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to think my age and ethnicity is not relevant

(32 Posts)
Therevchasesducks Mon 17-Aug-09 16:45:59

I live in HA house, just had a call about a repair that was done a while back, they asked me the normal stuff, then at the end of the survey they asked my age, and ethnicity, I said it wasnt relevant.
so aibu in thinking it is relevant?

MaggieBeauLeo Mon 17-Aug-09 16:53:09

you're right! They could probably have worked out my ethnicity from my accent, but even so, I wouldn't answer a question like that... I can kind of understand why a doctor might need to know. It was explained to me on mn a while back that docs need to know what the incidences of CF or sickel cell in any area might be... but why would a HA need to know.

I used to work for a housing association years ago, and I do remember that they had different codes for different ethnicities. AT the time I was very young and didn't think about it beyond entering the data into computer and dreaming about what I was going to have for lucnh.

Sullwah Mon 17-Aug-09 16:57:52

This sort of stuff drives me mad. So you are absolutely NBU.

I hate it - it makes my blood boil. It is such a waste of everyones time and money.

I always always refuse to fill in my ethnicity. It started because I do not neatly fit into any of the boxes and so I always used to have to do "other" and then explain. Now I just write in big letters NOT RELEVANT.

msrisotto Mon 17-Aug-09 17:01:17

I'm guessing it's to do with targets they have to ensure they are not discriminating.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 17-Aug-09 17:01:50

I suspect it's so they can produce their nice statistics for the End of Year Report: "Our tenants faithfully represent an ethnically-balanced, age-adjusted sample of the local population" ie we don't discriminate against non-whites and coffin-dodgers. It's a way of checking that their anti-discrimination policies are working.

fluffles Mon 17-Aug-09 17:03:00

it will be for monitoring equalities legislation (i.e. to ensure they're not discriminating) but you should always be given the 'prefer not to answer' option.

Therevchasesducks Mon 17-Aug-09 17:04:33

strangely I answered the disability question, as i felt that was relevant, as imo they need too know that.

oldraver Mon 17-Aug-09 22:47:28

I always refuse to answer. The only time I have answered was when pregnant as I know some conditions affect some ethnicities.

edam Mon 17-Aug-09 22:53:46

I understand the stated reasons for organisations to collect this information. But feels as if we've ended up as obsessed by race as the Nazis, although from a different direction. My Godmother, who is of the generation that fought Hitler (and Franco) finds it all very strange indeed.

Sometimes seems we are asked/told about race so often it's treated as THE most important thing about us.

Am sometimes tempted to answer: "I have no ruddy idea, my mother is adopted, so put that in your tick box and smoke it." grin

sunnydelight Tue 18-Aug-09 03:26:05

I've designed questionnaires for LAs where they always want this kind of information tacked on the end (regardless of what it is about). They are trying to monitor whether their service users are representative of the local community and if they are being vigilent if they see that's not so they can ask themselves why not (accessability, availability of interpreters for people who don't speak Engligh etc.). Yes it seems intrusive but it should be for a valid purpose smile

savoycabbage Tue 18-Aug-09 06:09:05

This used to annoy me too, especially as my family is a mixed race one and I felt like it was nosy.

Now I live in Australia I can sort of see the point of them. There re lots and lots of immigrants here - myself included and yet there are only white Australians at all of the four playgroups I go to. There is no way that is representative of our community. One of them is at my dd's school. 5 out of 18 of the children in her class are not white to giev you an idea of the ethnic mix yet every person at the playgroup for younger siblings is white Australian except for me (white english) and my dd. I would LOVE to know why - and it is the same everywhere I go. Tumble tots, swimming. tennis.

oldnewmummy Tue 18-Aug-09 06:18:23

We live in Singapore where EVERY form and person wants to know your race. We put "human" on the form at the dentist and the receptionist looked rather bemused.

We have an adopted (mixed race) DS and the rude busy bodies here ALWAYS ask his race. We've taken to going into a very long (made-up) answer "He's 17.6% Indian, 3.4% Serbo-Croat, 2.1% Irish, 13.9% Malay, 6.9% Spanish etc". They look a bit confused but rarely work out we're taking the piss out of their rudeness.

vinblanc Tue 18-Aug-09 06:23:09

They ask these questions to make sure they are surveying a representative sample of consumers, and to perhaps do some anonymous breakouts of the service standards and satisfaction levels of smaller groups.

It is relevent to them.

moondog Tue 18-Aug-09 06:36:27

What irritates me in work is being asked my 'sexual orientation'.
FFS, as if that makes any bloody difference whatsoever.

sunnydelight Tue 18-Aug-09 06:47:58

If you are a service provider, sexual orientation may be a factor in making decisions about service delivery (or did I just live in Brighton for too long grin).

Sullwah Tue 18-Aug-09 09:58:09

Sunnlight - I think you definately have lived in Brighton for too long smile

The last time I was asked this was when I went to the drop-in doctor service for my conjunctivitis.

Why is my ethicity, sexual orientation or age relevant to this?

The local health suthority just needs to make the service available and those that need it can use it.

lal123 Tue 18-Aug-09 10:06:46

But unless they monitor uptake of services how can they make sure that the service is available to all and those who need it can use it?

Knowing an individuals sexual orientation/race etc etc is unlikely to be important for the care of that individual - however knowing whether or not people of particular race/sexual orientation are accesssing services can have an impact on how those services are delivered.

Being more cynical - they do it because they have to by law

edam Tue 18-Aug-09 13:23:31

I see the argument about monitoring uptake of services, but then you end up in ludicrous situations where mountain rescue (who are all volunteers) get turned down for lottery funding because they haven't reached out to ethnic minority communities... as if it would be a good thing to persuade Black or brown people to go walking up mountains without proper equipment or maps or letting anyone know where they are going.

And I'm still not sure why ethnicity is relevant to having your house repaired, which was the OP's point.

WRT sexual orientation, I once had to deal with a health authority who were putting condoms in bird boxes in lay-bys to encourage lorry drivers to use protection. They were termed MWHSWM (men who have sex with men) because they didn't see themselves as gay, more any port in a storm, as it were. grin

Nancy66 Tue 18-Aug-09 13:34:23

My mum remembers the old hire purchase forms you used to have to fill out when you bought something in a shop and they always asked your height....

bookbird Tue 18-Aug-09 13:47:15

This bugs me too. Recent trip to a hospital outpatients dept had me speechless after the receptionist asked if I was Scottish. She said it's something they have to ask. I really can't see the need for this, I can see the need for ethnicity question sometimes, but nationality only? Cazy! I'm wondering if the SNP administration are identifying candidates for repatriation should they win an independence referendum wink

moondog Tue 18-Aug-09 15:26:21

lol at height question

edam Tue 18-Aug-09 16:22:57

why did they ask your height? Was it some sort of gag about 'higher' purchase? <boom boom>

TheDMshouldbeRivened Tue 18-Aug-09 16:29:48


SomeGuy Tue 18-Aug-09 16:55:34

I tend to tick something completely random.

edam Tue 18-Aug-09 16:59:33

Thanks, Riven... I think!

Someguy, am tempted by your approach but might tweak it, assuming a different persona every time. Next form, I'll be a British Chinese 6' 5" Man Who Has Sex With Men, aged 72 and living in Camarthen. grin

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