April 14, 2019
Naia Al-Anbar, 24, is a White American.
“Arab Americans” have been choosing “white” as their race in censuses, which has artificially inflated the number of whites.
There’s even fewer of us than we thought.
Yousuf Abdelfatah already knows the answer he’ll give about his race on the 2020 census questionnaire will be wrong.
He’s an Arab American, but the only race options on the census are white, black, Asian and categories for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander. Reluctantly, Abdelfatah will mark white.
“If you look at me, my skin is darker, I’m visibly not white,” said the 22-year-old research assistant. “I’ve lived my life as a person of color, but I’m categorized as white.”
With the census going to printing presses later this year, Arab Americans are again feeling left out of a process that helps draw the nation’s political map and provide an accurate population count, which in turn can determine how much federal funding minority groups get for government programs and medical research.
Organizations have long been pushing for a separate Middle Eastern or North African category but realize it’s probably too late for 2020 with questionnaires ready to be printed.
“The census is in our Constitution and it’s meant to count everyone,” said Maya Berry, the executive director of the Arab American Institution.
According to census estimates, the Arab American population is measured at just over 2 million people. The Arab American Institute, however, says that number is closer to 3.6 million.
Underreporting from the census has come amid a rapid growth of the community, which advocates say has increased by more than 72% between 2000 and 2010.
Population data is a key factor in political redistricting, researching human rights, monitoring government programs and antidiscrimination laws, meaning Arab Americans are subject to a lack of representation and health and social services.
“Right now we have that ‘white’ designation on paper but we don’t benefit from it,” said 24-year-old activist and organizer Naia Al-Anbar. “The truth is we aren’t ever going to be white in their eyes and we will still be discriminated against.”
Al-Anbar, who generally supports the idea of a new category, has a Saudi Arabian father and would mark “other” on the census if a more precise category isn’t offered.
The Arab American Institute considers 22 countries to consist of Arabs, spanning Africa and Asia, meaning Arab Americans can fall into several categories provided in the survey.
This creates an odd decision during the census for Arab Americans. Does someone from Egypt, for example, check the African American box because their home country is in Africa? Would someone from Iraq be expected to mark that they are Asian?
“As an Egyptian, I considered marking ‘African American’ but I’m not black,” 24-year-old Nashville resident Dina El-Rifai said. “However, marking ‘white’ doesn’t reflect who I am or the diversity I bring.”
The United States Census Bureau says that the current white population in America is 60.7 percent, which is even lower than what the SLPC white population countdown showed for 2015.
If you go by what the Census Bureau says the current white population is, and subtract the 3.6 million Arabs that the Arab American Institute says there are, you’re left with about… 59.5 percent of whites in America.
Yeah, not all Arabs marked “white” in censuses… probably. But it’s an approximate.
How many of these “ethnic groups” are also marking white and further muddying the number that’s supposed to represent us?
Whereas these Arabs are mad about being classified as white, Iranians and Pakistanis sometimes actually identify that way, and even email white nationalists and claim to be the real whites.
If we came face to face with the Founding Fathers…
How could we even look them in the eyes and tell them that less than 6 in 10 people in the country they made for us are Americans? They fought so we could have a country and we’re here witnessing that country fade away.
Yes, we could say “yes but the Jews tho” – but is that really an excuse?
They didn’t say “yes but the British tho” back then.
Each generation has to face the challenges of its time.
They already defeated their monsters.
Now’s our turn to succeed.
In another complicating factor, the Trump administration wants to ask people whether they are American citizens on the census — an issue that is supposed to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer before the forms are printed. Some fear that will stifle participation among various immigrant groups, especially in the aftermath of the administration’s travel ban from Muslim countries that spread fear among Arab Americans.
This question would discourage 30% of Arab Americans from taking the survey, a study by the American-Arab Anti-Defamation Committee found.
Why would American citizens in America shy away from answering if they’re American citizens?
Our country is being taken away from us under our noses. Everyone’s getting browner and if the trend continues, whites will soon be less than half of America’s population.
America was born as a country for whites. The only real Americans are white Americans.
Which means that…
The American people will soon be less than half of America’s population.
This is insane.