Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dear White People: Columbia University wants to know what you think about the issues of the day

Columbia University's Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) wants to find out what white and partially-white folks in Cheyenne think about their role in society.

They came to the right place as Cheyenne is mostly white and partially white, ethnically speaking. The latest census figures for Laramie County, Wyoming, shows that 89 percent of the population checks the Caucasian or "white" box under the question about race.

I haven't yet received the results from DNA testing from, but I can attest I am probably all-white, or at least mostly white. I would love to see a percentage come back showing I am partially sub-Saharan African or Latino or Asian. But anyone can look at me and say, "Damn, I've never seen anyone so white." If I didn't have freckles where I was kissed by the sun, I would be so white that I would glow in the dark.

One more thing. I could be a little Basque on my maternal grandfather's side. He came from Ireland but had a very un-Irish name in Hett. Some genealogical research by my cousin showed that the name probably was de la Hett, possibly from the genes of a Spanish Armada sailor or maybe one of the French soldiers who occasionally ventured into Ireland to join the Irish in a doomed uprising. Ever read "The Year of the French?" I'm not giving anything away to say that it ends badly.

So I am European of the northern variety with maybe a dash of southern Europe.

Which brings me back to the Columbia University INCITE study. At the county Democratic Party convention at LCCC a few weeks ago, flyers circulated that promoted a survey for white people. Here's the basic text:
Columbia University is conducting a study here in Cheyenne on race and ethnicity, specifically about how white or partially white people think about their own race/ethnicity. If interested, you can take their survey by going to 
How could I resist? I went to the site and filled out the survey. It included questions about race, religious preference and political affiliation, among other things. I checked "none" for religion. This is a tough one for me. I do not go to church. But I spent my early life in churches and catechism classes and Catholic schools. I spent much of my adult life working hard at being a Catholic who believes in the social justice gospel. It was a losing battle. So I don't go to church. Shoot me. Fortunately, the bill to allow firearms in churches did not make it through the crackpot legislature this year. But it may in 2019.

I invite my fellow Cheyenne residents to fill out the survey. It would be fun to skew the results in favor of liberals. Imagine the eggheads at Columbia looking at their results and deciding that Cheyenne, Wyoming, was the most liberal place on the planet, more so than Boulder, Colo., and San Francisco and some of those college towns in Vermont. Wouldn't that be an eye-opener?

So take a fifteen-minute break and fill out the survey. You'll be glad you did.

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