Dearborn Demographics

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I was reading up on Dearborn, MI in Wikipedia and found a great example of political correctness in census data.  Would you say this entry is an accurate reflection of the race/cultural demographic?  ~LTG

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 97,775 people, 36,770 households, and 23,863 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,013.2 per square mile (1,549.7/km²). There were 38,981 housing units at an average density of 1,600.0 per square mile (617.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.86% White, 1.28% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.47% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.73% from other races, and 9.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.00% of the population.

33.4% were of Arab ancestry (categorized as “White” in Census collection data), 10.3% Polish, 9.9% German, 6.5% Irish, and 6.0% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 61.9% spoke English, 29.3% Arabic, 1.9% Spanish, and 1.5% Polish as their first language

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3 responses to “Dearborn Demographics

  1. One of those quirks of racial demographic categories being exploited for political correctness. Spaniards are “White” and not Hispanic. Until 1964, Italians weren’t officially “White” while Arabs got lumped in there by default because no one defined “Arab” in the Voting Rights Act then. Of course, there could be a whole lot of folk whose parents converted and they learned Arabic in the home as a first language.

  2. The problem is with the concepts “race” vs. “ethnicity.” Race refers to biology — inheritable attributes of physiology (skin color, hair…) and physiognomy (shape of nose, eyes, lips…) which are programmed in our DNA. “Ethnicity” refers mainly to cultural groups (culture refers to language, religion, food, customs, shared history). And so the Caucasian race includes a number of ethnic groups — AngloSaxon, Italian, French, and Arabic, etc.

    But the US Census had decided to use “White” instead of “Caucasian” — the latter is an anthropological term. Then there is the problem that some Arabs (defined as those whose primary language is Arabic and who — or their ancestors — are from the Middle East) are actually not Caucasian (or “white”) but Negroid (an anthropological term), because there are ethnic Arabs in North Africa.

    Then there is the even knottier problem that some anthropologists maintain the term “race” itself has dubious empirical validity. Why? Because it turns out there is more genetic diversity within any so-called “race” than there is between races.

  3. lowtechgrannie

    The Census Bureau leaves it up to the individual to ‘self identify”. Apparently, the majority of Arabic as a first language-speaking people in Dearborn prefer to classify themselves as white. Sounds pretty racist to me!


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