In the loop survey, a question wrecks my mind:

Which racial background(s) do you identify with? Please select all that apply. (optional)

Note that this survey has been updated; the original version had far fewer options which staff explained was a mistake.

Of course I selected Other: Human as an answer. Yes I identify as such.

This question feels so USA-centric. The USA has a huge problem with race. I don't deny it and we are not here to fix it. I know that as an American company SE has to follow the US law, but as far as I know they don't have to follow this kind of trend. The USA is not the only country with this racist behavior, but here it really feels like a case of Americentrism:

Americentrism is the tendency among some Americans to assume the culture of the United States is more important than those of other countries or to judge foreign cultures based on the standards within their own. It refers to the practice of viewing the world from an overly US-focused perspective, with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of American culture

In fact, in my own country, racist questions like this are one of the biggest taboos. You. Just. Don't. It feels so wrong in so many aspects.

We don't do that here.

I know we can't please every culture. I just hope that SE Inc will keep in mind that their community come from all around the world.

Quite related to: Allow users to set custom date formats

  • 44
    I wondered if I should answer White or Hispanic being a white european / hispanic / spaniard. I joked a bit myself alone when they asked me that question. My mother family comes from France and my father has probably arabian gens, but I look white or pinky on a glass so I answeed White European because I am europeist :) – user657339 Nov 26 '19 at 10:53
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    @Universal_learner Exactly. What about someone from Martinique? Are they less European than someone from Bavaria? This is f*cked up. – aloisdg Nov 26 '19 at 11:01
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    @Universal_learner, I know that the question has since been edited to include the option now, but the screenshot shown was also from the time that if you were of African descent, there wasn't even an option for you. Race seems to be a pivotal thing for Americans, and focusing on perceived races (whether with good or bad intentions) usually ends up dividing communities by group characteristics, and I'm not a fan of that – Kyle Fairns Nov 26 '19 at 11:02
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    @KyleFairns I think that's the most offensive thing here, that African isn't even an option. Like Africans don't exist, while they come from a bloody huge continent and have been much discriminated against already. This is a screw-up of major proportions. – Mast Nov 26 '19 at 11:05
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    @Rob I have never been asked such a question outside the Americas (and for good reasons). And I've visited plenty of countries. The question is very much American, though not restricted to the US. – Servaes Nov 26 '19 at 11:47
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    I hope the evaluation of the survey results isn't just non-white + bad experience == racial issues on SE/SO or non-male + bad experience == gender issues on SE/SO. – Tom Nov 26 '19 at 11:56
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    @Rob "Where are you from?" and "What race are you?" are very different questions. In the last question you link, asking "Where are you from originally?" suggests asking about race as well. And guess what; the question is asked by someone from the US. – Servaes Nov 26 '19 at 12:04
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    Talking about ethnicity can be relevant in a specific IPS or travel thread. Flagging people by race in a wide SE survey is utterly racist and should be call as such. – aloisdg Nov 26 '19 at 12:15
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    I totally concur. Seeing this kind of question makes me cringe. It's intention can only be to put people in boxes; it gives means to further discrimination. It's even less relevant than what religion a person has or what sexual identity they possess etc. It can only be used to discriminate... and often there's no clear answer. And even then: the answers are totally irrelevant to what is discussed in a knowledge-exchange site. One should ask what people care about. Not what they look like. – planetmaker Nov 26 '19 at 12:28
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    If my forefathers were kicked out of Spain in 1492, does that make me "Hispanic Descent"? Also "European Descent" for another part of my family running away from the Khmelnitsky pogroms in the 1650s, most definitely "Middle-eastern" for getting exiled in 70CE. No, wait, the Nazis who were so very keen on "race" were also quite explicit on us being a separate race, no matter where we came from. I guess I'm "other". – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Nov 26 '19 at 12:48
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    @ColeValleyGirl Notice the difference in the UK "ethnicity" questions - they include cultural origin and don't pretend that everyone with the same skin colour is the same. – user56reinstatemonica8 Nov 26 '19 at 13:27
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    @Rob assuming good faith is the way to go, but I want them to know that this question is wrong in other culture. We, as a community, are not constrain by America's racist culture. – aloisdg Nov 26 '19 at 13:48
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    @Rob This is a bit of a strawman. I am not saying that people leaving there are racists. A racist culture developed and rose there. This is a place where it is normal to identify people by race. I dont think that people at SE Inc are racists. I want to highlight that this question, as is, is racist. If it is fine in America, it is not in other part of the world. – aloisdg Nov 26 '19 at 16:50
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    This isn't how all of America thinks, either. This sort of hyper-attention to race is a subset of American culture. It just seems like it's everybody, because that subset is making all the noise. – Ask About Monica Nov 26 '19 at 17:04
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    @Rob What point are you trying to make? That there are racist slurs outside the US? There are racist slurs everywhere, obviously. The point is that in the US, as opposed to most of the rest of the world, it is normal and acceptable to identify people by race, and to ask about someone's race in a survey. Such institutionalized racism is reminiscent of the Nazi and Fascist regimes of the 30s and 40s in some parts. It is therefore quite offensive to many people to talk about race in such a way. – Servaes Nov 27 '19 at 8:04

It's not that they're America-centered - they're self-centered.

Part of the SE Inc. staff seem to have enclosed themselves in a bubble, possibly with some peers and friends on social media. In that bubble, there are different laws of nature, of society and of logic...

  • They decide what people care about;
  • They decide which public phenomena occur and which do not;
  • They decide what problems people on SE are facing;
  • Only what they believe should be done about it, can be done at all.

So it stands to reason that their preconceptions define what race is and what the recognized races are. (And that a race question should be on a survey. And that this survey and the "loop" mechanism is what's missing right now, which is really not the case).

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    Well, it's actually kind of American-centric. I recall that some 20 years ago I was in the US and went with a friend who had to take the SSN. The form he had to fill asked the race. We were like: What?! Are they kidding? At the end he had to ask the office clerk what race he had to write, because we had no idea. – Massimo Ortolano Nov 26 '19 at 17:22
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    @MassimoOrtolano: It's only American-centric because they're from the US and it's fashionable to make everything about race in pseudo-progressive US politics right now. BTW - In Germany and the Netherlands, you need to supply your date-of-birth on all sorts of completely irrelevant forms. – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 17:25
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    @einpoklum-reinstateMonica A detail: date-of-birth (and place of birth) are important for the identity (and not that of "identity politics", but the technical process of identifying a person). Saying "I'm Hans Müller" is not enough. "I'm Hans Müller, born 1970-10-20 in Berlin" narrows this down sufficiently. Beyond that, I think that this whole concept of "race" doesn't make much sense in the end, but the fact that it does not make sense does not mean that the concept does not exist (and its existence causes all sorts of troubles...) – Marco13 Nov 26 '19 at 17:37
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    @Marco13: 1. They shouldn't need to ID you that much (if at all). 2. email is sufficient to distinguish between people, and if you want to be old-school than plain mailing address. – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 17:42
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    It is very easy to enter a bubble if you keep a score on your blocking ratio. – roberrrt-s Nov 26 '19 at 18:29
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    @roberrrt-s Didn't they say that anyone who leaves because of irreconcilable disagreements with them is "good riddance"? Actively wrapping themselves in a bubble of people who think just like them. And then turning the bubble into an echo-chamber. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Nov 26 '19 at 22:09
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    @GalastelsupportsGoFundMonica: Sarah Chipps retweeted something like that, yes. But - don't mix up my metaphors... bubbles don't echo :-P – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 22:17
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    @einpoklum-reinstateMonica: Your birthday determines whether you're 13+, 16+ or 18+, which directly affects how Europeans business may interact with you. The GDRP contains an explicit "Data is needed to satisfy a legal obligation" rule. Race on the other hand is pretty much the opposite. Since there's no legal need for that data, you need a very pressing concern to even ask about it. – MSalters - reinstate Monica Nov 29 '19 at 9:00
  • @MSalters-reinstateMonica: When your age is relevant, you're right. But why does, day, a hotel need to know my birth date - after I've already booked and paid and am now checking in? – einpoklum Nov 29 '19 at 9:20
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    I would love an official answer from one of the staff behind this survey. I will accept this answer for now, because it is the most credible answer. – aloisdg Nov 29 '19 at 9:58
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    @aloisdgsaysReinstateMonica: My answer is also an explanation of why you are unlikely to get such an answer. – einpoklum Nov 29 '19 at 10:08
  • @einpoklum-reinstateMonica indeed. – aloisdg Nov 29 '19 at 10:32
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    Someone needs to tell the USA that prior to the 16th century no concept like that which we know today as "race" existed and from the 16th to the 21st centuries the concept has gone through quite a few re-edits. It is early-Modern pseudo-scientific babble, convenient for those who wanted to justify the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Southern Plantations. Any "White" American might benefit from understanding that they are not "White" at all, never have been and trying to divide the world's population into "White" and "not-White" does literally no-one any favours. – Rounin Nov 29 '19 at 14:46
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    @einpoklum-reinstateMonica: wrt. why German hotels ask for your date of birth: because they are required by law (gesetze-im-internet.de/bmg/__30.html) (which doesn't answer the obvious follow-up question why the law thinks they should ask this) – cbeleites unhappy with SX Dec 5 '19 at 16:37
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    @cbeleitessupportsMonica: It's funny how Germany is at the same time concerned about data privacy and concerned about you providing them with a bunch of private data. It's also a nightmare to register a SIM card. – einpoklum Dec 5 '19 at 16:55

This sort of thing is annoying even to Americans. I am part of an "invisible" ethnic group here in the USA. Anthropologists and sociologists generally admit that we exist, and sometimes even describe qualitative ways that they understand us to be different than others, but hard quantitative data is sorely lacking. If I want to see how my "people" are doing in terms of gaining higher education, avoiding incarceration, improving life expectancy, not eating the purple berries, etc., the data simply isn't there - we are lumped in with other people who are quite different from us, have different cultural practices, tend to talk differently, etc.

For a while, I've wanted to solve this by simply adding survey options so that "my" people become one of the options. That isn't really a solution, because where does it end? There are hundreds of ethnic, cultural, religious, social, sociopolitical, etc. groups here and elsewhere that are advantaged and/or disadvantaged in some way, and there are always divisions within a group that may trigger a desire to add even more options. I know someone who is descended from Québécois who moved to New England in the early 20th century and who considers himself distinct from the Acadiens of Maine and the Cajun of Louisiana in a "not my people" sense. How many "French-American" groups do we need on the form?

The problem does not end there. People who have emigrated from Africa to the USA have told me that they do not feel "African-American" or even understand African-American culture, cuisine, linguistics, etc. Does that mean we need to split the form to contain "African-American" and "African-African" options? "Africa" isn't homogeneous - does someone from Ethiopia living in one of Washington DC's ethnic Ethiopian neighborhoods feel the same way about where the widget industry is going as a Congolese engineering student attending Texas A&M? If so, what does that even mean? What would you do with such data? What about that Moroccan chef in Miami? Is he even "African" at all, or is he Arab? What is Arab anyway? If he claims to be neither African nor Arab, but a member of the "Happy Fun Rainbow People", do we accept that at face value or do we require him to provide evidence of cultural rituals, a documented history, etc.?

The reality is that the sort of data gathered by the form above has little meaning. Why was it even selected? What do you hope to gain from it? If the answer is "We don't know" or "Everyone else was using this survey question, so we did too", then you have your answer right there - there's no point to it. If you gather garbage data then your results will naturally be garbage.

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    You raise an important point here. With bad question, you get useless answers and make awful decision. Data-driven ... the wrong way. By the way, sorry that this overly racist culture of classifying people like this exist where you live. – aloisdg Nov 26 '19 at 16:54
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    Take it as a sign from the gods you should not be filling out that survey :-P – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 17:27
  • What does "not eating the purple berries" refer to? My search skills aren't good enough to find out on my own. – Daniel Fischer Nov 27 '19 at 12:52
  • @DanielFischer youtube.com/watch?v=je8MZPSAEws – Robert Columbia Nov 27 '19 at 12:53
  • I see. I even know the Simpsons. Thanks. – Daniel Fischer Nov 27 '19 at 12:58
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    I've often wondered: how far could a "white" US citizen born in South Africa get with calling himself (legitimately based on the actual words) "African American" for "affirmative action" purposes - e.g., scholarships, preferred admission to schools, jobs, etc. Which would be stupid, but could easily happen because this country has a thing against actually saying "black" (which really isn't correct either, because "black" skin color isn't exclusively from Africa, and isn't actually "black" but just a rather dark shade of brown, but which is clearly what is meant by "African American"). – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Nov 27 '19 at 16:05
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    @manassehkatz-ReinstateMonica Probably quite far if he (they? Hope nobody sees...) wanted to; an ex-colleague of mine was able to take advantage of an affirmative action program because he was born in Botswana, when his parents were on (Christian) mission there for two years. He has no relation to the African continent other than having lived there for the first few months of his life (in a compound). – Servaes Nov 27 '19 at 21:01
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    Yeah, somehow the EU has 28 different nations with at least 28 different racial sub-groups, but they're all clumped together as "white"... – JonathanReez Nov 28 '19 at 21:29
  • @JonathanReezSupportsMonica Well... The experience of that differs, if you happen to be, say, a former yugoslav living in, say, Sweden. The differentness is certainly there, but at least it is not government imposed. It is interesting that in Europe, religion has been the historically important factor for hostility. Catholics, protestants, heretics, pagans, jews, muslim. – StianY Nov 29 '19 at 10:39
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    That's precisely where "White" and "Black" comes from though, isn't it? Right up to 16th century it's easy to distinguish between the righteous, superior Christians from Christendom (ie. Europe) and the faithless, inferior pagans. But then things get messy because trade expands early Modern Missionaries are doing well spreading the good word. Suddenly Christian and Heathen aren't such good indicators of superiority and inferiority any more. So two new concepts emerge to replace them. Yes, it's "White" and "Black"! Now you can be a Christian from Africa and still be inferior. – Rounin Nov 29 '19 at 14:55
  • @Robert Columbia: The je8MZPSAEws video is not available. What was its title, etc.? – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q May 24 '20 at 13:31

I am an Australian of British descent, and I would not answer a question that required me to identify as White. I used Other rather than tick the first checkbox.

I see many US Census records and have never understood why the colour of a person's skin should be asked.

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    In countries where race is a political hot point they use these types of questions to ensure affirmative action and the like is enforced. – Beyers Nov 26 '19 at 11:30
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    @Beyers In Australia it is an option to identify with an ethnicity. Skin color is not used to name them. – PolyGeo Nov 26 '19 at 11:50
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    @PolyGeo Ethnicity and race are two vastly different concepts. It seems the Australian census bureau understands this, but the makers of the loop survey do not. – Servaes Nov 26 '19 at 11:55
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    @PolyGeo regarding the state-issues census I think I can think of at least one reason why ethnic profiling could be relevant: it can help the state to decide which infrastructure is the most helpful for its citizens. Sadly there is a correlation between wealth, ethnicity, safety, etc. in ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods. Also maybe to get accurate statistics on voting figures and eligibility, and thus help prevent discrimination at voting time (which is definitely a thing in the US). But that's just speculation really. – Mena Nov 26 '19 at 13:58
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    Please don't take that survey. – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 16:54
  • Or take the survey but ensure the answers you give can not help them bias this towards race, gender or age ... – Rory Alsop Nov 26 '19 at 19:43
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    Race and ethnicity are actually separate categories in the US (at least in the healthcare space). But you only get 3 options for ethnicity: "Hispanic/Latino", "Not Hispanic/Latino", or "Refused to answer." I know that for race, there are multiple tiers that the CDC (and I think FQHC's) have been trying mandate that orgs collect that seem less racist (eg they actually go into specific tribal memberships for first nation/inuit, and you can select more than one option). They still roll up to an upper tier (eg, English->European->white). cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/Race_Ethnicity_CodeSet.pdf – yhyrcanus Nov 26 '19 at 20:00
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    @ShadowThePrincessWizard Slavery was a part of many countries' histories, right? – Redwolf Programs Nov 27 '19 at 22:14
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    I used other and wrote "I object to this question". – RedSonja Nov 28 '19 at 7:35

I fail to see any reason why profiling questions are included.

The purpose (we were told) of "the loop" is to tell SE what we think. The ethnic or economic status or sex of people telling them this should not matter.

The obvious question then is will SE Inc ignore or give different weight to opinions of different ethic, economic, social or geopolitical groups?

I'd have to assume "yes" would be the answer or there would be no purpose in them asking at all.

What has this ...

We’re going to be sharing our product development process with you, from feedback loops to timelines. We’ll be doing so through our new series – The Loop. You can give us your thoughts on what you’d like to see us do by filling out this survey: Through the Loop

... got to do with gathering profiling information on who answers?

This seems quite at odds with all the high words we hear from SE Inc about openness and anti-discrimination.

Is this another in the series of "accidents" SE Inc management seem so prone to having, or is it simply more evidence of hypocrisy?

The very last thing that should be happening is a process that lets managements at SE gather information that could bias the inclusiveness of opinions expressed.

This is the opposite of open and transparent.

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    SE has stated, time and again, that they want (need to) make SO more welcoming for people of marginalized communities specifically. How do you propose they measure that otherwise? – mag Nov 26 '19 at 13:40
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    @mag This means SE will decide who is marginalized (and to which extent) based on a magical algorithm that takes into account your answers on gender, race and age. Don't know about that as a measure of measuring things. – dfhwze Nov 26 '19 at 13:50
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    @ReinstateMonica You can see me as far or extremist left and I agree with the idea of being welcoming to anybody doing at least some basic searching online. The problem here is that SE has a learning curve (not a steep one, but still) and per se not welcoming to beginner. This is not a bug this is a feature. SE can help easing the curve, but they are looking elsewhere (this survey, the CoC, etc.). Sexism, racism, ageism and any other form of discrimination should be banned. I dont want your gender. I dont want to know your age. I just want to help you fixing your problem. – aloisdg Nov 26 '19 at 14:19
  • I can think of a reason actually. – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 17:01
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    @mag, I'm not sure how much I trust them picking which marginalized communities are in need of additional welcoming when version 1.0 of the survey left out Black people entirely – Nate S. Nov 26 '19 at 17:28
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    What a weird obsession, so bizarre – brasofilo Nov 27 '19 at 1:01
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    @mag My viewpoint is that making people of any kind welcome is best achieved by specifically not drawing a distinction between people based on any categorization. So my view is that categorization is the problem, not the solution. Or to rephrase á la Mel Brooks : "Categories ? We don't need no stinking categories ". :-) The more you point out that a community needs special treatment, the more you marginalize it and define it as different. That's my view so measurement is counterproductive from that standpoint. – StephenG Nov 27 '19 at 2:28
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    @StephenG Categorization of people that identity ask question askers, answer providers, editors, queue monitors would actually be a much more meaningful way of gathering data for the welcome wagon. – dfhwze Nov 27 '19 at 6:01
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    I'm not making an argument either way but merely explaining why I think they do what they do. – mag Nov 27 '19 at 7:41
  • SE clearly has a hypothesis that folks from underrepresented groups have a worse experience / are less likely to use SO. There's also similar research and stats and stories regarding the tech industry as a whole. So now what? Either they can 1) collect data to determine whether or not there's a correlation and can make better informed decisions, or, 2) simply discard this hypothesis based on your belief that it "shouldn't" matter. – Em C Nov 27 '19 at 17:44
  • @EmC How effective can data analysis be done on a survey that does not ask the participant whether their experiences on the site are related to their race/gender/age? There is no way of correlating let alone finding causality with such surveys. – dfhwze Nov 27 '19 at 20:18
  • Given a data set that includes self-identified labels and ratings, you absolutely can calculate a correlation and error bars between those labels and ratings. If you want more details, perhaps try one of the relevant stacks (stats or datascience)? – Em C Nov 27 '19 at 20:28
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    @Magisch Wouldn't not knowing the race of the user at all make it even easier to not discriminate? The only way you could "not discriminate" is by giving all races/sexes the same say. – Redwolf Programs Nov 27 '19 at 22:21
  • How many of us truly know for sure our descent? I was asked by an oncologist if I was of ashkenazi jewish descent -- her concern was did I carry the BRACA genes. I started to say that I was of Swedish and Scottish descent, and then thought "How do I know what a greatgrandmother did with a guest one cold northern night?" So that's what I said. And I answered the SE question by saying I was part Neanderthal, which is a subspecies of Homo sapiens. – user540056 Nov 28 '19 at 2:38
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    @ab2ReinstateMonicaNow should have done the same given i have the blue eyes mutation and my cousins/uncles the redhead, so i'm probably carrying it too. Will keep it in mind for next genetically-powered survey. – CptEric Nov 28 '19 at 11:39

Let me talk for a minute about the problem of being "other". It seems like such a neutral word, doesn't it? "I happen to not fit into those above categories, no harm done". When you're the "other" once, it's no harm done. But listen to me as someone who for 2000 years has been the "other", and suffered for being the "other".

When monotheism was still this newfangled thing, we were the "other". The Greeks came in with their surveys of what we call our sun-god and war-god and so on, like they did in any place they conquered, and we marked "other" on their papers, and had idols installed in our Temple, and were executed for refusing to bow to it.

When Christianity and Islam came by, we were the "other". Come the crusaders, the Inquisition, the Farhud, forced conversions, 1492 - exiled from Spain, 1650s - massacred in Ukraine. On the map of the Old World, there isn't a single place where we haven't been exiled from at least once.

Come Enlightenment, and scientific theories, religion is no longer important. Now we talk of race. And again we are the "other". It doesn't matter if for the past few centuries we lived in Europe or Asia or Africa. It doesn't matter if our skin is pale or brown or dark. It doesn't matter what god we worship, or if we worship any god at all. A drop of our blood is a contaminant unto the third generation. We are a race of our own, the "other" race. I'm not even sure what "race" is, seems like utter pseudo-science to me, but sure enough this pseudo-science was twisted to make us a special and distinct "other".

We are always the "other", the one that isn't recognised, the one that has no right to be. Make no mistake - "other" means "we don't know what you are", and from there it's one easy step to "we don't recognise you", "we do not accept you". In surveys, "other" usually equals "the ones we don't care about, so we threw them into one big box".

There are other "other"s among us - other groups who struggle for recognition, for rights, for whatever. The way we welcome others is we don't try to fit them into neat little boxes devised by someone who thinks he knows better. If for some reason SE wants to know about our nationality or ethnicity, or some other demographic, they can make it an open question. Don't tell us where we "should" belong - let us tell you where we do belong.

And for the love of everything you hold dear, don't use the word "race". That thing is abhorrent to the core.

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    I chose "Middle East". – Zev Spitz Nov 26 '19 at 13:57
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    Wow, you're 2,000 years old? :-P ... More seriously though, religious identity is not "racial" identity. That is, Nazi policy to the contrary, you don't switch "races" if you convert to Judaism, nor are Jews of a single "race" (in the sense that, say, there are light-skinned Slav Jews and dark-skinned African Jews and so on). – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 17:03
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    And similar things happen within this group. In Israel today, Sephardim and Mizrachim are sometimes considered "others", "ethnics", or "technically with us but not really like us". Beta Israel is sometimes considered completely "other". – Robert Columbia Nov 26 '19 at 17:03
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    It's even worse than you describe. My wife and I never had children, so our single friends couldn't relate to us anymore, and the married with children couples don't relate to us either. My pastor once told a story of how he walked down a street in Jerusalem, and watched two Hasidic Jews pass each other in the street without so much as an acknowledgement to each other. When he asked about that, he was told "oh, one of them had a different number of hair curls, right? They're from two different Jewish sects that hate each other." – user102937 Nov 26 '19 at 18:58
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    @RobertHarvey You realize that 1) non-acknowledgement while walking down the street is not necessarily a symptom of "hate", and 2) "hate" is a little strong when describing strong disagreement (everybody on Meta "hates", right? 😊) . I would suggest also that you're hearing the explanation filtered through a number of layers, each of which might add it's own "other"-style sediment; either party directly involved might have provided different perspectives. (NB a different number of hair curls -- to my knowledge it's only ever two or none; nobody sports three or five for example.) – Zev Spitz Nov 26 '19 at 19:56
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    @einpoklum-reinstateMonica Jews are a classic example of an ethno-religious group. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnoreligious_group Other such groups include the Druze and the Yazidis. Consider: we think of ourselves as "a people", right? All our religious stories are about what happened to our forefathers - an ethnic element. And when someone converts to Judaism, one becomes one of the people - he joins not only in the religious worship, but in the heritage. I don't know if that constitutes "race", I'm not clear on what "race is", but we're certainly as much ethnic group as religious. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Nov 26 '19 at 20:04
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    @ColumbiasaysReinstateMonica Yeh, we should really try to be better at this whole "one people" thing. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Nov 26 '19 at 20:09
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    "We think of ourselves as a people, right?" <- No. We don't, and we aren't. That conflation of religion and nationality is a recent development due to Zionism. Also, most of the history of our forefathers is actually culturally erased by the Israeli education system. I was taught nothing about the Jewish communities in my grandparents' countries of origin. – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 20:09
  • @ZevSpitz: It's not my story. – user102937 Nov 26 '19 at 20:15
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    @GalastelsupportsGoFundMonica: Yeah, well, we absolutely aren't. The main "sources" of Jewish communities are the Khazarian kingdom, North-African converts, the kingdom of Khimyar, and "miscellaneous immigrants and converts". Also, an Egypt exodus never happened. – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 20:35
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    @GalastelsupportsGoFundMonica: I disagree, but we're getting way off topic... – einpoklum Nov 26 '19 at 20:46
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    @RobertHarvey Never said it was, and I apologize if I came across a little strong. (Although technically, you did retweet it 😊 ). But the interpretation of "two strangers passing by without acknowledging each other" as "two people who only see the Other" disturbs me, especially when from my perspective it's a very shallow view. OTOH I think the (mis)interpretation itself -- and the ease with which that interpretation is accepted -- is a powerful example of "other"-style treatment -- an innocent encounter becomes a demonstration of hatred because the participants are "other". – Zev Spitz Nov 26 '19 at 21:19
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    @terdon-stopharmingMonica Antiochus IV Epiphanes issued decrees forbidding Jewish religious practice, pillaged the Temple and instituted worship of Greek gods inside it. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes As for "surveys", that was a little tongue-in-cheek, but the Greeks, as well as the Romans later, were very quick to incorporate aspects of local gods into their similar gods and vice versa. If you have many gods, adding one more, or adding one more aspect to an existing god, doesn't present too much of a problem. Monotheism proved problematic in this regard. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica Nov 27 '19 at 12:17
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    @RobertHarvey, Honestly asking, how is your pastor's story related? – gdoron is supporting Monica Nov 30 '19 at 22:07
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    I select every single options, none of the options, and a custom option. I refuse to be part of their data collection metric, so I will be part of every metric, and every decision. – Ramhound Dec 10 '19 at 15:38

As this whole situation recently (since the CoC update) has shown, they aren't just Americacentric, they are Silicon-Vallycentric. As James Damore pointed out, this type of thinking isn't specific to SO.

The staff have to remember that not only do ~50% of people in their own country not have the same political/social views as them, this gap is likely to widen when you consider their global reach.

SO currently wants maximum diversity, so long as you agree with their definition of diversity. Diversity of thought is not welcome in the People's Democratic Republic of Stack Overflow (PDRSO, which I now refer to it by to reflect their blatant suppression of any dissenting thought and opinion).

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    Plot twist: China actually owns SE, via some sock puppet companies. :D – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Nov 27 '19 at 15:39
  • @ShadowThePrincessWizard: Does it really? – einpoklum Dec 4 '19 at 20:12
  • @MikeS159: I see it on some US media, and from US politicians, few of which are from Silicon Valley. – einpoklum Dec 4 '19 at 20:14
  • @einpoklum-reinstateMonica - Let's just hope that Pipe Piper and/or Genaro Network doesn't have ownership into Stack Exchange. Anyone who saw the series finale will understand this comment. – Ramhound Dec 10 '19 at 15:31
  • But Stack Exchange is not routed in Silicon Valley at all. None of the founders or first employees have worked at a typical Silicon Valley company, big or small (though Jeff Atwood worked in California, it never had any significant influence). It is more of an online company with a bias towards Microsoft (not in Silicon Valley), though there is a sense of it becoming more or more New York centric. But New York is not Silicon Valley. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q May 24 '20 at 13:49
  • Jeff Atwood worked at a small Microsoft consultancy before becoming a full-time blogger and later co founded Stack Overflow. – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q May 24 '20 at 13:59

This is now the list.

enter image description here

This is a bit better, but I cannot answer the question neither as I am from Spain; I am both hispanic and european descent.


The term Hispanic (Spanish: hispano or hispánico) refers to the people that originate from, or reside, in Hispanic America, or from Spain. Hispanic, Wikipedia

Also I know you call southamericans latins, but truely French, Spanish, Italian, Rumanian and Portugues languages are latin, so this list may have sense in US, but not in Europe.

I don't have any trouble of sharing my personal data for statics with the community that helped me on programing learning proccess freely, but if you are going to classify us, classify us well. Big Data only works if data is correct, if not it is a waste of time.

Edit I want to add this list is unfair with arabian people. There is not an option for arabians while arabians contributed to development of mathematics, the basis behind code.

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    And neither can answer it portuguese, italian or greek people, unless SE intends to reunite "the empire where the sun never sets" or to tell them they're swedish now. Nor turkish, Nor balcanic.... – CptEric Nov 27 '19 at 9:30
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    @CptEric Greeks, Italians and Portuguese (and Spanish) all fit under "White or European descent". Silly as it may be, in English, the term "latino" refers to South Americans. Yes, it is horribly ignorant, but that's how it is. I agree that the entire question is both pointless and offensive, but "European" is one of the options, so that covers all of us down here. – terdon Nov 27 '19 at 10:54
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    @CptEric huh? This question is pointless, but all I am saying is that if we have a "European" category, then a Greek and a Finn are equally European. Of course they're not the same ethnic or "racial" groups, but they are European. That just doesn't mean anything, but then neither do any of the other groups on offer. And I know how diverse Europeans are. I have Greek, French, English, Scottish, US and Danish direct ancestors in the 4 generations above me. – terdon Nov 27 '19 at 11:03
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    yup but racial is on the question. they just need to review how they use language. Is this for a racial study? I am for open discussion, but the case of France is extremely relevant. There are a lot of blacks that have studied in a good university. that's more important than your colour skill. – user657339 Nov 27 '19 at 11:06
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    Exactly my point, if they are really that into knowing people's Race, which for me is culturally rude and irresponsible for a company to ask, European makes as sense as labeling us as Milkywayans. It adds no value, mixes origins, and basically treats the network as if we were crayons, ready to be color-labeled. – CptEric Nov 27 '19 at 11:11
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    @CptEric oh indeed. Absolutely agreed. None of these categories make any sense to me. I was just saying that "European", while completely uninformative, is broad enough to include both "Spanish" and "Greek". I have no idea why they would ask this question in the first place, however. – terdon Nov 27 '19 at 11:24
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    The question makes people "pick a side". That's the way to create discrimination, not the solution to it. – StephenG Nov 27 '19 at 12:04
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    Incidentally I am quite offended by the "white or of European decent" category. I've gone to school with and worked with and had as friends people who were not white and were definitely European. It's really, really racists to imply a connection between European and white skin color. Our national football team doesn't care what color you are (or what "decent" you're from), and neither do the fans. I just don't get this US obsession with race. – StephenG Nov 27 '19 at 12:13
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    this list may have sense in US, but not in Europe. - even in the States the distinction between the terms Latina/o and Hispanic is reasonably well understood, see vox.com/2015/8/19/9173457/hispanic-latino-comic for a primer on how the words are used there. So the survey should look broken even from a US point of view. Even the 2010 US census didn't treat hispanic/latino/latina as a race, it just asked, Is Person X of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? – dbc Nov 27 '19 at 17:52
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    @dbc when I was young spanish press told me at USA the most of student answered Spain is a region of Mexico on a survey. It is known a quote (I don't remember what general) "God created war so the americans learn geography". This would have have had sense on 20th century and a US context, I should have say. No sense in XXI century – user657339 Nov 27 '19 at 19:57
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    I think for Asian people is worst. East Asia, Center Asia? that's a race? ask it to a uigur. arabian is not even mentioned where arabians have historical studies on mathematics (this is mathematics on a computer) – user657339 Nov 27 '19 at 20:09
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    They also lumped together Native American, Pacific Islanders and Indigenous Australians together, even though they're on the opposite sides of the planet – Jo King Nov 28 '19 at 8:16
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    So, basically, this question has been put together by amateurs who appear to have a spectacularly weak grasp of any of the Social Sciences which discuss geo-cultural identity? – Rounin Nov 29 '19 at 15:05
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    So now it's a different question for different people taking the survey - and the questions are adjusted as answers come in and outside feeback is posted. This will make for splendidly valid statistics! – einpoklum Dec 4 '19 at 20:15
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    @Universal_learner: "South Asia"? Maybe that's like "South Hampshire"? ... also, the Middle East is also in Asia, and if you immigrated there from a Latin country, you could fit, well, 4 boxes easy. – einpoklum Dec 4 '19 at 20:23

In fact, in my own country, racist questions like this are one of the biggest taboos.

Yes it seems like the height of rudeness to me -- species, gender, nationality, marital status, and age, are all "protected" classifications.

You might forgive it in a government census, possibly not though.

Somebody's place of birth even is something a friend might tell you -- and it's warm, or very uncool, to ask.

You might as well make allowances for American sensibilities too, though -- if 'they' are at home with that kind of bureaucracy then, live and let live -- it's not like everybody is obliged to take part in it I guess.

Part of my objection I suppose it's that it's such a horrific question that it could bias the rest of the survey -- whatever else they're trying to ask will only be answered by people who are willing to answer that -- which (bias) makes the survey worthless IMO but then I'm not the person asking and I don't know why they are asking, maybe it helps someone to "check some boxes" somewhere.

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