[Michigan, February 3, 2015]: The American Human Rights Council (AHRC) calls upon all residents of the United States to actively participate in the national census process, census 2020. The US is constitutionally mandated to conduct a census of the population every ten years. Every human being is counted regardless of their legal status. The census numbers and the distribution of the population have important legal, political, social and economic consequences. It is especially important for traditionally under-counted populations to be counted. Unfortunately, no accurate count of the population can be attained unless every person is counted. Counting all residents of the US continues to be a challenge that requires ongoing constructive engagement and outreach. One of those challenges is related to the minority designation. One of the components of American society is the Arab American community and the debate about whether the designation “white” helps or hurts the interests of Arab Americans. Arab Americans claim that the census under-counts them since they are part of the category “white.” The Census Bureau is currently testing the Middle East North Africa (MENA) designation through a trial form and survey and requesting residents of Arab decent to forward their feedback about it. “It really does take rethinking … who we are as a population and what our needs are, (but) there are specific needs for Arab-Americans that are not being recognized and not being met.” Said Hassan Jaber, Hassan Jaber, Executive Director, ACCESS and a member of a census advisory board on racial and ethnic populations according to AP report on Jan. 30, 2015.

“Some Arab-Americans resist the designation Arab Americans as separate from the category ‘white’ on the US census form because they don’t consider themselves a minority. However, Arab Americans are de jure but not de facto members of the white majority. They are in limbo- legally considered a part of the white majority but de facto seen as “other,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director.

“Arab Americans are not perceived by the broad American society as white. And since they are legally white, Arab Americans don’t benefit from the classification of minority status with all the legal and political ramifications such classification entails,” continued Hamad.

What really matters to the vast majority of Arab Americans is to be counted. In a democracy numbers are very important. AHRC urges all people living in this US to participate in the census. It is not possible to exaggerate the importance of being counted. Being counted is a human right.

You can send your views to regarding this important matter to Ms. Jennifer Jessup, at the Census Bureau, at: jjessup@doc.gov. In addition, you can read more about this
important issue of debate, see Detroit News and AP coverage about it:



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