic strip…


Is it art imitating life, or is life imitating art…

99. Joshua - April 2, 2010

That’s basically it……shut up, and do your civic duty proudly as a patriot.
The rednecks always wave flags and trumpet the military, and GUNS GUNS GUNS, but when it comes time to actually step up and participate, in either a census, or jury duty, they cry like petulant little brats. Be thankful you live in a country that cares how your tax dollars are re-allocated.

Yeah Billy, shut up and do what we say dummy.

100. Skyler - April 3, 2010

@83.. you said “The govt can do things that are not actually written in the Constitution ( if it was defined by law). ”

Not entirely accurate. 10th amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

If the Federal Government isn’t given the power in the Constitution then it falls to the states. Means a hell of a lot of stuff the Fed. gov. has done isn’t constitutional

101. JohnWA - April 3, 2010

The paranoia associated with this process is illogical.

If the federal government does not conduct a census, then the states, regional bodies, and cities will do it themselves.

Many of them already collect their own data because the census doesn’t provide them with enough information. In California, for instance, the Department of Finance routinely releases its own population profiles using data from financial records, the DMV, schools, and so forth. Keep in mind that privacy laws tend to protect “confidentiality” rather than “anonymity.” This is an important distinction. As long as identifying information is redacted, the state can legally obtain data on race, gender, income, and whatever else they need quite easily from numerous sources.

I don’t see how any of this is less invasive than what the federal government is doing.

102. AD - April 3, 2010

Why is it paranoia if I just don’t think it is anyone’s business but my own?
I don’t attribute any “nefarious” purpose to the feds. But I do feel rather strongly about my privacy.

Neither my neighbours nor my government need to know whether I rent, own or have a mortgage, and since my local government does their own school survey, the federal government really doesn’t need ages. In the same vein, I see no reason whatsoever for asking for my race. It should affect nothing the government does, and there is no place for mutt, anyway!

I do believe it is my duty to send in the number of people in my household for redistricting purposes. As for the rest, well, maybe someone who is out of work can get paid for coming to my home and bugging me…………..

103. JohnWA - April 3, 2010


Most, if not all, of these questions are already being asked by people in some official capacity.

In all likelihood, the state already knows whether you rent, own, or have a mortgage. They collect that information from your landlord, county clerk, or mortgage holder (bank). They need it to do assessments for zoning and property taxes. They use DMV records – plus voter registration information – to determine your citizenship status and age. That’s why they don’t send jury summons to five year olds. And every major city in America has a police department that categorize folks by race. This isn’t news is it?

Unless local politicians and bureaucrats are inherently more trustworthy than the ones in Washington DC, then this is an argument over constitutional semantics rather than reality. Whether the federal government has the “right” to do anything other than a head count is an interesting legal question. But it has little, if anything, to do with protecting privacy.

104. David K. M. Klaus - April 3, 2010

Since I am not a Vulcan (or a Gorn or a Minbari or a Metron or…), for over 25 years I have been checking the [ ] Other box under “RACE” and if there is a line next to it, writing in “Human”. Never had one complaint.

105. AD - April 4, 2010

So most of the census is strictly unnecessary since the information is already available from other sources……….

I actually do trust my local officials more—– I know them and can camp out at their office (or house in a couple of cases) if they bug me too much.

106. The Disinvited - April 4, 2010

Being suspicious of the Census is paranoid? Man, U.S. citizens must no longer have many members of their families still alive that lived during WWII. But I would think many here would remember Takei’s story, at least? It was common knowledge at the time that the census data, as supplied by the Census Bureau, was used during WW II to round up American citizens and deprive them of their property, homes, businesses and liberties. There was a long attempt of denial and coverup but eventually proof of the truth did out:


107. JohnWA - April 4, 2010


Yes, the supplemental information is mostly redundant. Misrepresenting the number of persons in your household could be interpreted as electoral fraud though, so I would enforce that part of it at least. But I am certainly against prosecuting anyone for saying they are a Vulcan. That would be a waste of time.


Ethically, the census director should have resigned in protest rather than hand over the data. But the military had congressional authorization, FDR’s executive order, and the explicit approval of the U.S. Supreme Court. Without the census bureau’s cooperation, it might have taken them a little longer to get their act together. Though eventually they would have gone to the IRS, the states, and the county clerks.

It is paranoia to become overly fixated on the census because it isn’t the only source of data out there. When the government wants to find you, they will find you. Misuse of data is a problem in general. And it has to be tackled broadly. I would like to believe that our society has progressed somewhat since the 1940s and can enact the appropriate safeguards. But I concede that might be wishful thinking on my part. If we can’t even trust ourselves with rudimentary sociological knowledge, however, then I think that raises serious questions about our ability to deal with space exploration, medicine, and a whole host of scientific concerns.

108. MJ - April 4, 2010


109. Brian - April 4, 2010

Number 59. If your information is confidential then how is it getting into the hands of the colleges and Businesses.

110. Nathan Pike - April 5, 2010

Questions beyond a simple count are Constitutional

It is constitutional to include questions in the decennial census beyond those concerning a simple count of the number of people. On numerous occasions, the courts have said the Constitution gives Congress the authority to collect statistics in the census. As early as 1870, the Supreme Court characterized as unquestionable the power of Congress to require both an enumeration and the collection of statistics in the census. The Legal Tender Cases, Tex.1870; 12 Wall., U.S., 457, 536, 20 L.Ed. 287. In 1901, a District Court said the Constitution’s census clause (Art. 1, Sec. 2, Clause 3) is not limited to a headcount of the population and “does not prohibit the gathering of other statistics, if ‘necessary and proper,’ for the intelligent exercise of other powers enumerated in the constitution, and in such case there could be no objection to acquiring this information through the same machinery by which the population is enumerated.” United States v. Moriarity, 106 F. 886, 891 (S.D.N.Y.1901).

The census does not violate the Fourth Amendment. Morales v. Daley, 116 F. Supp. 2d 801, 820 (S.D. Tex. 2000). In concluding that there was no basis for holding Census 2000 unconstitutional, the District Court in Morales ruled that the 2000 Census and the 2000 Census questions did not violate the Fourth Amendment or other constitutional provisions as alleged by plaintiffs. (The Morales court said responses to census questions are not a violation of a citizen’s right to privacy or speech.) “…[I]t is clear that the degree to which these questions intrude upon an individual’s privacy is limited, given the methods used to collect the census data and the statutory assurance that the answers and attribution to an individual will remain confidential. The degree to which the information is needed for the promotion of legitimate governmental interests has been found to be significant. A census of the type of Census 2000 has been taken every ten years since the first census in 1790. Such a census has been thought to be necessary for over two hundred years. There is no basis for holding that it is not necessary in the year 2000.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the District Court decision on October 10, 2001, 275 F.3d 45. The U.S. Supreme Court denied petition for writ of certiorari on February 19, 2002, 534 U.S. 1135. No published opinions were filed with these rulings.

These decisions are consistent with the Supreme Court’s recent description of the census as the “linchpin of the federal statistical system … collecting data on the characteristics of individuals, households, and housing units throughout the country.” Dept. of Commerce v. U.S. House of Representatives, 525 U.S. 316, 341 (1999).


111. James Tyler - April 6, 2010

Vulcans getting fined? Racists ;)

112. James Tyler - April 6, 2010

…mind you, if Adama tried this he might have found the Cylons within the fleet sooner.

113. Eli - April 6, 2010

The Supreme Court has not always been right, either.

Look up the Dredd Scott decision in the years leading up to the Civil War, some would say Roe VS Wade was a wrong decision, as well as the Imminent Domain decision a few years ago…

114. Mara - April 6, 2010

Recently, I found the 2010 Census form hanging on my door. As I began filling it out, I came across a dilemma. The U.S. government wants to know if my children are adopted or not and it wants to know what our races are. Being adopted myself, I had to put “Other” and “Don’t Know Adopted” for my race and “Other” and “Don’t Know” for my kids’ races.

Can you imagine not knowing your ethnicity, your race? Now imagine walking into a vital records office and asking the clerk for your original birth certificate only to be told “No, you can’t have it, it’s sealed.”

How about being presented with a “family history form” to fill out at every single doctor’s office visit and having to put “N/A Adopted” where life saving information should be?

Imagine being asked what your nationality is and having to respond with “I don’t know.”

It is time that the archaic practice of sealing and altering birth certificates of adopted persons stops.

Adoption is a $5 billion, unregulated industry that profits from the sale and redistribution of children. It turns children into chattel who are re-labeled and sold as “blank slates.”

Genealogy, a modern-day fascination, cannot be enjoyed by adopted persons with sealed identities. Family trees are exclusive to the non-adopted persons in our society.

If adoption is truly to return to what is best for a child, then the rights of children to their biological identities should NEVER be violated. Every single judge that finalizes an adoption and orders a child’s birth certificate to be sealed should be ashamed of him/herself.

I challenge all vulcans, borgs, humans, etc: Ask the adopted persons that you know if their original birth certificates are sealed.

115. Jason - April 8, 2010

@Joshua #59 & 99

To your second point… If you are going to say something has “constitutional authorization” you should quote something from the ACTUAL constitution. You are quoting from United States Code (which is inferior to the constitution). The founding fathers designed the constitution to be the supreme law of the land, over any other law. It only authorizes a head count (enumeration) in Article I Section 2)and in the 14th amendment (Section 2). Even if you want loosely interpret this, the constitution only requires you to tell: 1. How many people live there 2. Age 3. Male or Female. Not name, phone number, race, etc.
It’s one thing for you to be arrogant, but another thing to be arrogant and wrong. Why don’t you get educated on the proper role of federal government? It’s not their job to funnel dollars into communities. Here in Texas most things that we consider vital are paid for by Texans through property, and many other state taxes. Keep your Federal dollars, and quit taking federal taxes from the people. The founders designed this for a “limited” federal government.
I vote at every opportunity given to me. I don’t have a problem giving information that is mandated in the constitution. I DO have a problem with giving more than that. Especially since the Federal government has been irresponsible with the census in the past. Remember the census commercial during the superbowl that cost millions? Guess what… they didn’t get that money from a bake sale. They got it from us. Not to mention that Census data was used to locate Japanese citizens to intern them during World War 2.
You might want to tone down the arrogance, especially since you seem to know very little about the constitution and how it works. Even if I didn’t have some reservations about the few unconstitutional questions; If you were at my doorstep I would intentionally not cooperate with you just because of your bad attitude. Then I would throw you off my property.

116. tesseraktik - April 11, 2010

@68: Regarding why it has the word “Negro” but not “Honkey” on it, I’m assuming that’s because there is a sizeable number of people in the U.S. who identify with the term “Negro” but very few who identify with the term “Honkey”.
That being said, it seems a bit clumsy to put it in the same check-box as “Black” and “African Am.” I’m sure the distinction isn’t very useful for the purposes for which they conduct the census poll, but putting them all together like that likely suggests to a lot of people that if you identify with one of them, the USCB feels that you must identify with all of them, thereby upsetting those who view the term “Negro” as offensive (a demographic that I’m guessing is even larger than the demographic consisting of people who identify with the term).

…but anyhow, back to Star Trek: I wonder what date of birth those so-called Vulcans wrote? \\//, ^(~_~)^

117. PadawanPrincess - May 6, 2010

“Vulcan” …. TOO FUNNY!!!!! :-D ^_^ :-D

—Geez, as a big Star Wars fan (that dabbles in the Star Trek world), that along with those who religious “faiths” that are Jedi and Sith… priceless!!! Again, thanks for the afternoon laughs to help pass the time! (I’m at work and time is D – R – A – G – G – I – N – G.)

But seriously, I too checked that Other box and declared myself as a “Multigen Multicultrl”. —As someone that came to be due to being descended from Louisianna Creole, Native American (Cherokee) lineages as well as AFRICAN AMERIAN, that “Negro” category does not “fly”.

Don’t get me wrong, this is my first time EVER declaring myself as anything other than “Black/African-American”. It’s not out of shame, disgust or anything like that. –Given, in the grand scheme of things, how close the end of slavery was to our time “today”, (i’m 40 and my now 88 yr old grandmother remembers in 1930’s seeing 88+ yr survivors from slavery), I’m VERY proud of how far, academically and socially, some of my people have come in such a short time. I claimed others because to me, if felt as though the Census bureau was “playing games” by adding “Negro” back to the category due to:

A – Adding what many in the Black/African-American community consider a negative “throw-back” term CLAIMING to be “updating” their information.

B – Adding “Negro” to the Black/African-American racial classification without our input … ESPECIALLY given how sensitive the whole racial subject is/can be in the Black/African-American community.

C – THEN basing the fact on adding “Negro” due to “56,000” in the 2000 Census people specifically declaring themselves as such. —So basically they based their actions of adding something for several HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS (MILLIONS…??) on the actions of “56,000”…???

Then too, although this took place “after” the Census (1st round) was completed, THEN some head, of some division of the Census, came out and apologize for the Census adding Negro…?!? So again, to me, GAMES.
………….Sorry for going on so, but that’s why ” I ” selected option 9.

118. PadawanPrincess - May 7, 2010

Hello again everyone!

Just dropping in really quick to apologize for all the misspelled, as well as forgotten and incorrectly placed words, in my first posting. —I was trying to do two things at the same time! Again, SO sorry!

119. Jose - May 18, 2010

First of all if they do fine you, sue them under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 National Origin Discrimination. If the census bureau did this all the trans-gendered people would be in jail. You can put any race down you want. You could also sue the census under 42 USC Section 1983 violating your constitutional rights- under the first amendment if you claim your religious beliefs dictate your race. When I was young I lied on it and said I was black when I am not and they did not do anything because the Civil Rights Act prohibits arresting or fining an individual on the basis of Race, Sex, National Origin, or Disability. By the way I am refusing to fill mine out on the basis of religious beliefs. This is the second time I am doing this never been fined and never been arrested for it there threats mean nothing!!!!

120. Robert Bob - July 15, 2010

What’s confusing is that the government is trying to make an attempt to bring us all together and then put out a form like this that puts us all into different catagories based on race and what appears to be our ancestery (vietnamese? laotian”… these have nothing to do with race). Why didn’t they ask if my family was from England, Germany, Norway…?)
If it’s to distribute federal funds why do they need to know race? Isn’t that favoring one race over another?

121. tennessee titan#38 - August 31, 2010

I’ve read quite a number of comments that refer to the constitutional authority for the ‘population census'; which is what the constitution authorized. A counting of the populace to assure that each district within these United States is properly and fairly respresented in the halls of government. Title 13 does much, much, much more than that. And, to those who don’t know the differences, Title 13 is part of the United States Codes (our network of laws) and is not, never has been, part of any ‘constitutional authority’. In truth, many ‘laws’ have been struck down due to their unconstitutionality.
Subchapter II, sec. 141, (g) defines the ‘census of population’ as a census of the population, housing and matters relating to housing. However, paragraph 141, (f) the Secretary must submit, two years in advance of the date of the census, to Congressional committee his determination of the questions proposed to be included in such census.
So, the nature of the census is ‘outlined’ for us in the constitution; but, the specifications are left up to a group of individuals that, no matter their party affiliations, have proven pretty well incompetent. Except to assure that their own salaries & benefits (and, dare I say, perks) have stayed well ahead of the general populace they’re swore to serve & uphold!

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