How’s this for creating more harmony and inclusion?
The Obama administration — with the coronation of the first (half) black
monarch president — which was supposed to usher in a “post-racial” renaissance in America, is now proposing the creation of a brand new racial category, based not on the color of your skin but where you were born.
According to USA today, this new category would be for people from the Middle East and North Africa and would be the biggest realignment of federal racial definitions in decades.
If approved, the new designation could appear on census forms in 2020 and could have far-reaching implications for racial identity, anti-discrimination laws and health research.
Under current law, people from the Middle East are considered white, the legacy of century-old court rulings in which Syrian Americans argued that they should not be considered Asian — because that designation would deny them citizenship under the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. But scholars and community leaders say more and more people with their roots in the Middle East find themselves caught between white, black and Asian classifications that don’t fully reflect their identities.
Under current law, people from the Middle East are considered white, the legacy of century-old court rulings in which Syrian Americans argued that they should not be considered Asian — because that designation would deny them citizenship under the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. But scholars and community leaders say more and more people with their roots in the Middle East find themselves caught between white, black and Asian classifications that don’t fully reflect their identities.On Friday, the White House Office of Management and Budget advanced the proposal with a notice in the Federal Register, seeking comments on whether to add Middle Eastern and North African as a separate racial or ethnic category, which groups would be included, and what it should be called. Under the proposal, the new Middle East and North African designation — or MENA, as it’s called by population scholars — is broader in concept than Arab (an ethnicity) or Muslim (a religion). It would include anyone from a region of the world stretching from Morocco to Iran, and including Syrian and Coptic Christians, Israeli Jews and other religious minorities.
Apparently, the census form with its current choices leaves about six percent of respondents flummoxed and forced to choose “some other race.” According to Pew Research, the vast majority of those people were Hispanic. Note that it doesn’t say “the vast majority of those people were “Middle Eastern.” Nonetheless, two years ago, Pew Reported an even finer slice and dice was being considered.
To address concerns about a rising share of “some other race” selections, a combined race and ethnicity question is under consideration for 2020, in which people would be offered all the race and Hispanic options in one place. They could check a box to identify as white, black, Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander or some other race or origin. They would be offered a line under each category to supply more detail about their origin, tribe or race. Examples of this include: German, African American, Mexican, Navajo, Asian Indian and Samoan.
Most of the “white folk” I know would be hard-pressed to check the boxes for their origin, since a lot of us come from European countries whose borders have changed over the decades. My paternal grandmother was from the Austro-Hungarian empire. What box is that?
And how many black Americans really know from where exactly in Africa their ancestors came? Can you just say African? Do Kenyans see themselves the same as say, Somalis?
If we’re really trying to bring people together as one nation, what is the point in dividing us even further into micro-categories?
Well of course the reason is obvious, if you’re a liberal. USA Today reports this census data could be used for:
• Enforcing the Voting Rights Act and drawing congressional and state legislative district boundaries;
• Establishing federal affirmative action plans and evaluating claims of employment discrimination in employment in the private sector;
• Monitoring discrimination in housing, mortgage lending and credit;
• Enforcing school desegregation policies; and
• Helping minority-owned small businesses get federal grants and loans.
And I’d like to add the final hidden agenda: Creating more aggrieved people who will vote Democrat.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]