Sunday, August 19, 2007


So I'm filling out the new patient questionnaires for our pediatric dentist... name... address... phone number... birthdate... sex (I'm pretty sure they meant gender)... race... WHAT? RACE? What pertinent information about my child's dental health could they possibly glean from knowing my child's race? And who in the hell can even narrow down their race to just one? The question is completely irrelevant. Which brings me back to my answer...race: human.


jen said...

I agree that a dentist probably doesn't need to have record of one's race, but you're not suggesting we ignore race in general, are you?

Melissa B. said...

oh no, definitely not. I know, for example, that our family doctor will benefit from knowing the ethnic heritage of my children due to diseases that are linked to different races. However, I think that when the question is on a generic form, it's assuming that they can know more about our demographic situation based on our answer. I believe they would receive more accurate information on our demographic by other indicators, like income level, education, vocation etc. Not to mention that the choices one is given to choose from are usually limited to caucasian, asian, latino, native American and black. Now maybe in my newer neighborhood here in the Midwest that's slightly more identifiable but I'm from San Diego and most people can't narrow down their race to one neat little category. In addition, the economic lines, political lines, religious lines etc. are not as distinctive between these so called different races so knowing someone's race isn't going to help a school district, dentist, or social program in any identifiable way. From experience I know that assumptions are made about my children when they see a certain "race" listed. As a mother, this bothers me. That's all.