Census time

It’s 2010, and that can only mean one thing. The United States government wants to know how many people live within its borders. 

Curiously, the 2010 census forms now being received in mailboxes across the country, lists 29 different ethnic identifications. The category "Asian" alone has multiple subcategories to choose from, including Japanese, native Hawaiian, Laotian, Filipino and Samoan. 

Guess what doesn’t appear: Arabs and Jews. And Palestinian-American writer Ray Hanania thinks that’s insulting. 

I know why they don’t have Arab or Jew written on the US Census form. They don’t have any room left on the form.

Now, many people think that Jews already “control the news media” and don’t need to be counted. They have the highest voter turnout of any group in the country and are considered among the most politically empowered.

SO THAT leaves us Arabs. What do we have? Zip. Zilch. Zero. How many ways can I say ‘nothing’? The fact that the US government doesn’t want to know how many Arabs there are in America or where they live is really kind of strange, actually.

Because since September 11, 2001, the US government has done everything it can to identify Arabs and Muslims, too. Usually at airports, profiling us to pull us out of lines and give us the third degree. When it comes to something bad, the government is all over us as Arabs. But when it comes to getting something good, like power, the US government leaves us out. And it doesn’t count us.

We’re told when we complain that Arabs are not listed on the US Census form that we Arabs can just write our name on the “other” line at the bottom of the form.

That is so demeaning. I don’t want to be “other.” How much have we lost as Arabs in America because we’re not counted by the census?

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