Take Action: Make Sure Arabs Are Counted

Washington, D.C. | March 13, 2023 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) calls on all its members to tell the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that counting Arab Americans is essential, you can do that now by clicking here.

For too long, the experiences of Arabs have been lumped in with the larger “white” population despite reality directly opposing this classification.

Make Sure OMB Hears You Voice!

OMB released a proposal for updating the racial and ethnic standards used by the federal government. This directive, titled Statistical Policy Directive 15, was last updated in 1997, and outlines the minimum standards that every federal agency must use when collecting demographic information. In its proposal, OMB is looking to add Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as an additional category in a single question. First and foremost, OMB must be applauded for recognizing Arabs’ unique ethnicity. It is the most basic of actions, but one that will have a significant positive impact.

Tell OMB That Counting Arabs Is Essential!

However, the proposed nationality and ethnic group examples provided in the Working Group’s initial proposal do not adequately represent the MENA category. In the comment that is being submitted using the link, it is pointed out that OMB should follow the approach the Census Bureau typically adopts and reflect the largest groups that would ultimately be represented in the federal data. This would ensure that the final adopted definition encompasses the true breadth of the Arab American community.

For those who want to hear directly from OMB on its proposal, the agency is hosting three town halls to hear directly from the American public about the initial proposals to revise Statistical Policy Directive No. 15: Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (SPD 15). Here are the details for each of the three town halls:

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