What ethnicities are politically important/tracked in your area?

A recent thread inquired into the seemingly odd practice of asking people in the US what their ethnicity is, but only giving them the choices of “Hispanic/Latino” or “not Hispanic/Latino”. As mentioned by many posters and as is clearly obvious, the social/sociological/anthropological concepts of ethnic identity go far beyond that and there are many many communities that “qualify” somehow as an ethnic group but where the government seemingly doesn’t care whether or not any of its citizens belong to them, and certainly doesn’t give people Affirmative Action points or quota space based on membership or non-membership in them.

In the US, the categories seem to be pretty much universal throughout the country and don’t take into account local demographics. If I move to a small, rural town in Louisiana, I’m not going to get a formal “minority” label for not being Cajun. I’m certainly not going to get quota points (e.g. hiring quotas, enrollment quotas, etc.) for pointing out the varied families that contributed to my DNA. “Wow, down here in the Louisiana Bayou we never seen a real Pennsylvania Dutch person before. Here, have a minority scholarship. Oh, and no employer will fire you short of committing a major crime because they are afraid of being accused of persecuting minorities. The store down the street once hired an Estonian guy who sort of wandered into town and fired him three weeks later for poor performance, the guy sued, and the store had to admit that in the past 10 years it had fired 100% of their Estonian staff, not good.”

What ethnicities are generally tracked in your area? To what extent is ethnic identity important there in a legal, economic, and/or political sense, as opposed to a cultural sense?

Reported for move to IMHO.

Tracking minorities is forbidden in France. You can’t keep data that mention people’s ethnicity (not even a hand-written file, and not even with the person’s agreement). Not even (perhaps especially not) for official purpose (like a census).
FTR, as a result of the use of the “Jew’s files” during WWII.

Moved from GQ to IMHO.


Aussie here - usually the question is about being yes or no - Aboriginal /Torres Straight Islander or if the language spoken at home is not English.

Ethnic-Chinese Thais pretty much rule politics and big business in Thailand.

As far as I can tell, the Spanish government doesn’t track ethnicity at any levels. Any statistics involving ethnicity are from private parties, and by that I don’t mean private pollsters but groups such as the African Association of Álava (which I don’t even know if it exists). Nationality and place of birth are tracked, but neither national origin nor nationality at time of birth.

Can you be a Torres Gay Islander too :slight_smile: ?

yep :smack: trust me to stuff up that spelling :smack:


Your mention of “Torres Straight Islander” raises an interesting point regarding the classification and naming of ethnic groups. From a US perspective, I could move to Staten Island and become a “Staten Islander”, to one of the US Virgin Islands and become a “Virgin Islander”, or to Kodiak Island and become a “Kodiak Islander” without implying that I have strong ancestral ties to the place or even have any connection other than currently living there. What do they call a white person who moves to an island in the Torres Strait?

Well, here they want to know if you support Alabama or Auburn. I tell them I support which ever one is playing against Michigan.

I’m in the US and I have to agree with the OP - it seems like you only count if you are black, white, or Hispanic/Latino. They don’t count/track any kind of Asian, which makes me a little bit sad. Don’t we count, too? Don’t our opinions matter? Hell, don’t you want to know if a bunch of us have suddenly moved in?

Apparently not. :frowning:

What do you mean “they don’t count/track any kind of Asian”? From Wikipedia:

In Dutch elementary schools, the choice is “language spoken at home Dutch/ Non-Dutch”.

For adults, the government information leaflets usually are available in Dutch, English and -untill a few years ago- in Arab and Turkish.

OUr “problem youth” generally is Moroccan/Antilles/Dutch. Our organized crime is mostly Dutch/Turkish. Our exploited under caste is illegal aliens from all over the world.
Immigrants from our former colonies, (mixed) Indonesians and Surinams, are now in their third generation and have fully assimilated.

I don’t think we have official quota. If people feel discriminated against, they can tell some agency and that agency reports on it once a year, in other words nothing happens.

It is possible to have two nationalities, so, two passports. Then your nationality will be listed in your passport and I assume in some database.

Sorry, I was a bit too brief. I meant, specifically on the forms* we get around here, there’s never an option for Asian.

*Off the top of my head, I’m thinking things like Nielson ratings, surveys, stuff like that.

I did not mean to imply that no one in the US ever tracks Asians. My bad.

The biggest ethnic population in my immediate area is Portuguese and Brazilian. Some are recent immigrants and others are second or third generation. They don’t fit into any standard category. They aren’t technically Hispanic or Latino even though there are some cultural similarities but they also aren’t just average white Americans either (many of the Brazilians aren’t white at all). They have their own ethnic communities and towns that they live in.