“We’re completely cut out of the picture when it comes to research on a variety of topics in this country,” said Jordan Harb, 19, who is half-Lebanese. For example, people might identify their race as Aboriginal, African American or Black, Asian, European American or White, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Māori, or some other race. Instead, the administration decided to repeat the same racial and ethnic categories used in the previous census, in 2010. The North African slave markets were part of the Berber slave trade. North Africa: Maghreb (Mauritania, Morocco, Western Sahara), Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya: … On that warm October afternoon, the volunteers were handing out fliers and asking mosque-goers to write down their phone numbers and email addresses so that they can be reminded to respond to the census once the questionnaires are out. History was made in North Carolina last night. Adding Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) group as a Federal race/ethnicity classification? The Middle East and North Africa is composed of about 20 countries, covering a vast array of ethnic groups, which complicates questions about race and ethnicity. And it all starts in the mosque’s pink building next to the southbound lanes of Interstate 17, on the edge of one of the most diverse slices of Phoenix. It also filed an amicus brief this year when the Trump administration’s push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census came before the Supreme Court, arguing that the question would lower the participation of ethnic communities that would fall under the MENA category, as well as other communities of color. The North Africa campaigns were a series of World War II battles for control of the Suez Canal, a vital lifeline for Britain’s colonial empire, and the oil resources of the Middle East. The Home Preservation Grant will provide mortgage relief for grant recipients suffering from … Outside, by the intricate steel doors that guard the main entrance, two volunteers working for the Council of American-Islamic Relations, known as CAIR, hand small blue flyers to the worshipers who pass by, many of them Muslim refugees from countries in the Middle East and Africa. One is that it makes it harder to identify trends specific to certain communities, particularly health statistics, which are directly linked to race and ethnicity categories defined by the census. © 2020 Cronkite News. In an interview, he recalled his time as a college student in rural Oklahoma, when he saw a fellow Palestinian get beaten up by a white student while putting gas in his car and heard of a Syrian student who had a kidney permanently damaged after two white men attacked him, seemingly for no reason. Shami, 57, who is of Palestinian descent, has struggled to find the right way to identify himself on government forms since coming to the United States from Kuwait in the 1970s. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. In conferences I have … 6 (2 views). If Hag could have his pick, he would identify himself as “Arab and Egyptian,” he said. – OMB Proposal Open for Public Comment in the Federal Register until April 30 th. The idea was proposed during the Obama administration, after many years of pressure from members of a growing community asking to be counted as they think they should. These help answer people's questions about ethnicity, race, and the overall origins of the human population. In politics and academia, north African countries are commonly grouped with the Middle East under the umbrella of MENA. In 2017, the American Community Survey, an annual sampling of the U.S. population by the Census Bureau, estimated there were 1.9 million Arab Americans in the country. In a news conference in Phoenix in October, Timothy Olson, associate director of field operations for the Census Bureau, said 20% of the 900,000 people who have applied to work as recruiters for the 2020 census speak at least one language other than English. That’s possible because of another first: In 2020, respondents can fill out census forms online. But as the years passed, they began to realize that identifying as white may not be their best choice. Around that time, Stiffler said, Arabs began to hire lawyers to help them gain the right to classify themselves as white, using money raised by their community to pay for the legal fees. It may be the case that all of your known ancestors, or all of your recent ancestors as far back as you can trace, were of primarily European descent. That means many respondents from the region – usually referred to by its acronym MENA – will again check the box that reads “White, including Middle Eastern” in the 2020 census. The army quickly took Barqa, Tripoli, and Sabratha, establishing a military outpost for further successes in the Maghreb of coastal northwestern Africa. Race-based legislation in the North 1807 - 1850: ... African Americans in the North lived in a strange state of semi-freedom. It denotes an identity. Hag, 37, is too dark-complexioned to pass for white. We clearly are not and what gives the government the right to label us as such? Thanks for watching! Find a staff list and description of our beats here. That they think that, yeah, it’s OK.”. Within Arizona, the bureau has partnered with mosques to reach out to immigrants from Muslim countries, including those in the Middle East — a “hard to count community,” in government terms, because its level of participation in the census is very low. Now, for decades, the U.S. government has categorized people with roots in the Middle East or in North Africa as white. /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. It has been regarded by some as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east, though this designation is more commonly referred to as northern Africa. An equally standardized Mediterranean from the Riffian coastal tribe of Beni Itteft, northern Morocco. The answer to this question, simply put, is that if you have Africa North on your ethnicity results, then it is likely that all of your ancestors were not European. Black or African American. Learn more about what we do and how to find our content on our broadcast, digital and social media platforms. “The way that my family has been treated and the way that my family lives in this country is not the equivalent of the majority of my peers who would consider themselves white,” said Jordan Harb, who is Lebanese. The first northwestern African capital was at al-Qayrawan. He sometimes selects African American on government forms; on his father’s side, he is Nubian, the indigenous people of southern Egypt and Sudan. For example, a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality said collecting health data in the Latino community has been a challenge because many Latino respondents check “Some other race” on official forms. That means many respondents from the region – usually referred to by its acronym MENA – will again check the box that reads “White, including Middle Eastern” in the 2020 census. Many judges concluded that Middle Easterners were covered by the Immigration Act of 1924, which barred Asians from entering the country. But that is not the case with a lot of his relatives on the Lebanese side of his family. Ninety percent of this land area is covered in the Libyan Desert. The NAACP Empowerment Programs and Experian today announced the launch of a pilot program to assist African American homeowners at risk of losing their homes. In every decennial census, under “race,” Shami picks “White, including Middle Eastern,” though, to him, the choice has never felt right. Cronkite News is the news division of Arizona PBS. The geographic entity North Africa has no single accepted definition. “I’ve been living here for 40 years, and when this experience does not bother others, to me, that’s a problem,” Shami said. Creative Commons. “Korean,” a stand-alone ethnic category from 1920 to 1940, vanished for two decades, returning in 1970 in response to an increase in the number of Korean immigrants in the United States. Some of them may pass as white, but others do not. The presence of proto-Berber peoples from prehistory is evident in Saharan caves, where rock paintings depicting diverse megafaunal life point to evidence that before the desertification of the Sahara, northern Africa was a lush and resource-rich region populated by hunter-gatherer societies. Learn more about the history and significance of the North Africa campaigns in this article. “We need people who speak the languages of the neighborhoods that they’re going to work in,” he said. No Middle Eastern Or North African Category On 2020 Census, Bureau Says The Census Bureau's announcement about its race and ethnicity questions … When he travels with white co-workers, Shami said he is almost always the only one who is pulled aside for a secondary screening by TSA employees. (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). One of the largest is “Yalla, Count Me In” (“yalla” means “come on” in Arabic), a partnership between the Arab American Institute and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which are both based in Washington, D.C. Adi said a main goal of the campaign is “making sure that everyone understands that the data that the Census Bureau is collecting is the most protected data that the government collects,” which is why an accurate count is critical. I truly believe that we are the group that’s discriminated against the most, especially when it comes to applying to colleges. Although one part of his ethnic identity will not be represented in 2020, Shami said he is doing what he can to make sure that as many Muslims as possible make their voices heard. How is that possible that we are white? At school, they are registered under different racial categories. Take Usama Shami, the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix. These countries, along with Mauritania and Tunisia, are often referred to as the Maghreb. 5 (2 views); A small Mediterranean who may be taken as a type example of this race in its North African form. In an increasingly diverse country, the “Other” category has become the third-largest race group in the United States. He said that nearly everyone around him considers him a minority, but that when his ethnicity is lumped with “white” in the census, it feels as though the U.S. government does not. Adi, the institute’s policy associate, said the bureau’s reluctance to add the MENA category in 2020 “seemed quite evident that it might have been politically motivated.”, Adi said the Arab American Institute hopes the lawsuit will help “get understanding” as to why the MENA category was abandoned last year “without any explanation as the research that went behind it and the advocacy internally in the bureau that went into it.”. Samia Muraweh, whose father is Palestinian, hesitates calling herself “brown” because of her light complexion. In the brief, the institute also challenged the government’s inclusion of a citizenship question and its exclusion of the MENA category, despite decades of advocacy and testing showing that the category would promote an accurate count of the Arab Americans and other ethnic communities who currently do not have a place on the census form. The North African nation of Libya covers 1,759,541 km 2 of land area. Race refers to physical differences that groups and cultures consider socially significant. Are North Africans Black, white, Middle Eastern or arabic & are they indigenous to … “I think many people are resorting to using the term brown because, rather than more of like a physical trait, it’s more of like the ambiguity of ‘I’m not actually white, but I’m not black,'” Muraweh said. The current standards were published in 1997. They fear the information they give will be used in some form of surveillance. Immigrants from Lebanon, Syria and Palestine seeking citizenship in the United States faced opposition from nativists, who favored greater rights for white, native-born Americans, according to Matthew Jaber Stiffler, research and content manager at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The time has come to discuss North Africa, but are they White, Black or Middle Eastern? “I want them to be able to feel like they are well-represented in their community or in their workplace and they’re not ignored,” Elkeshky said. And that’s often a problem. Despite these efforts, for a lot of Middle Easterners and North Africans, filling out a census form next year will yet again be an exercise in frustration. Under the proposal, the new Middle East and North African designation — or MENA, as it's called by population scholars — is broader in concept than Arab (an ethnicity) or Muslim (a religion). Like Muraweh, Jordan Harb can also pass as white because of his light skin. They still suffer from discrimination. To them, the word means a lot more than skin color. North African Ethnicity The North Africa region includes modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Western Sahara and Libya. North African populations have been described as a mosaic of North African, Middle Eastern, European and sub-Saharan ancestries. For Eslam Hag and Maie Elkeshky, a married couple from Egypt, the question of race is just as complicated, but for other reasons. Meanwhile, at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, Shami has welcomed volunteers and census workers on Fridays, a dedicated day of worship for Muslims, to talk about the importance of participating in the survey. The Arab American Institute last year filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to force the U.S. government to disclose internal documents detailing the decision that led to the exclusion of MENA as a category in the 2020 census. (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). Lack of trust in the government is one reason Arab Americans have low response rates in the census, said Suher Adi, a policy associate at the Arab American Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1985. Elkeshky registered their two daughters as white because there was no other option, she said. The option seems far from ideal. About 2000 years ago Berber Mauritania's king Juba's expedition went as far west as the Canaries — long before their inhabitants were slaughtered by European pirates. PHOENIX – It’s late October but still too warm for fall. FIG. “If they don’t know the number of this minority group, then they tend not to listen to the problems that this group is facing,” said Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix. (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). The 2020 census was supposed to include a new race category for people from the Middle East and North Africa. Inside, the sound of the athan, the Muslim call to prayer, reverberates loudly. It's an area of stark contrast, with the hospitable Mediterranean coast to … When it’s not, their next choice is “White, including Middle Eastern,” despite both of them saying that white doesn’t accurately represent their Egyptian identity. The 2020 census was supposed to include a new race category for people from the Middle East and North Africa, but the Trump administration scrapped the plan early last year. But it has its problems. “I understand my family doesn’t have the same perks that I do.”. The flyers read: “Census 2020, Fair & Accurate for Arizona.”. Starting in the 1980s, Arab Americans realized that identifying as white didn’t mean they would be treated as white Americans. Hiring them is part of an effort to get as many diverse voices as possible to respond, Olson said. And while she fully embraces her Palestinian identity, she hesitates in calling herself “brown” because of her light complexion. The basal two deities of Berber cosmology - a solar figure and a lunar one - are loosely analogous to those of the Egyptians, suggesting a common cultural origin. (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). 2020 - 2021 Marathons held in Africa The calendar regroups all kinds of activities (Running, Walking, Nordic Walking, Vertical Races, Obstacle races, Dog runs, Multiday events ...). They still are regarded as different. “It’s just, like, not being perceived by people in your own group and people outside of your group as a member of it,” she said. Hag registered their son as black. (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). “No one can tell if we’re being specific with what we’re going through because no one can track where we are.”, Since the first census in 1790, there have been many changes in the ways racial and ethnic categories are presented, for several reasons. These, Stiffler said, are some of the main reasons behind the push from the community to have its own designation on the census. That’s why some community groups rooted in the Arab American community have launched outreach campaigns of their own. Many younger Middle Easterners have embraced the term brown precisely because it’s ambiguous. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } The Arab conquest of North Africa began between 642-645 when general 'Amr ibn el-Aasi based in Egypt led his armies westward. Despite an ongoing push from some advocates, that … For many Middle Easterners and North Africans, selecting “Other” on a government survey that is the constitutional base for important political decisions – from determining how many representatives each state will have in Congress to distributing federal funding – feels like negating their identity. Still, on government forms, he said that he usually chooses “Other” because categorizing himself as white seems wrong. They got what they wanted. It includes people who indicate their race as "White" or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab, Moroccan, or Caucasian. To these respondents, checking a box that reads “white” does not mean they are treated as white Americans or benefit from the privileges that come with being white. “There’s a part of our message testing showing that there’s a fear of trust in the government – that is very understandable,” Adi said. The time has come to discuss North Africa, but are they White, Black or Middle Eastern? (It is also important to note that while all Arabs are from the Middle East and North Africa, not everyone from the Middle East and North Africa is Arab.). The 2013 estimate showed that 6,411,776 persons lived in Libya. Because so much attention was being paid to the presidential, gubernatorial, and U.S. Senate races here, the Lt. Governor’s race … One other is the diversity of the region. Samia Muraweh, 19, is Ukrainian and Irish on her mother’s side, and Palestinian on her father’s side. Despite its size, Libya has a small population relative to other African nations. Farah Eltohamy expects to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in spring 2021 and a master’s degree in spring 2022. */. “In terms of skin color or what I belong to, I feel more African,” Hag said. All rights reserved. This individual is a Shluh Berber from the Sous, south- ern Morocco. For her, the two sides are just not the same. Although we (North Africans) are considered Caucasian, I always choose African American or Black. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. Jeremy Vetter, an associate professor of history at the University of Arizona, said these have ranged from “changing ideas of race and ethnicity” to “empowerment of different groups of people and how they should be recorded.”, “It’s been a long, messy process,” Vetter said. I’m not white and I’m not ‘other,'” said Maie Elkeshky, who moved to the U.S. from Egypt with her husband, Eslam Hag, in 2005. Inside, he feels as if he’s “always the foreigner on both sides.” His father was 10 when he fled Lebanon’s civil war in 1988 and moved to Salt Lake City, where he eventually met Harb’s mother. But the Trump administration scrapped the plan early last year, a decision that advocates in Middle Eastern and North African communities say did not come with a convincing explanation. This explains the current genetic structure in North Africa, characterized by diverse and heterogeneous populations, and why nearby populations inhabiting the same location might be genetically more distant than groups of people in geographically distant populations. §count races … Already, there are discrepancies. A survey by the Arab American Institute, meanwhile, found that number to be may be much greater – 3.7 million. Since moving to the United States in 2005, they have often selected “Other” when that option was available. “But I’m never white enough to feel like I have a part of my mom’s family.”, “I would like to be represented and (have) people acknowledge that I’m here. Elkeshky, 36, has a lighter skin tone than her husband, but, she said, calling herself white doesn’t feel right. Samia Muraweh, whose father is Palestinian, hesitates calling herself “brown” because of her light complexion. Some of them may pass as white, but others do not. For example, “black” disappeared from census forms from 1930 to 1960, only to be reintroduced in 1970 because of the wave of racial pride that had grown in the wake of the civil rights movement. North Africans aren't black The idea that North Africans are black arose as a desperate attempt by black academics to culturally validate sub-Saharan Africans by arbitrarily equating "Africa" with "black" in order that black people could take credit for the great civilizations of North Africa. The U.S. Census Bureau offers a narrow definition, known as MENA, which includes all people, regardless of race, who claim ancestry from a limited … The economy of Libya is largely dependent on the oil industry. The majority of North Africa's population west of Egypt is believed to be Imazighen in ethnic origin, although due to Arabization and Islamization some ethnic Imazighen identify as Arabized Berbers. Although there won’t be any new categories for the 2020 questionnaire, the Census Bureau will for the first time make census forms available in 13 languages, including Arabic, which is widely spoken in the Middle East and North Africa. Find out how your news organization can use Cronkite News content. “Ohio State University history Professor Robert Davis describes the White Slave Trade as minimized by most modern historians in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500–1800 . (Photo by Chloe Jones/Cronkite News). Creative Commons, Arab American Institute and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Even in COVID-19 climate, job security an issue for coaches, including Arizona’s Sumlin, First COVID-19 vaccines, vaccinations expected in Arizona by Dec. 15, Teams, families scramble following Phoenix City Council decision to cancel sports tournaments, Greatness of Mesquite quarterback Ty Thompson to be featured in 4A semifinal, Home on the road: COVID-19 closures mean Lakers fans will travel to see the champs play, Once used to track foodborne illnesses, UArizona team now traces COVID contacts, Navajo warn hospitals at ‘breaking point’ in worsening COVID-19 surge, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “There isn’t one simple trajectory.”. A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. This video addresses some common questions about north Africans. The Middle East and North Africa is composed of about 20 countries, covering a vast array of ethnic groups, which complicates questions about race and ethnicity. As a digital reporter for Cronkite News, she focuses primarily on how politics and public policy affect marginalized communities. For Elkeshky, finding a more suitable category for Middle Easterners and North Africans is important not so much because of how she and her husband identify themselves, but because of their three children. Arabs in the United States were in court from the 1930s to the 1950s fighting for the right to call themselves white. “If I am to be identified by a race, I resemble African Americans.”. What are the genetics of countries of Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya?Today, let's tackle the issue of genetics, admixture and ethnic identity in the modern countries of North Africa from a historic perspective.I realize the assertions I make about the identity of modern North Africans like the Egyptians, Algerians and Moroccans do not apply to everyone, and that everyone has a different outlook.Let me know your thoughts on the region of North Africa, and it's very tumultuous fluctuating history and people down in the comments below. Hanno (ca 500–450 BC): the North African navigator Hano was among the first to explore the west African coast. The Islamic Community Center of Phoenix is one of many mosques working to ensure Arizona’s Muslim community is represented on the 2020 census. The sun pours through the open panels of the rose-colored walls of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, where men and women from different cultures and backgrounds are filing in for Friday prayers – jumu’ah, in Arabic. The daily news products are produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. FIG. Those were different times. Race and ethnicity standards are determined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB). One day while walking to a convenience store, Shami himself was the target of thrown beer bottles. “Some other race,” a catchall category for people from many parts of the world who don’t see themselves in any of the options provided by the census, has become the go-to choice for Middle Easterners and North Africans who aren’t comfortable calling themselves white, according to an analysis of the 2015 National Content Test, which is used by the U.S. Census Bureau to define potential categories for future questionnaires. “I always had a really hard time fitting myself into a category because I’m never Arab enough,” Harb said. Historically, Imazighen nations spoke the Tamazight languages, which are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. “Because deep inside their minds, I feel that they really think that I deserve it. North Africa, region of Africa comprising the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.. 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