'Are We White?': SoCal's Arab-Americans Debate Which Box To Check On The Census
Until about a year ago, plans were moving forward to include a category in the 2020 census referred to as MENA, for "Middle Eastern or North African."
It would have allowed a more accurate count of Americans of Arabic, Persian and other Middle Eastern or North African descent. In previous censuses, many identified as "white."
But last year the Trump administration nixed that idea, announcing that the MENA category will not be included.
Now, with a year to go before the decennial count, community advocates are gearing up to do outreach in the hope that people self-identify as Middle Eastern and North African on census forms so there's a more accurate count of a population that, in terms of data at least, is pretty much invisible.
But not everyone agrees on which box they should check.