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Samia Muraweh, 19, is Ukrainian and Irish on her mother’s side, and Palestinian on her father’s side. Samia Muraweh, whose father is Palestinian, hesitates calling herself “brown” because of her light complexion. In the brief, the institute also challenged the government’s inclusion of a citizenship question and its exclusion of the MENA category, despite decades of advocacy and testing showing that the category would promote an accurate count of the Arab Americans and other ethnic communities who currently do not have a place on the census form. All rights reserved. The NAACP Empowerment Programs and Experian today announced the launch of a pilot program to assist African American homeowners at risk of losing their homes. That’s why some community groups rooted in the Arab American community have launched outreach campaigns of their own. The basal two deities of Berber cosmology - a solar figure and a lunar one - are loosely analogous to those of the Egyptians, suggesting a common cultural origin. North African populations have been described as a mosaic of North African, Middle Eastern, European and sub-Saharan ancestries. No Middle Eastern Or North African Category On 2020 Census, Bureau Says The Census Bureau's announcement about its race and ethnicity questions … FIG. In conferences I have … Hag, 37, is too dark-complexioned to pass for white. Arabs in the United States were in court from the 1930s to the 1950s fighting for the right to call themselves white. Although one part of his ethnic identity will not be represented in 2020, Shami said he is doing what he can to make sure that as many Muslims as possible make their voices heard. “If I am to be identified by a race, I resemble African Americans.”. We clearly are not and what gives the government the right to label us as such? About 2000 years ago Berber Mauritania's king Juba's expedition went as far west as the Canaries — long before their inhabitants were slaughtered by European pirates. © 2020 Cronkite News. “There isn’t one simple trajectory.”. That’s possible because of another first: In 2020, respondents can fill out census forms online. Jeremy Vetter, an associate professor of history at the University of Arizona, said these have ranged from “changing ideas of race and ethnicity” to “empowerment of different groups of people and how they should be recorded.”, “It’s been a long, messy process,” Vetter said. To them, the word means a lot more than skin color. Take Usama Shami, the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix. For example, people might identify their race as Aboriginal, African American or Black, Asian, European American or White, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Māori, or some other race. Elkeshky, 36, has a lighter skin tone than her husband, but, she said, calling herself white doesn’t feel right. The Arab American Institute last year filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to force the U.S. government to disclose internal documents detailing the decision that led to the exclusion of MENA as a category in the 2020 census. Meanwhile, at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, Shami has welcomed volunteers and census workers on Fridays, a dedicated day of worship for Muslims, to talk about the importance of participating in the survey. The time has come to discuss North Africa, but are they White, Black or Middle Eastern? The time has come to discuss North Africa, but are they White, Black or Middle Eastern? Creative Commons. In an increasingly diverse country, the “Other” category has become the third-largest race group in the United States. */. History was made in North Carolina last night. That means many respondents from the region – usually referred to by its acronym MENA – will again check the box that reads “White, including Middle Eastern” in the 2020 census. The flyers read: “Census 2020, Fair & Accurate for Arizona.”. Still, on government forms, he said that he usually chooses “Other” because categorizing himself as white seems wrong. Learn more about what we do and how to find our content on our broadcast, digital and social media platforms. Historically, Imazighen nations spoke the Tamazight languages, which are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. North Africans aren't black The idea that North Africans are black arose as a desperate attempt by black academics to culturally validate sub-Saharan Africans by arbitrarily equating "Africa" with "black" in order that black people could take credit for the great civilizations of North Africa. The answer to this question, simply put, is that if you have Africa North on your ethnicity results, then it is likely that all of your ancestors were not European. Are North Africans Black, white, Middle Eastern or arabic & are they indigenous to … The option seems far from ideal. Those were different times. When he travels with white co-workers, Shami said he is almost always the only one who is pulled aside for a secondary screening by TSA employees. Despite its size, Libya has a small population relative to other African nations. 2020 - 2021 Marathons held in Africa The calendar regroups all kinds of activities (Running, Walking, Nordic Walking, Vertical Races, Obstacle races, Dog runs, Multiday events ...). Find a staff list and description of our beats here. Creative Commons, Arab American Institute and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Even in COVID-19 climate, job security an issue for coaches, including Arizona’s Sumlin, First COVID-19 vaccines, vaccinations expected in Arizona by Dec. 15, Teams, families scramble following Phoenix City Council decision to cancel sports tournaments, Greatness of Mesquite quarterback Ty Thompson to be featured in 4A semifinal, Home on the road: COVID-19 closures mean Lakers fans will travel to see the champs play, Once used to track foodborne illnesses, UArizona team now traces COVID contacts, Navajo warn hospitals at ‘breaking point’ in worsening COVID-19 surge, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. That they think that, yeah, it’s OK.”. Hanno (ca 500–450 BC): the North African navigator Hano was among the first to explore the west African coast. “We need people who speak the languages of the neighborhoods that they’re going to work in,” he said. The presence of proto-Berber peoples from prehistory is evident in Saharan caves, where rock paintings depicting diverse megafaunal life point to evidence that before the desertification of the Sahara, northern Africa was a lush and resource-rich region populated by hunter-gatherer societies. Now, for decades, the U.S. government has categorized people with roots in the Middle East or in North Africa as white. These countries, along with Mauritania and Tunisia, are often referred to as the Maghreb. For example, a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality said collecting health data in the Latino community has been a challenge because many Latino respondents check “Some other race” on official forms. They still suffer from discrimination. In a news conference in Phoenix in October, Timothy Olson, associate director of field operations for the Census Bureau, said 20% of the 900,000 people who have applied to work as recruiters for the 2020 census speak at least one language other than English. It's an area of stark contrast, with the hospitable Mediterranean coast to … The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix is one of many mosques working to ensure Arizona’s Muslim community is represented on the 2020 census. Many judges concluded that Middle Easterners were covered by the Immigration Act of 1924, which barred Asians from entering the country. The first northwestern African capital was at al-Qayrawan. One other is the diversity of the region. These, Stiffler said, are some of the main reasons behind the push from the community to have its own designation on the census. North Africa, region of Africa comprising the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.. The majority of North Africa's population west of Egypt is believed to be Imazighen in ethnic origin, although due to Arabization and Islamization some ethnic Imazighen identify as Arabized Berbers. (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). As a digital reporter for Cronkite News, she focuses primarily on how politics and public policy affect marginalized communities. One of the largest is “Yalla, Count Me In” (“yalla” means “come on” in Arabic), a partnership between the Arab American Institute and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which are both based in Washington, D.C. Adi said a main goal of the campaign is “making sure that everyone understands that the data that the Census Bureau is collecting is the most protected data that the government collects,” which is why an accurate count is critical. The Home Preservation Grant will provide mortgage relief for grant recipients suffering from … Despite these efforts, for a lot of Middle Easterners and North Africans, filling out a census form next year will yet again be an exercise in frustration. The 2020 census was supposed to include a new race category for people from the Middle East and North Africa. Ninety percent of this land area is covered in the Libyan Desert. §count races … The U.S. Census Bureau offers a narrow definition, known as MENA, which includes all people, regardless of race, who claim ancestry from a limited … “I always had a really hard time fitting myself into a category because I’m never Arab enough,” Harb said. Like Muraweh, Jordan Harb can also pass as white because of his light skin. Adding Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) group as a Federal race/ethnicity classification? Outside, by the intricate steel doors that guard the main entrance, two volunteers working for the Council of American-Islamic Relations, known as CAIR, hand small blue flyers to the worshipers who pass by, many of them Muslim refugees from countries in the Middle East and Africa. For many Middle Easterners and North Africans, selecting “Other” on a government survey that is the constitutional base for important political decisions – from determining how many representatives each state will have in Congress to distributing federal funding – feels like negating their identity. Race-based legislation in the North 1807 - 1850: ... African Americans in the North lived in a strange state of semi-freedom. (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). The Arab conquest of North Africa began between 642-645 when general 'Amr ibn el-Aasi based in Egypt led his armies westward. It includes people who indicate their race as "White" or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab, Moroccan, or Caucasian. Some of them may pass as white, but others do not. I truly believe that we are the group that’s discriminated against the most, especially when it comes to applying to colleges. In 2017, the American Community Survey, an annual sampling of the U.S. population by the Census Bureau, estimated there were 1.9 million Arab Americans in the country. Although we (North Africans) are considered Caucasian, I always choose African American or Black. “I’ve been living here for 40 years, and when this experience does not bother others, to me, that’s a problem,” Shami said. Black or African American. Inside, he feels as if he’s “always the foreigner on both sides.” His father was 10 when he fled Lebanon’s civil war in 1988 and moved to Salt Lake City, where he eventually met Harb’s mother. “Ohio State University history Professor Robert Davis describes the White Slave Trade as minimized by most modern historians in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500–1800 . 6 (2 views). These help answer people's questions about ethnicity, race, and the overall origins of the human population. But it has its problems. The current standards were published in 1997. Since moving to the United States in 2005, they have often selected “Other” when that option was available. But that is not the case with a lot of his relatives on the Lebanese side of his family. This explains the current genetic structure in North Africa, characterized by diverse and heterogeneous populations, and why nearby populations inhabiting the same location might be genetically more distant than groups of people in geographically distant populations. Learn more about the history and significance of the North Africa campaigns in this article. And while she fully embraces her Palestinian identity, she hesitates in calling herself “brown” because of her light complexion. “We’re completely cut out of the picture when it comes to research on a variety of topics in this country,” said Jordan Harb, 19, who is half-Lebanese. Lack of trust in the government is one reason Arab Americans have low response rates in the census, said Suher Adi, a policy associate at the Arab American Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1985. Already, there are discrepancies. When it’s not, their next choice is “White, including Middle Eastern,” despite both of them saying that white doesn’t accurately represent their Egyptian identity. “If they don’t know the number of this minority group, then they tend not to listen to the problems that this group is facing,” said Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. “Korean,” a stand-alone ethnic category from 1920 to 1940, vanished for two decades, returning in 1970 in response to an increase in the number of Korean immigrants in the United States. To these respondents, checking a box that reads “white” does not mean they are treated as white Americans or benefit from the privileges that come with being white. That means many respondents from the region – usually referred to by its acronym MENA – will again check the box that reads “White, including Middle Eastern” in the 2020 census. Adi, the institute’s policy associate, said the bureau’s reluctance to add the MENA category in 2020 “seemed quite evident that it might have been politically motivated.”, Adi said the Arab American Institute hopes the lawsuit will help “get understanding” as to why the MENA category was abandoned last year “without any explanation as the research that went behind it and the advocacy internally in the bureau that went into it.”. Some of them may pass as white, but others do not. And it all starts in the mosque’s pink building next to the southbound lanes of Interstate 17, on the edge of one of the most diverse slices of Phoenix. (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). In every decennial census, under “race,” Shami picks “White, including Middle Eastern,” though, to him, the choice has never felt right. Within Arizona, the bureau has partnered with mosques to reach out to immigrants from Muslim countries, including those in the Middle East — a “hard to count community,” in government terms, because its level of participation in the census is very low. And that’s often a problem. He sometimes selects African American on government forms; on his father’s side, he is Nubian, the indigenous people of southern Egypt and Sudan. The sun pours through the open panels of the rose-colored walls of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, where men and women from different cultures and backgrounds are filing in for Friday prayers – jumu’ah, in Arabic. They got what they wanted. Cronkite News is the news division of Arizona PBS. North Africa: Maghreb (Mauritania, Morocco, Western Sahara), Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya: … In politics and academia, north African countries are commonly grouped with the Middle East under the umbrella of MENA. “I want them to be able to feel like they are well-represented in their community or in their workplace and they’re not ignored,” Elkeshky said. 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). Instead, the administration decided to repeat the same racial and ethnic categories used in the previous census, in 2010. At school, they are registered under different racial categories. “Because deep inside their minds, I feel that they really think that I deserve it. 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