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The 1961 vital statistics instruction manual: well I’ll be damned

In May of 2011, I sent in a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of “Coding and Punching Geographic and Personal Particulars for Births Occurring in 1961.” They sent, instead the Geographic Coding Manual, and the “1960-1961 Natality Tape Files for the United States.” I filed an appeal saying it wasn’t what I asked for. Their reply was that the manual probably never existed, but all the subject matter experts they consulted said they had no such manual.

Wrong ❗

The 1961 manual exists, and a blogger contacted the National Center for Health Statistics in Maryland directly and got a copy. Well to put it mildly, I’m upset with the Department of Health and Human Services! Your federal tax dollars at work, indeed.

Of course, codes are codes, and the codes in the 1961 manual obtained by ladysforest are the same codes used for the tape files that DHHS sent me. So it turns out that if the Cold Case Posse ever had the manual, they outright lied  because the codes they showed on screen are not the codes in the manual, and in particular, code “9” is not “Not Stated.” If they didn’t have the manual, they lied about having it or documenting the the value of code “9.”

I’d love to leave a congratulatory comment over at the My Very Own Point of View blog, but three’s no comment box available. If it’s just me that’s blocked, I hope someone will post this:

“According to the Vital Statistics of the United States – Natality – 1961, the federal government classified and punched its Hawaii data from microfilm copies of state records. Any coding on the original Hawaiian forms was done by Hawaii and for Hawaii. The very fact there are code values on Hawaiian forms that are not in the federal data set proves that they were keying for themselves. At this point, it appears that neither the 1961, nor the 1968 federal codes are consistent with codes used by Hawaii for race. Good luck finding out more information.”

I would think that increased confidence in the documentation of the President of the United States would be good news for everyone, but not for ladysforest, who opened:

It’s never a good feeling to get bad news.  In this case the bad news is that the “shocking” information which Mike Zullo, Cold Case Posse leader, released on July 17th is debunked.  Yes, I said debunked.  By the actual 1961 Vital Statistics Instruction Manual. 

Update:

There is something extremely interesting about the coding of birth place of the mother. Let me quote what the manual says and then explain its significance:

If the birthplace is omitted or unknown, and race is stated as Negro, Indian, Aleut, Eskimo, Hawaiian, or Part-Hawaiian, punch 1.

If the birthplace is omitted or unknown, and race is stated as Negro, Indian, Aleut, Eskimo, Hawaiian, or Part-Hawaiian, punch 1.

Code “1” is the code for “Native” (i.e., born in the United States). The federal government in 1961 recognized that the term “negro” was an American term so strongly attached as to assume that anyone “negro” was born in the US! No such association was made for “white.”

What is equally discomfiting to the birthers is that despite their claims that “African-American” could never be used in 1961, look at what the manual says:

If the racial entry is "C," "Col.," "Black," "Brown," or "A.A," "Afro-American," and the birthplace is the United States, consider the parent’s race as Negro [for the purposes of determining the child’s race]. If the birthplace of parent is not in the United States code as other nonwhite.

And finally, if no race information is known at all, it is coded “white.”

You see why I wanted this manual?

I have a FOIA already submitted for the 1961 data. Note that this data set does not have personally identifying information. Data from later years is available.

Here’s the damned thing:

Coding and Punching Geographic and Personal Particulars for Births Occurring in 1961

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50 Responses to The 1961 vital statistics instruction manual: well I’ll be damned

  1. avatar
    Rickey July 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Check out page 11, paragraph (c):

    If the racial entry is “C,” “Col.,” “Black,” “Brown,” or “A.A.,” “African-American,” and the birthplace is the United States, consider the parent’s race as Negro. If birthplace of parent is not in the United States, code as other non-white.

    Thus, the registrar in Hawaii coded Obama’s father as “other non-white,” precisely as the manual says it should have been coded.

  2. avatar
    Loren July 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    There’s additional valuable information on page 11 of the manual, which provides specific instruction on how to handle coding a race classification like “African.”

    “Determining race of parent.–Examine the information given for race of father and mother separately, and apply the following rules to determine the race classification for each parent:…

    “(3) If the racial entry is “C,” “Col.,” “Black,” “Brown,” or “A.A.” “Afro-American,” and the birthplace is the United States, consider the parent’s race as Negro. If birthplace of parent is not in the United States, code as other nonwhite.”

    This proves two things. One, that the designation of ‘African’ born in Kenya would correctly be coded as 9. Two, there have been objections that ‘Negro’ or ‘Black’ would have been the only acceptable terms for a black man, thus ‘African’ was evidence of fakery. Those objections are now proven to be misplaced, because the manual itself entertains at least seven different terms that might be used interchangeably.

  3. avatar
    Rickey July 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    It’s also worth noting that the coding for Box 7g and Box 11 on Obama’s birth certificate conforms with the 1961 manual.

  4. avatar
    American Mzungu July 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    In the long thread about coding that Doc C closed recently, there was discussion about coding “African”. From the manual that is referenced, it seems to me that instruction (7) under racial coding for parent would apply. “Call the supervisor.”

    I found interesting the instruction under (3) for coding variations of Negro, to code as “other nonwhite” if the birthplace of parent is outside the U.S. If I understand this correctly, even if Obama Sr. had identified himself or been identified by his wife (or a nurse) as Negro, but his place of birth was Kenya, he would have been coded as “other nonwhite.”

  5. avatar
    justlw July 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    In honor of the occasion, I’d like to repost two quotes from Mark Gillar:

    Since we both agree that code 2 was for negro in both the 1961 and 1969 manuals why wouldn’t his father be coded a 2? There’s nothing confusing about his appearance is there? Is he purple, blue, pink?

    and (paraphrasing from memory)

    I’ll leave your post up as a testament to your stupidity.

    Bravo, Mark.

  6. avatar
    GLaB July 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Page 10 is also illuminating – “Negro” was apparently intended only to be used for Native, i.e. American blacks.

  7. avatar
    justlw July 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    I looked it up. The second GIllar quote should be:

    I’ll leave your comment so we can all laugh at you.

    Yes indeedy, Mark.

  8. avatar
    American Mzungu July 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Doc, I feel almost as vindicated as you. 🙂

  9. avatar
    gorefan July 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Dr. C.

    You can leave a comment at her site by posting to her earlier article on the 1961 manual.

    http://myveryownpointofview.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/does-it-exist-the-1961-vital-stat-instruction-manual/#comment-6420

  10. avatar
    donna July 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    i posted doc’s article/link on “Unstated – Codes In Conflict On Birth Document!”

  11. avatar
    justlw July 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    GLaB:
    In the true spirit of “Birtherism – nothing is ever final”

    – the date on that manual is annoying.

    I hear you — I mean, it took Da Conspiracy nine days to finally revise the manual to match the birth certificate they created! What kind of slackers are they?

  12. avatar
    PaulG July 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    How does this jibe with the “3” on the BC that Corsi printed in his “How does Obama’s document stack up against genuine BC?” article? Also, didn’t it seem as if Hawaii had put the codes on themselves in accordance with the state codes, whereas these are federal instructions? It’s interesting, but I’m not sure if this manual really gets us anywhere.

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    I don’t agree. African and African-American are not the same thing.

    Rickey: Thus, the registrar in Hawaii coded Obama’s father as “other non-white,” precisely as the manual says it should have been coded.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    I should remind everyone that the coding manual we are discussing is likely not what Hawaii used. I’m planning a new article with a new idea on this question.

    American Mzungu: “Call the supervisor.”

  15. avatar
    Scientist July 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    PaulG: It’s interesting, but I’m not sure if this manual really gets us anywhere.

    The manual cannot prove the document isn’t a forgery, because a forger could have gotten the manual as this blogger did or simply been given the codes by Hawaii. But there really is no need to prove the document is real, since Hawaii says it is.

    No, the burden is on those who say it’s a forgery. And they have been shown to have lied about the codes, which makes every single thing they say highly suspect. That is why trial lawyers try to catch opposing witnesses in a lie, even a trivial one unrelated to the case. Because once it is shown someone will lie, sensible people discount everything they say.

    The other thing the manual does is re-inforce that there was no valid reason why “African” would have been changed for Obama, Sr,’s race. This was something birthers have been going at since the COLB was released 4 years ago. Their arguments were stupid tthen and appear more so today.

  16. avatar
    G July 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Excellent points.

    Scientist: The manual cannot prove the document isn’t a forgery, because a forger could have gotten the manual as this blogger did or simply been given the codes by Hawaii.But there really is no need to prove the document is real, since Hawaii says it is.

    No, the burden is on those who say it’s a forgery.And they have been shown to have lied about the codes, which makes every single thing they say highly suspect. That is why trial lawyers try to catch opposing witnesses in a lie, even a trivial one unrelated to the case .Because once it is shown someone will lie, sensible people discount everything they say.

    The other thing the manual does is re-inforce that there was no valid reason why “African” would have been changed for Obama, Sr,’s race.This was something birthers have been going at since the COLB was released 4 years ago.Their arguments were stupid tthen and appear more so today.

  17. avatar
    Rickey July 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I don’t agree. African and African-American are not the same thing.

    Huh? I never said that they are. I believe that a registrar would have considered an African from Kenya to be synonymous with Black, Brown, or Colored. A Black, Brown or Colored parent born outside of the United States would be coded “other non-white” per the manual.

  18. avatar
    PaulG July 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Scientist: The manual cannot prove the document isn’t a forgery, because a forger could have gotten the manual as this blogger did or simply been given the codes by Hawaii.But there really is no need to prove the document is real, since Hawaii says it is.

    No, the burden is on those who say it’s a forgery.And they have been shown to have lied about the codes, which makes every single thing they say highly suspect.That is why trial lawyers try to catch opposing witnesses in a lie, even a trivial one unrelated to the case.Because once it is shown someone will lie, sensible people discount everything they say.

    The other thing the manual does is re-inforce that there was no valid reason why “African” would have been changed for Obama, Sr,’s race.This was something birthers have been going at since the COLB was released 4 years ago.Their arguments were stupid tthen and appear more so today.

    Oh, I agree entirely. I’m just curious. I find all these old processes fascinating.

  19. avatar
    Rickey July 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I should remind everyone that the coding manual we are discussing is likely not what Hawaii used. I’m planning a new article with a new idea on this question.

    A logical conclusion would be that Hawaii used the Federal coding for the data which was to be reported to the Feds and developed its own coding for fields which were not reported to the Feds.

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I misunderstood how you arrived at your conclusion. There are lots of white people from Kenya as well as Arabs and Asians. How do you get “black” from that. See my new article:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2012/07/shocking-revelation-president-obama-may-be-white/

    Rickey: Huh? I never said that they are. I believe that a registrar would have considered an African from Kenya to be synonymous with Black, Brown, or Colored.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    That’s logical except for the fact that the federal codes in 1961 don’t match up with the codes on the certificates for the fields where codes exist.

    There’s more to the story, I think.

    Rickey: A logical conclusion would be that Hawaii used the Federal coding for the data which was to be reported to the Feds and developed its own coding for fields which were not reported to the Feds.

  22. avatar
    realist July 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Rickey: “According to the Vital Statistics of the United States – Natality – 1961, the federal government classified and punched its Hawaii data from microfilm copies of state records. Any coding on the original Hawaiian forms was done by Hawaii and for Hawaii. The very fact there are code values on Hawaiian forms that are not in the federal data set proves that they were keying for themselves. At this point, it appears that neither the 1961, nor the 1968 federal codes are consistent with codes used by Hawaii for race. Good luck finding out more information.”

    Agreed.

    i don’t know of anyone saying African and African American are the same.

    It also seems the coding from the manual, and if HI were coding for themselves, which does seem logical, from the manual, they were using the fed codes for their own values.
    Although I’ve not read the entire thing, but it ‘seems” so on first blush to me.

    The state of HI has a public documents sort of FOIA, called UIPA, if I recall correctly. I suppose if anyone wanted to go to the trouble.. though I don’t know what difference it makes… they lied, period.

  23. avatar
    gorefan July 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: That’s logical except for the fact that the federal codes in 1961 don’t match up with the codes on the certificates for the fields where codes exist.

    So was NCHS not even looking at the penciled codes on the BCs, only at the actual entries?

    You mentioned you had an idea as to what the code “3” meant on the parents’ race for the WND 8/23/61 BC. Can you reveal what you think the “3” means? Part Hawaiian?

  24. avatar
    Potter, J. July 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    PaulG: It’s interesting, but I’m not sure if this manual really gets us anywhere.

    PaulG, the value of having the manual is that it nails the CCCP on a specific lie. No wiggle-room on this one! They claimed that the NCHS code for 1961 said one thing, and they stated that this document was their source. They stated this in spite of what the Tape File Detail for 1961 said, and what Vital Stats of the US for 1961 indicated. Considering that VSUS 1961 has been online since 2005, their claim was lazy, stupid, and indicative of just how thorought their ‘research’ (i.e., reading birther blogs) isn’t.

    So now, they aren burnt extra crispy.

    Yes, Hawaii keeps their own statistics. All states do.
    http://hawaii.gov/health/statistics/vital-statistics/index.html

    They have done so for a long time. Unfortunately, their annual “Statistical Supplements” are only online back to 1996. Images and reference to these annual report can be found online. And they are available at some libraries here on the mainland.

  25. avatar
    Potter, J. July 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    gorefan: You mentioned you had an idea as to what the code “3″ meant on the parents’ race for the WND 8/23/61 BC. Can you reveal what you think the “3″ means? Part Hawaiian?

    I think it was either Chinese or Filipino…maybe Japanese. My money’s on Chinese.

  26. avatar
    gorefan July 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Potter, J.: I think it was either Chinese or Filipino

    IIRC, it was a list of races on the order of Korean/chinese/…

  27. avatar
    gorefan July 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    PaulG: It’s interesting, but I’m not sure if this manual really gets us anywhere.

    In his interview on ABC15, Zullo specifically says the race of parents was a federal requirement and the occupation was a state code. So at the least it shows the CCP doesn’t know what they are talking about. If not outright lying.

    http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_phoenix_metro/central_phoenix/video-arpaios-lead-investigator-talks-obama-birth-certificate-to-abc15

  28. avatar
    Potter, J. July 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Rickey: A logical conclusion would be that Hawaii used the Federal coding for the data which was to be reported to the Feds and developed its own coding for fields which were not reported to the Feds.

    I disagree. I mean, to some degree yes, but vital records systems developed over decades. (Birth registration was originally proposed in 1850, and rolled out sloooooowly). The Doc has experience in the field, he can certainly better answer, but what I have read, and seems logical, is that states developed their own based on their needs. In much of the country, standardization would be easy. But certain areas have very different conditions. Oklahoma, being Indian Territory. The Southwest as a whole contrast with the Northeast. California is quite a melting pot. Alaska is completely different demographically. New York City, the “world city” reports its own (or at least it did). And Hawaii, the Pan-Pacific melting pot, has been a case study since before statehood!

    Even reading NCHS own publications, particularly from the 50s and 60s, it’s clear that the cooperation between states and feds is in flux. Reports are littered with exceptions.
    My take is that the states to conform, but ultimately, they had to meet their internal needs.

    The widespread cluelessness that re: states keeping vital records and stats crack me up. What do birthers think gov’t employees do all day? 😉

  29. avatar
    tes July 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Ok, so this manual was revised August 14, 1961 – after Obama’s birth. Wonder how different it was from the manual immediately preceding this one. (And I wonder when this “revised August 14, 1961” manual was disseminated to all the states.)

  30. avatar
    Reality Check July 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    The tape guide document that Doc obtained indicated that the same codes were used in 1960 and 1961. However, I hope Doc calls and requests a copy of the 1960 coding manuals.

    tes:
    Ok, so this manual was revised August 14, 1961 – after Obama’s birth.Wonder how different it was from themanual immediately preceding this one.(And I wonder when this “revised August 14, 1961″ manual was disseminated to all the states.)

  31. avatar
    Potter, J. July 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    tes: Ok, so this manual was revised August 14, 1961 – after Obama’s birth. Wonder how different it was from the manual immediately preceding this one. (And I wonder when this “revised August 14, 1961″ manual was disseminated to all the states.)

    *THUD*.

    This is not an instruction to the states. It is a manual for federal employees working for the Health Dept. Start reading on page 1.

  32. avatar
    Scientist July 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Potter, J.: In much of the country, standardization would be easy. But certain areas have very different conditions. Oklahoma, being Indian Territory. The Southwest as a whole contrast with the Northeast. California is quite a melting pot. Alaska is completely different demographically. New York City, the “world city” reports its own (or at least it did). And Hawaii, the Pan-Pacific melting pot, has been a case study since before statehood!

    One interesting thing in the tables is that there was no category for Hispanics. Even in 1960 there were substantial numbers of Mexican-Americans in the southwest and Puerto Ricans in New York, certainly more of them nationally than there were Aleuts, Eskimos Hawaiins, or probably Japanese and Chinese. So how would they have been coded?

  33. avatar
    Potter, J. July 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Scientist: So how would they have been coded?

    It’s right there on page 11. Mexican, Puerto Rican, etc were folded in with “White”.

    These systems are fascinating time capsules reflecting the attitudes of the times! At the federal level, Hispanics were hidden in the majority. However, their life experiences demonstrate they were anything but!

    The instructions re: mixed race are also striking.

    The OMB takes an interesting “blended” approach to Hispanics, in recognizing that it is a difference of culture, not race. A basic set of “color-based” race categories are amplified by a simple Hispanic yes/no binary:

    http://www.naphsis.org/NAPHSIS/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000001003/Race%20and%20Ethnicity.pdf

  34. avatar
    justlw July 26, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Potter, J.: I disagree. I mean, to some degree yes, but vital records systems developed over decades. (Birth registration was originally proposed in 1850, and rolled out sloooooowly). The Doc has experience in the field, he can certainly better answer, but what I have read, and seems logical, is that states developed their own based on their needs.

    But don’t we know from Bennett and Tokuyama’s 1955 article that Hawaii did indeed develop their system as a superset of the federal system?

    In the Territory of Hawaii, the law states that certificates shall contain as a minimum all items recommended in the standard form of the National Office of Vital Statistics, qualified by the provision that the Board of Health shall approve the items. Additional items desired by health and medical agencies are added and arrangement follows a unique pattern.

  35. avatar
    Potter, J. July 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    justlw: But don’t we know from Bennett and Tokuyama’s 1955 article that Hawaii did indeed develop their system as a superset of the federal system?

    I agree, but that was in regards to what fields are included on forms, not in what is done with that data. If I have been reading that article right, the intent was that all states would be collecting a common set of data points, plus their own local requirements. The Feds were calculating their statistics, and the states theirs. Codes, and encoding systems must have varied. Again, Doc would know better.

    Even today, if you compare the stats from different agencies, differences are apparent in how data is being categorized and tabulated.

    Somewhere I posted a link to a comparison of code systems of HDOH, HHS, OMB, and US Census, from 1997 – 2011 …. demonstrating that systems vary today …. now what did I do with that … ?

  36. avatar
    Loren July 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I should remind everyone that the coding manual we are discussing is likely not what Hawaii used. I’m planning a new article with a new idea on this question.

    I don’t think you’ve done it already, but I think it may be worth comparing and contrasting the codes on Obama’s form with the codes on the Nordyke forms.

    For instance, I think the comparison explains fairly well what’s happening in Box 3, regarding multiple births. Obama’s is coded “X – X.”

    Susan Nordyke’s, by contrast, is coded “1 – 2.” And Gretchen, who was born five minutes later, has “2 – 2” on hers.

    So it seems to me that in the case of multiple births, the second number reflects the total number of children, and the first number reflects the birth order. In the case of single births, though, the code simply opts for Xs instead of the redundancy of “1 – 1.”

    California appears to be coded with a lower-case “a” on both forms, just as Kansas was. And father’s occupation and type of business are both coded with 1s.

  37. avatar
    Tomtech July 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    I don’t believe that is the manual used by Hawai’i during that era. There is the revision date and the issue of the 3s used on the redacted birth certificate.

    Corsi, er Zullo, will argue that their is a manual which was used prior to that revision which matched the video. But, with the proof that the ’68 manual was shown in the video, it’s up to Corsi, er Zullo, to come up with the initial ’61 manual.

    If they looked for a manual in Hawai’i’s archives while on vacation they should have a copy of it.

  38. avatar
    Graham Shevlin July 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Corsi, er Zullo, will argue that their is a manual which was used prior to that revision which matched the video. But, with the proof that the ’68 manual was shown in the video, it’s up to Corsi, er Zullo, to come up with the initial ’61 manual.
    If they looked for a manual in Hawai’i’s archives while on vacation they should have a copy of it.

    Are we sure that they did anything on that trip to Hawaii apart from pretend to be badly treated by the State of Hawaii?

  39. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    I think it likely that Corsi went to the library to get that letter from the Health Director in 1982 about the new law registering foreign-born children of residents. Otherwise I don’t know that they did anything but show up at the Department of Health once.

    Graham Shevlin: Are we sure that they did anything on that trip to Hawaii apart from pretend to be badly treated by the State of Hawaii?

  40. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    The first draft of my super-secret big article for tomorrow had all this stuff in it in a big table. When I finished there wasn’t anything remotely interesting, so I dropped it.

    The observation is that everything on the form is consistent with both sets of codes; however, the 1968 codes could not have been used in tabulating the federal statistical report. I don’t talk about Corsi’s mystery “3” certificate because I can’t be sure about it. Sure we think we know who it is and what her ethnic background is, but I couldn’t take what I know to court.

    My conclusion that both code sets are wrong is based on their incompleteness, not the codes they have.

    Loren: I don’t think you’ve done it already, but I think it may be worth comparing and contrasting the codes on Obama’s form with the codes on the Nordyke forms.

  41. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    As a rule, all state follow the federal standard certificate; however, unless they are actually coding data from the form for federal use, the codes they use don’t matter. There’s a lot about this topic in my super-top-secret article for tomorrow.

    Potter, J.: Even today, if you compare the stats from different agencies, differences are apparent in how data is being categorized and tabulated.

  42. avatar
    JPotter July 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    Potter, J.: now what did I do with that … ?

    ah, there it is!

    Hawaii Health Data Warehouse
    Race-Ethnicity
    Documentation
    http://www.hhdw.org/cms/uploads/Resources/HHDW%20Race%20Ethnicity%20Documentation_2011.pdf

  43. avatar
    Rickey July 27, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    As a rule, all state follow the federal standard certificate; however, unless they are actually coding data from the form for federal use, the codes they use don’t matter. There’s a lot about this topic in my super-top-secret article for tomorrow.

    So perhaps the Feds paid no attention to the codes which were penciled onto the birth certificates? That certainly would put everything in a different light – except for the fact that the CCP lied.

  44. avatar
    Rickey July 27, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I misunderstood how you arrived at your conclusion. There are lots of white people from Kenya as well as Arabs and Asians. How do you get “black” from that.

    I don’t know what the numbers were in 1961, but “Nearly all of Kenya’s people are black Africans; Arabs, Asians, and Europeans together constituted less than 1 percent of the population at the 1989 census.”

    http://www.countriesquest.com/africa/kenya/the_people_of_kenya.htm

    It’s also possible that if the registrar was stumped, a phone call to the hospital could well have cleared up any question about the race of Obama’s father.

    Of course, it’s largely speculation until someone gets to produce the actual codes which Hawaii was using in 1961.

  45. avatar
    JPotter July 27, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Here’s an item of interest from Oklahoma’s Public Use Data File Data Dictionaries:

    Oklahoma Inpatient Hospitalizations CY2010 PUDF File
    Field: Patient race
    Description: This item gives the race of the patient. The information is based on self-identification, and is to be obtained from the patient, a relative, or a friend. The hospital is not to categorize the patient based on observation or personnel

    http://www.ok.gov/health/documents/IP%20DataDict%202010.pdf

    Yes, confirmation of the obvious. The same note appears in all the state’s data definitions. My emphasis added.

    Birther response: “Well, that may be how stupid Okies do it….” Argh.

  46. avatar
    nbc July 27, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    Rickey: It’s also possible that if the registrar was stumped, a phone call to the hospital could well have cleared up any question about the race of Obama’s father.

    Is that according to the rules? And why would the hospital release such information? This is pushing the limit of credibility a bit.
    But as we know, blacks born outside the US were coded as ‘other non-white’ not negros. Makes a lot of sense.

    Sorry to confuse you with logic though

  47. avatar
    Keith July 27, 2012 at 4:09 am #

    Potter, J.: It’s right there on page 11. Mexican, Puerto Rican, etc were folded in with “White”.

    These systems are fascinating time capsules reflecting the attitudes of the times! At the federal level, Hispanics were hidden in the majority. However, their life experiences demonstrate they were anything but!

    The instructions re: mixed race are also striking.

    The OMB takes an interesting “blended” approach to Hispanics, in recognizing that it is a difference of culture, not race. A basic set of “color-based” race categories are amplified by a simple Hispanic yes/no binary:

    http://www.naphsis.org/NAPHSIS/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000001003/Race%20and%20Ethnicity.pdf

    I vaguely recall discussion over exactly this subject with regard to Census codes.

    IIRC, the 1960 Census (and previous Census presumably) did not make the distinction. In the 60’s there was more focus on the fact that Hispanics were a growing segment of the population and ‘we’ had better find out what that meant.

    The whole Negro/Black/African American/etc and Indian/Native American played itself out even bigger in the Southwest (certainly in Arizona and I assume in Texas) with respect to the Hispanic population because they were actually a hidden minority being lumped into the Whites category.

    I think the 1970 Census is the first where they were actually counted separately. I vaguely remember reading or hearing on TV (probably in late ’68 or early ’69?) that the change had been made, and having never seen the 1960 Census paper, I asked somebody how they were being counted back then. I can remember being dumbfounded when I was told that they were considered “Caucasian”.

    I sorta understood it on the basis that there were supposedly exactly 3 races Caucasian, Negroid, and Mongoloid (of course, we now know that ‘race’ is a social construct not a biological one). But if that is what the Census was looking for then why would they ask count Native Americans separately (they are Mongoloid in that old scheme). Didn’t make sense then, makes even less now.

    I have no idea what the Health Statistics required when.

  48. avatar
    Keith July 27, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    As a rule, all state follow the federal standard certificate; however, unless they are actually coding data from the form for federal use, the codes they use don’t matter. There’s a lot about this topic in my super-top-secret article for tomorrow.

    Quite true. AND if the program the State had in place used different codes than the Feds requirements, they couldn’t just ‘change a table in a database’, they would have to change the program AND convert all their old files. This is NOT a trivial exercise in 1961. Hawai’i would continue to use their own codes, period, until the time came for a major software system refactoring.

    If they needed to provide data to the Feds then they would write a special program to extract the Fed required data from their existing data. The codes would be translated by the extract program on the way through. I have written dozens of this kind of extract program for exactly this purpose. The last 10 years of my programming life was data conversion from one system to another. Sometimes it is a real pain in the behind to translate codes correctly.

    Rickey: So perhaps the Feds paid no attention to the codes which were penciled onto the birth certificates? That certainly would put everything in a different light – except for the fact that the CCP lied.

    I think it is unlikely that the Feds received a microfiche with the Hawai’ian codes penciled in. I think the microfiche was sent off to the Feds long before the pencil marks were added.

    If Hawai’i was encoding birth certificates for their own use in 1961, then it would have made much more sense for them to produce an extract tape for the Feds. Indeed, since most other States were apparently incapable of producing tapes at that time, it would have been a sense of pride for the brand new State that they were ahead of most of the mainland in this regard.

    I believe that the pencil marks were added some years later when Hawai’i did a major computerization effort. If this is the case, there is no sense looking for a ‘1961 Hawai’ian coding specification’ either, rather we need to find out when the Hawai’i decided to put their stuff onto the computer.

    Even if they did computerize it at the time, my guess is that the microfiche was probably cut before the form was encoded.

  49. avatar
    Expelliarmus July 27, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    Rickey: I don’t know what the numbers were in 1961, but “Nearly all of Kenya’s people are black Africans; Arabs, Asians, and Europeans together constituted less than 1 percent of the population at the 1989 census.”

    http://www.countriesquest.com/africa/kenya/the_people_of_kenya.htm

    I think you are assuming a level of precision from a data entry clerk that is unlikely. This would be a person with the rather tedious job of going through stacks of records and penciling in code numbers. It’s easy to see why “African” from Kenya would be coded as “9”. Keep in mind that the field called for entry of “race”, not geographic origin. Do you really think that in 1961, a white person of European heritage would describe their “race” as African?

  50. avatar
    Northland10 July 27, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    JPotter:

    Birther response: “Well, that may be how stupid Okies do it….”Argh.

    It would be fun to watch Miki Booth make that response.