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Required Resources

Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 9
  • Lesson
  • Link (website): https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/interactives/multiracial-timeline/
    • Click on the Social Trends tab.
    • Click on the Interactives tab.
    • Locate the following link: How Census Race Categories Have Changed Over Time
    • Click on "1790" to see two columns comparing the 1790 Census categories with the 2010 Census categories.
  • Minimum of 4 outside scholarly sources

In this week's lesson, you learned about the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent racial and ethnic categories. For this assignment, consider the racial and ethnic categories used in the 2010 Census with the four racial, ethnic, and gender categories used in the 1790 Census: Free white males, free white females, all other free persons, slaves (Pew Research Center, 2015). Analyze the concepts of race, ethnicity, and gender as social constructs, just as sociologists do, by addressing the following:

  1. Explain how you might have been categorized by the 1790 Census and how you would have been categorized by the 2010 Census.
  2. Compare and contrast the two potential categorizations and explain how this exercise shows that the concepts of race, ethnicity, and even gender change over time. Most importantly, explain how this exercise shows that the concepts of race, ethnicity, and gender are social constructs.
  3. Determine and describe what ethnic, racial, and/or gender categories, if any, would be best, in your view, for the 2020 Census or the 2030 Census, to most accurately show the diversity of the U.S. population. What categories would be best to reveal the segments of the U.S. population most vulnerable to racial, ethnic, and/or gender inequalities or discrimination? What categories could be listed in the 2020 Census or the 2030 Census that might best educate the U.S. population on differences between race and ethnicity? Explain your decisions.

Include headings for each of the three main sections of the paper:

  • What the Census Might Have Called Me
  • Social Constructs
  • Better Future Census Categories

Each of the three main sections of your paper must contain scholarly support in the form of quotes or paraphrases with respective citations from assigned reading (the textbook/lesson) andthe outside scholarly source that you identify on your own.

*This assignment is adapted from Glaser (2018).

Writing Requirements (APA format)

  • Length: 3-4 pages (not including references page)
  • 1-inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Running header in the upper left of all pages
  • Page number in the upper right of all pages
  • Minimum of 3 headings (centered, bold, & title case)
  • Parenthetical in-text citations included and formatted in APA style
  • References page (minimum of 4 outside scholarly sources plus the textbook/lesson)
  • Title page notrequired

This activity will be graded based on Essay (W5) Grading Rubric.

Course Outcomes (CO): 3, 4, 5, 6

Due Date: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Sunday


Pew Research Center. (2015, June 10). What Census calls us: A historical timeline. Retrieved from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/interactives/multiracial-timeline/

Glaser, L.B. (2018, May 10). Sociology department launches Active Learning Initiative project. Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved from http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2018/05/sociology-department-launches-active-learning-initiative-project

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