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Monkey Wrench The Racial System!


It seems that high school students are increasingly unwilling to accede to the demands of multiculturalism. A story in today’s Washington Post reports that last year more than one-quarter of kids taking the SAT refused to identify their race, nearly triple the percentage in 1996. (See the journal article that the Post story is based on here.) Apparently, this was unacceptable, because the SAT people have made it harder to skip the race question, and non-responses have fallen.

Be that as it may, this points to an interim strategy for those aspiring to a color-blind society. Until such time as federal law is changed (the Civil Rights Act, for instance, requires the government to determine who is and is not black), why not a civil disobedience campaign — refusing to answer race questions on the Census, mortgage applications, blood-donation forms, SAT applications, school enrolment questionnaires, etc., etc., etc. In some cases, the official you’re dealing with will just fill in the answer he thinks fits, but that’s no reason to go along.

Or you could put in the wrong answer: When I was in college, each semester we had to fill out a form updating our address, which also included a race and religion question. The first semester, I left it blank; next semester, I saw that the computer had entered the default settings, which were white/other Protestant (at Georgetown!). I corrected the religion entry, but by the next semester I got mad and started to change my race and religion each time — once I was a Puerto Rican Muslim, then a black Buddhist, and so on, and no one ever noticed. I’m sure it had no effect on anything, but it sure made me feel good.


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