Cajuns and Creoles stand up: State has golden opportunity with census
Louisiana stands to pull in millions of dollars in previously unavailable federal funding for such things as educational programs like French immersion, hospitals, museums and other community-service projects thanks to a new question on census forms that will be distributed later this year. “Historically, we’ve not been able to tap into a lot of the funding that exists in the United States under the federal government because the United States doesn’t have a firm grasp on how many people in the United States, how many Americans culturally identify with Louisiana Creole and Cajun cultures,” says Christophe Landry of the World Studies Institute, a Lafayette non-profit that seeks to connect French speakers in Louisiana with the wider Francophone world.
But it will take a concerted effort by Louisiana’s Creole and Cajun communities to snag the money. A new question, No. 8 on the short form, covers cultural origins. The WSI is urging the state’s Creole and Cajun communities to check the last box in No. 8 — “Yes. Another Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin” — and then to write beneath it either “Lousiana Creole” or “Cajun.” For the first time, this will allow Uncle Sam to get a head count of the state’s Cajun and Creole populations, provided those groups don’t skip over question No. 8. “We’re pushing this particular census because it’s a window of opportunity,” Landry adds. “Up until 2010, there has never been a question related to culture, it’s only been race/ethnicity.”
The hitch is that many of Creole and Cajun descent may be inclined to skip over No. 8 on the census form because it appears to apply only to Hispanics. Kat Smith, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Dallas field office, says Congress decides what’s on the forms, the bureau simply counts heads. But, Smith adds, Creoles and Cajuns who hand-write their cultural identification on No. 8 will be counted. “As long as they as a group or ethnicity or race decide that they want to make sure that their numbers are where they need to be — we do the same thing for tribes, American Indian tribes and things of that nature — they can make sure their numbers are counted as such by identifying themselves consistently by writing it a certain way,” says Smith.
For Louisiana Creoles, that means being specific. If a Creole in Louisiana writes “French Creole” or simply “Creole,” which can include Haitians and other groups, that person’s cultural identification will not be tied to Louisiana. According to WSI, the U.S. Department of Management and Budget has identified some $400 billion in federal funding annually, which is disseminated in part through census figures. If Louisiana Cajuns and Creoles make a loud noise through the census, more of that money should flow our way. “With the these numbers,” says Landry, “the federal government’s going to be forced to address these issues and to send some funding down here.”
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
SEP 17 This post on Time could make Bobby Jindal smile and cry all at the same time. It gives him credit for "subtly shaping" GOP agenda. However, it also says his fast-talking style and "wonk status" (does that mean nerd?) make him "an unlikely fit to be a major party presidential nominee."
SEP 17 The controversy continues at Louisiana College, as some seem loathe to release their grip on the status quo. After the school's accrediting agency suspended the school's ranking and criticized its pattern of dishonesty, four board members had wanted a change in the chairman's position. When that didn't happen, they resigned in protest, the Alexandria Town Talk reports here.
SEP 17 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at Louisiana's Tea Party, and the decision to classify it as an LLC instead of a political party. He also throws in some illuminating facts about the so-called IRS "witch hunt" against Tea Party groups -- which, it turns out, was nothing of the kind.
SEP 17 This post on CNN features Bobby Jindal being supremely indifferent to poll numbers that have him (as blogger Tom Aswell has so poetically stated) coming in 12th in a 10-man race. Bobby's decision won't be based on poll numbers, he says; he's thinking and praying. Hey B - maybe God's trying to tell you something?
SEP 17 A state district judge ruled the so-called Edmonson Amendment unconstitutional in Baton Rouge Tuesday, and declared it null and void, the Picayune tells us in this post. Edmonson himself is saying (now) he always felt it wasn't right, and is so glad this happened. Uh... what?
SEP 17 Blogger Tom Aswell gives us his take on the demise of the Edmonson Amendment, and reveals the use of a "hurt feelings report" by a state police official. The report, which resulted in the firing of a football coach in another state, is pretty bad.
SEP 17 If the "when white people fight" video was the war side, blogger Mighty Favog has found the love side. Here's a video of two (let us hope they aren't sober) inebriated white people who got so carried away in their demonstration of, er, affection that they fell. In Tiger Stadium. During the game. The best part is the reaction (or lack thereof) among their fellow fans. (Hey, there's a game going on!)
SEP 17 When someone tells you that New Orleans is lousy with singles, the first thing that comes to mind might be a fist full of stripper bait. But, as this story on NOLA Defender tells us, NOLA leads the nation in single people. That's a good thing, NoDef says, because they are full of fresh ideas. (Yeah - and kale.)
SEP 16 Here's something for LSU to be proud of. It's a video of some (presumed) 'frat boys' manhandling another young man who is not wearing a polo shirt and khakis on the parade grounds prior to Saturday's LSU football game. The best part of this brief video is the look on the face of the guy who shot it, who also is (presumably) responsible for the title of the tape.
SEP 16 Finally, something useful from a daily newspaper. Here's a story in the Picayune about the Jambalaya Calculator, a free-to-download spreadsheet that helps hungry Cajuns calculate ingredients for the dish.
SEP 16 Here's a post from the Facebook page of the Al Berard Music Festival, announcing the date of the new event to honor the musician's memory and to raise money for the Al Berard Memorial Music Fund at Community Foundation of Acadiana. They're seeking volunteers, if you want to help.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly