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Crosscurrents

In 2020, Middle Easterners still won't have a box to check on the census

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When filling out the United States census, Egyptians, Moroccans, Iranians, and many other people from the Middle East and North Africa have always had to check the box 'White' or other. There’s no Middle Eastern or North African box.
 
This is problematic because these communities rely on representation when it comes to things like legislative redistricting and health statistics—in addition to the cultural inaccuracy of calling them white in the American context. 

The Arab American Institute and other groups petitioned the census bureau asking for a separate Middle East/North Africa category in the 2020 census. It was rejected in January.
 
Foster City's Palestinian American mayor, Sam Hindi, was active in the campaign, and joined us in the studio to discuss the issue. 

"For me it's always been if you're not counted you don't exist. So if we are 3.7 million members in our community and we're being counted as 1.9, what happened to the rest? They don't exist as far as the US Government is concerned."

Crosscurrents
Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.