I received an email from Human Resources the other day, because I chose not to fill out the race section of my employee profile. Below you can see the original email, and my response.
From: XXXXXX XXXXXXX
Sent: Monday, July 25, 2011 5:21 PM
To: XXXXXX XXXXXXX
Subject: FW: Important HR Communication
XXXXXX is required by law to report the ethnicity of each of its employees to the federal government once per year. Currently, we have no record of your ethnicity on file and our reporting deadline is coming up. So that we can accurately report your ethnicity, please take a moment to indicate in a reply email the category(ies) relevant to you.
1 - White (Not Hispanic or Latino): A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
2 - Black or African American (Not Hispanic or Latino): A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
3 - Hispanic or Latino: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
4 - Asian (Not Hispanic or Latino): A person having origins in any of the peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.
5 - American Indian or Alaska Native (Not Hispanic or Latino): A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation of community attachment.
7 - Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (Not Hispanic or Latino): A person having origins in any of the peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
If you choose not to reply to this email, XXXXXX will still have to report your ethnicity to the government. To ensure the accuracy of that information, we ask for your assistance.
XXXXXX XXXXXXX Manager HR Operations
XXXXXX, XXXXXX XXXXXXX
From: Philip Aitken
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 10:02 AM
To: XXXXXX XXXXXXX
Subject: RE: Important HR Communication
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately I will be unable to assist you. I do not recognize the distinction of race as described in your email to be a valid one; or to be based on any firm scientific basis. On my census form I put the term, "human" when asked for race. Any other distinction based on the region where people of a similar skin color lived before globalization (unless their descendants speak the Spanish language) is at best meaningless and more likely harmful to the creation of a unified and peaceful world. If you chose to misrepresent me to the federal government, by suggesting my identity is tied to skin tone rather than internal character that is your own decision. I understand that your are required to do so by law, and do not wish to cause you undue difficulty, however, I cannot with good conscience participate. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
The names of both the person and company involved have been removed because I feel that not publishing information belonging to others should always be the default stance if it is irrelevant to the point you are making.