Census ethnic origin questions confusing to some - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Census ethnic origin questions confusing to some

(NBC) - Tearing into your census form shouldn't mean ripping out your hair.

"I'm not black. I'm not African American. I'm not Native American. I'm not white. I'm other, but there is no other unless you're of Asian descent," says Carol Trujillo, who is multiracial.

She says for question No. 8, which asks about her origin, she would check the box for "Hispanic."

But question No. 9 for race, doesn't offer the option of Hispanic or Latino.

"I would have to mark 'other' and specifically exactly what I am and where my family comes from," Trujillo says.

And that's the key, filling out the blank boxes with whatever term best describes how you describe yourself.

"You want to be counted. For me, I'm East Indian born in Fiji Islands so I'll have a challenge with that," said San Francisco resident Anil Sukhram. "I'll just have to put down exactly where I'm from."

"There are opportunities as I understand to influence what's on here. I mean it is a piece of paper created by a human, right," said Vanessa Moses of Just Cause.

Moses is working to make sure people fill out their census forms. She says it's OK to add your own category by filling in those empty boxes if you're not being represented.

"There are folks pushing folks to put 'Queer' on the census in order to capture that because right now that's a piece of demographic information that's not being captured," Moses commented.

Opposed to the word "Negro" on the form?

"Putting a note to say that should be removed is a way to get the message across," Moses said.

Trujillo and her husband say they plan to fill in plenty of blanks, because in their family, nothing is just black and white.

When it comes to filling out information for his daughter, Carol's husband, Jamal Gray explained, "I will do everything she is. She's a mix, so just fill in the African American, the Caucasian, and then wherever she is. Don't leave out anything."

Carol added, "She's everything. She's all of the above. I would mark everything that she is because she needs to be counted for everything that she is."

The census will also reflect the highest number of multi-racial people in history. More than 5.5 million at last count. It is the fastest growing demographic in America.

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