Argumentation- 1940 Census

The 1940 census is made up of a variation numbers such as dates of birth and texts such as names and whether an individual owned their home or was educated. This information allows viewers of the census to piece together lives of the people in the census and to get a sense of what these people did daily back then. From the information provided, many conclusions can be drawn. One of the conclusions is that mostly men were the head of the household, most women did not work but some did, and men and women went to school but men received higher paying jobs then women. These conclusions are just some of many that can be gathered from the census by taking a quick glance. Although a once over of the census provides a great deal of information, there are some other relationships between the data that needs more looking into and requires past knowledge.

Education is always seen as an important aspect of how well of an individual will be, the type of job they will hold and if that job will be able to provide for the person and family members. The level of education someone is able to reach holds much value and the value of it directly correlates with many other aspects of someone’s life but often times, there are a group of people (usually a particular race or ethnicity) who receive a good education and are still unable to provide for their family or are working lower paying jobs than others. They are looked over when it comes to promotions, and often have their work ethic attributed to something other than them simply working hard. This can be seen in the 1940 census; the census shows that most of the people on it received some sort of education. The educational levels ranges from elementary school to a four year college degree or beyond. As previously stated, most of the men and women had an education but the men received higher paying jobs and this was also the case when it came to whites and blacks.

Looking at the census with all the different data, it is difficult to see what correlates with one another and what does not. Creating different visuals allows the viewer to see if there are causations, patterns or correlations between the information provided. The census divides into three races, Filipino, Negro and White. Upon taking an initial look, the division of the census into three races is unclear. The data shows that there are races but being that there are many names, it is hard to parse out the different races. The census itself also does not show the division of the educational level that each race has reached; the correlation between race, educational level, average income and the value of the homes they lived in is not clear until different visuals of presenting the data was created. In order to make these relationships clear a scatter plot was created. The educational levels are broken down into three groups with different colors so that the differentiation can be made; red is college or higher, purple is high school and green is elementary.

Carefully looking at the plot, the assumption that white privilege has its place in the relationships seen between the previous categories noted is made. The plot shows that there were a group of whites that received an elementary school education and the average value of their homes was about 2,074 dollars and average income was 238 dollars; there were also group of blacks that received a college education or higher and the average value of their homes and average income was less than that of the whites. The same conclusion is made pertaining to Filipinos and whites, the Filipinos highest educational level is college or higher and the average value of their homes and income is less than whites and less than the blacks as well. For years, other races have had to work twice as hard and if not harder to get decent paying jobs whereas whites are sometimes allocated the privilege of not having to go through as much hardships but still being able to reap the benefits.

To ensure that white privilege was indeed at play, the scatter plot was looked at again and a second set of information in the white section was provided. The highest level of education that whites received was a high school education; this means that both blacks and Filipinos went on to receive college degrees in different fields whereas whites did not. Based on previous information, the assumption that although the highest level of education reached by whites was high school, they would still have a higher income and their homes would be of a higher value was made and the assumption was correct. For a white person with a high school education, the average value of their home was 1,585 dollars and average income was 227 dollars. The scatter plot also provided an interesting find. A white person with just an elementary school education had a lower average income than one with a high school education, although not by much, but their homes were worth more than another white person with a high school education. The census does not make why that is clear but further research may be able to provide an answer to that. Although that interesting observation was there, the fact still remained that their homes were worth more and incomes were higher compared to the other two races despite of their minimal level of education.

The 1940 census shows a trend of white privilege that have been there since the beginning of time. Whites across the world have felt superior to others and their superiority complex has led them to acquire lands, wealth and even people. The census shows that these other two races although they have worked hard and have reached high levels of educational achievement, it means almost nothing in the end. They worked jobs such as cooks, and laundry personnel and are being passed on the jobs that they may be able to use their degrees in. Whites were able to acquire jobs such as administrators, treasurers and accounting clerks despite their educational shortcomings all because they were not black or Filipino.