Sunday, October 26, 2008

Did Rasmussen call you?

Rasmussen Reports called my home a few minutes ago... I guess the information I gave them will be folded into the next "Daily Presidential Tracking Poll."

Among the questions asked was one where my choices were:

African American
Asian American

Why isn't "American Indian" or "Native American" among the options?

I was asked a slew of questions about favorability, party affiliation, age, gender, education, issue I am most concerned with...

And the final question of "if the election were held today, who would you vote for? Press 1 for Obama, and 2 for McCain."

I pressed 1 for Obama. I am among First Americans for Obama.

I'm also following the campaign of Denise Juneau. She's running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Montana. Juneau is tribally enrolled with the Three Affiliated Tribes. Those tribes are the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. Juneau's opponent calls Juneau "a young Indian."

Did reading that last sentence give you pause? It should, but I'm not surprised if it didn't. Try substituting "a young Indian" with, say "a young Black." Her opponent is saying "Vote for me (white woman)! I'm running against a young Indian." Indian Country Today ran a piece on Juneau.

I've written before on this blog about Montana's Indian Education for All initiative. As director of Indian education in Montana, Juneau has oversight for the initiative. It is a model worth looking at.

I hope Ms. Juneau prevails.


Anonymous said...

How many options should there be? There are other groups left off. Why do you see it as some slight against Native Americans?

jpm said...

anonymous, The fact that some other groups (possibly yours?) were left off does not mean that Native American/American Indians should be. Considering which population has been on the North American continent the longest, leaving them off seems ignorant at best. Maybe the best answer to your question is "as many options as there are actual groups."

In some parts of the country (possibly not in yours) there is a sizable Native population so if the pollsters are collecting area-code data, they may get some mistaken numbers. Not that the poll is anything like scientific, anyway.

(It silences those who are backing Green or other third party candidates, as well.)

Kathleen said...

Hi Debbie,
I really despise surveys, polls, and forms that don't allow write-in answers. As you note, it's a terrible feeling to feel that there is no place for being who you are within a bureaucratic system.

The term "Other" is absolutely not a substitute, perpetuating as it does a centrist perspective. I am not Other-- you are not Other-- I know not one person who thinks of themselves as "Other." It is a divisive term that even the US census discarded in 2000.

Myself, I prefer write-in answers where I can define myself as I choose, and where others can too. This is particularly important in a multi-racial and multi-cultural society. It makes things hard for pollsters, perhaps, but it's much more accurate than the artificial classifications that no longer map to the way people think of themselves.

Thanks for all that you do to encourage conversation about these matters.