In the last census, and in public forms since then, I am asked to specify my "race" from a list of options.  This question is intrusive and pointless.  Many people are of mixed race, while others have an ancestor of one race, but the appearance of another.  For all these people, the question is meaningless.  Anthropologists agree that the term "race" has no precise objective meaning, so the question can only mean "What race do you think you belong to?"  Why should I identify myself with one race or another?

Because of these confusions, the terminology used is also offensive.  I have a daughter-in-law of Japanese parentage, who had to classify herself in the census as "oriental other".  I had to apologise to her for it.

The purpose of this data collection is presumably to find out if public bodies are treating different races fairly.  I see no point in this.  Racial discrimination is an offence in the mind of the discriminator, not something which can be tested objectively.  Collecting the statistics will not solve whatever problem exists (if it indeed exists).

The only valid question in the census which relates to this area is to ask whether one or other of my parents was born outside the UK.  That will give some idea of population movements.





Why is this idea important?

All these pointless and intrusive statistics are collected and analysed by civil servants.  They also add a further and useless dimension to public reports.  Removing the question will remove the need for this work. 

I regard questions about my supposed race as objectionable.  The only identity which matters is my nationality.  I am aware that there are sociologists who think that race and culture are the same, but I think this is nonsense.

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