White Paper Series

Make Us Count: Toward a Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) Box on the Census

Posted on August 27, 2015

No community should be invisible. That is why the Campaign to TAKE ON HATE, led by the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), recently published the second study of its original White Paper Series, titled Make Us Count: Toward a Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) Box on the Census.

>>Scroll below to read the study.

It closely examines the proposed Middle East and North Africa (MENA) category and highlights the interests Arab Americans stand to gain if it is adopted in 2020. People who trace their roots to the MENA region are currently lost and essentially "invisible" in census data. This means critical information that would help address the needs of Arab Americans and other communities is missing. The proposed inclusion of the MENA category is part of a more than 20-year effort to address the exclusion of these populations in federal data collection.  This designation will serve as a resource to policy makers, federal and local officials, public institutions, service organizations and the public in assessing the status and needs of these communities.

Written by Khaled A. Beydoun, TAKE ON HATE Senior Strategist and Assistant Professor at Barry University School of Law, the study explores the (1) existential, (2) political, (3) legal and (4) economic interests that Arab Americans stand to gain if the box is adopted, which encompass a range of anticipated benefits including: enhanced legal protection against hate crimes and anti-Arab racism, enhanced political influence and voter mobilization, access to remedial programs within the educational, employment and business spheres, and more.

>>Listen to Beydoun's interview with Vocalo (Chicago Public Media) discussing the latest White Paper.

“TAKE ON HATE's White Paper Series will serve as a resource for news media, academic and research institutions and the general public on issues of bigotry and discrimination, particularly toward Arab and Muslim Americans,” said Nadia Tonova, Director of NNAAC.

TAKE ON HATE’s first study in its White Paper Series, titled Many Faces of Hate: The Distinct Forms of Anti-Arab Bigotry and Violence, highlighted the recent resurgence in anti-Arab bigotry and deconstructed the myth that anti-Arab discrimination is monolithic.

Make Us Count: Toward a Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) Box on the Census