(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) In order to expand the reach of its identity-politics agenda, the Biden administration recently recommened that the U.S. Census Bureau add Arabs as a new ethnic-group option for registering American citizens, the Tennessee Star reported.
The administration specifically called for census and federal surveys to add a new group labeled “Middle Eastern and North African” in a recently published proposal.
Previously, those cultural identities would have fallen under the broader category of “Caucasian,” unless otherwise specified.
Census officials last year signaled their intention to further break down racial categories for Arabs and Hispanics in particular. By creating greater subsets of minority residents, communities may be eligible for additional federal resources and civil-rights regulations, while ethnic demographics also carry political implications during the decennial redistricting process that follows the U.S. Census.
According to Maya Berry, executive director of the left-wing Arab American Institute, the Biden administration has made great progress on the path toward securing state benefits for those of Middle Eastern or North African descent.
“This is a really big deal. We have been working to get a checkbox to get better data about our community for decades,” she said.
“We need data in our communities to be able to defend them, to be able to provide services
for them, and the census is the source of all that,” Berry added. “If you’re rendered invisible in census data there’s going to be real consequences to people’s lives.”
Biden’s proposal also calls for the elimination of troubling words, such as “minority” or “majority” in the paperwork, insisting that Americans be more “respectful of how people refer to themselves.”
According to the Washington Post, Biden’s request is welcome because the current method by which the U.S. census is taken has made some people feel excluded.
“It is this feeling like I don’t really belong—like there’s no space for me here and I just have to conform to whatever this country is telling me that I am,” said Tala Faraj, 23, an Iraqi–American who lives in Chicago. “It makes me feel sad.”