Campaign Against Racism
Insistance that Census data is discriminatory
By Keila López Alicea
Believing that the results of the 2000 Census had the effect of making the mix of races in Puerto Rico "invisible", a nonprofit organization has taken on the task of informing the public about the most realistic way of answering the population questionnaire that is filled out once every ten years.
The co-director of Ilé, Inc./Organizers for Consciousness-in-Action, María I. Reinat Pumarejo, explained that they launched an awareness campaign that year intended to refute the claim that 80.4% of the residents of Puerto Rico are white.
"Since childhood we're taught that Puerto Ricans are a mix of three races- Taíno, Spanish, and African- so we're not only white. The Census does not represent the reality of Puerto Rico, according to it, we're whiter than the United States and various European countries," said Reinato Pumarejo.
It's because of this that the entity carries out small activities in various town to remind people about their grandmothers. "Regardless of how light your skin is, everyone has that black grandmother, great-grandmother, or great-great-grandmother," said Reinat Pumarejo, echoing that famous saying by the poet Fortunato Vizcarrondo, "¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?".
The community organizer explained that her campaign is aimed at not limiting people to choosing between black or white when filling out their race in the questionnaire. Some of the options Ilé recommends are choosing a combination of the options or filling out the "Other" box with the race with which the person identifies. The latter option was validated by the area manager of the Puerto Rican office of the Bureau of the Census, Fabián Sánchez, who urged citizens to write whatever race they wish.
"What we want is for the Census to properly represent our race and to show that these racial labels don't apply to Puerto Rico," said Reinat Pumarejo.
Source (In Spanish)