Is There an Arab-American Race?
by Daniel Pipes
The "Alliance for Justice," a leftist organization known for its consistent opposition to Republican judicial nominees, compiles statistics, including those bearing on race, about federal judges. Here are the "races," that appear in a list on the Alliance for Justice's website:
Arab-Americans a race? (And for that matter, Hispanics a race?)
The Left's racial-obsessiveness has now turned a common language into a so-called race, bringing to mind discredited, specious, and mischievous notions of other linguistically-based races, such as the Semitic and the Aryan. Who knows, the Left next might take another leaf from the Victorian age and begin to measure heads to develop the phrenological characteristics for each of these alleged races. (November 8, 2003)
Nov. 21, 2003 update: As the USA Today headline today puts it, "U.S. Census reports on Arab-Americans for first time." And while the census report does not deem Arab-Americans to be a separate race, unlike the Alliance for Justice, this certainly does mark a step in the direction of some form of official recognition and perhaps even affirmative action.
For the record, the census finds that "Arabs numbered 1.2 million in 2000, up 38% since 1990 and double the number in 1980, when the Census began tracking ancestry." Oh, and of course this: "Arab groups already are complaining that the Census missed about 2 million people of Arab ancestry. They estimate there are more than 3 million Arabs in this country."
May 29, 2012 update: This bad idea, naturally, finds a home in the Obama administration, reports Rachel Leven in The Hill:
Comment: That's called turning lemons into lemonade.
Oct. 2, 2012 update: Matthew Vadum asks about an "Official Victim Status for Arab-Americans?" at FrontPageMag.com and argues against the status.
Jan. 30, 2015 update: The U.S. Census Bureau is considering allowing Americans of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) descent to identify themselves as such on the next census in 2020.
Reader comments (2) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes