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Unformatted text preview: Journal of Language and Politics 3:3 (2004), 507534 . issn 15692159 / e-issn 15699862 JohN BENjamINS PublIShINg CompaNy Racializing language A hIStory of lINguIStIc IdEologIES IN thE U CENSuS* JENNIfEr LEEmaN GEorgE MaSoN UNIvErSIty TIS artIclE buIldS oN rESEarch oN INStItutIoNal laNguagE polIcIES aNd practIc- ES, aNd oN StudIES of thE lEgItImIzatIoN of racIal catEgorIES IN cENSuS data col- lEctIoN, IN aN ExploratIoN of laNguagE IdEologIES IN thE U CENSuS. t tracES thE chaNgES IN laNguagE-rElatEd quEStIoNS IN thE two cENturIES of dEcENNIal SurvEyS, coNtExtualIzINg thEm wIthIN a dIScuSSIoN of chaNgINg polIcIES aNd pattErNS of ImmIgratIoN aNd NatIvISm, aS wEll aS EvolvINg hEgEmoNIc NotIoNS of racE. t IS arguEd that thE U CENSuS haS hIStorIcally uSEd laNguagE aS aN INdEx of racE aNd aS a mEaNS to racIalIzE SpEakErS of laNguagES othEr thaN NglISh, coNStructINg thEm aS ESSENtIally dIFErENt aNd thrEatENINg to U cultural aNd NatIoNal IdENtIty. Keywords: CENSuS, racE, racIalIzatIoN, NatIoNal IdENtIty, laNguagE IdEology CENSuSES play a kEy rolE IN thE dENItIoN of NatIoNal aNd group IdENtItIES, aNd thEy arE cloSEly lINkEd to thE aSSIgNatIoN aNd lEgItImatIoN of polItIcal powEr. REcENt StudIES of thE U CENSuS havE INvEStIgatEd thE wayS IN whIch thE dE- lINEatIoN of ocIal racE catEgorIES haS both rEEctEd hEgEmoNIc IdEologIES of dIFErENcE aNd bEEN ImplIcatEd IN thE lEgal aNd SocIal racIalIzatIoN of pEoplE markEd aS dIFErENt (E.g., oblES ; RodrguEz ). HowEvEr, StudIES of ocIal racIal IdENtItIES gENErally havE Not lookEd at thE rolE of laNguagE aNd laNguagE IdEologIES, a lacuNa whIch thIS ExamINatIoN of thE U CENSuS laN- guagE quEStIoNS IS dESIgNEd to addrESS. AS thIS aNalySIS wIll Show, hEgEmoNIc IdEologIES of laNguagE, aNd of thE rElatIoNShIpS amoNg laNguagE, racE, aNd Na- tIoNal IdENtIty, havE playEd aN ImportaNt rolE IN thE U CENSuSS ocIal coN- StructIoN of dIFErENcE. 508 Jennifer Leeman Te present study builds on research regarding the relationship of insti- tutional policies and practices to language ideologies (e.g., Silverstein 1996; Woolard 1998), and on historical examinations of language ideologies in the US (e.g., BonFglio 2002; Pavlenko 2002; Ricento 1998; Wiley 2000), as well as on studies of the legitimization of racial categories in census data collection (e.g., Kertzer and Arel 2002; Nobles 2000; Rodrguez 2000). My interrelated goals are to explore how the US Census has reected and propagated speciFc ideologies of language, and to contribute to an understanding of ocial con- structions of race and of American identity. Because debates over immigra- tion and citizenship policies (like censuses) play a key role in the race-making process (Carter, Green and Halpern 1996), I contextualize the examination of language questions within a discussion of changing policies and patterns of im- migration and nativism, as well as evolving hegemonic notions of race. I argue that the US Census has historically used language as an index of race and as a...
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- Spring '97