White House proposes new category
The White House proposed to add a new racial category on census forms in 2020 for people from the Middle East and North Africa, according to USAToday.
The article said that there are an estimated 3.6 million Arab-Americans in the United States. However, including other ethnic groups could put the total Middle Eastern and North African population above 10 million.
Considering this information, we The Threefold Advocate believe that this reform could have positive implications for racial identity and anti-discrimination laws. Adding a category for people from the Middle East and North Africa could help the US Government monitor how housing, voting, education and other policies relate to discrimination. Such information could help the US Government create anti-discrimination policies.
According to USAToday, under current law, people from the Middle East are considered white on the national census and sometimes find themselves caught between white, black and Asian classifications that don’t fully reflect their identities.
We The Threefold Advocate believe that creating a space for people of Middle Eastern and North African descent on the national census would recognize those communities for their rich heritage. Moreover, it would express that their racial identity is just as valuable as those classified as white, black and Asian.
We The Threefold Advocate believe that this policy would allow those from the Middle East and North Africa to accurately identify themselves and attain specific services from the government – including health, education and employment services – based on the results of the census.
There are valid concerns that creating a new racial category would lead to discrimination. We The Threefold Advocate believe that the US Government should proceed with caution and thorough study as they consider all consequences to policy reform. But we also believe that this policy reform will aid positive racial identity rather than create bias. Those who are worried about discrimination will still have the freedom to choose whatever race they desire on the census.
According to The Pew Research Center, the Arab American Institute Foundation sent a letter to the Census Bureau in 2013 asking for a separate ethnic category for those of Middle Eastern and North African descent. We The Threefold Advocate believe that if reform is being called for by the very people it would affect, it should be seriously considered by the government out of respect and duty.