Author Topic: White House Ponders new Racial Category  (Read 971 times)

Offline Hypestyle

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White House Ponders new Racial Category
« on: October 01, 2016, 04:45:11 am »
This could have dramatic implications for the Detroit area for sure.  We'll see what transpires...

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WASHINGTON — The White House is putting forward a proposal to add a new racial category for people from the Middle East and North Africa under what would be the biggest realignment of federal racial definitions in decades.

If approved, the new designation could appear on census forms in 2020 and could have far-reaching implications for racial identity, anti-discrimination laws and health research.

Under current law, people from the Middle East are considered white, the legacy of century-old court rulings in which Syrian Americans argued that they should not be considered Asian — because that designation would deny them citizenship under the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. But scholars and community leaders say more and more people with their roots in the Middle East find themselves caught between white, black and Asian classifications that don't fully reflect their identities.

"What it does is it helps these communities feel less invisible," said Helen Samhan of the Arab American Institute, which has been advocating the change for more than 30 years. "It’s a good step, a positive step."

On Friday, the White House Office of Management and Budget advanced the proposal with a notice in the Federal Register, seeking comments on whether to add Middle Eastern and North African as a separate racial or ethnic category, which groups would be included, and what it should be called.

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). It would include anyone from a region of the world stretching from Morocco to Iran, and including Syrian and Coptic Christians, Israeli Jews and other religious minorities.

But the Census Bureau, which has been quietly studying the issue for two years, also has gotten caught up in debates about some groups — such as Turkish, Sudanese and Somali Americans — who aren't included in that category. Those are issues the White House is trying to resolve before adding the box on 2020 census forms.

Adding a box on the census form could have implications beyond racial identity. According to the White House notice, the new data could be used for a wide range of political and policy purposes, including:

• Enforcing the Voting Rights Act and drawing congressional and state legislative district boundaries;

• Establishing federal affirmative action plans and evaluating claims of employment discrimination in employment in the private sector;

• Monitoring discrimination in housing, mortgage lending and credit;

• Enforcing school desegregation policies; and

• Helping minority-owned small businesses get federal grants and loans.

Adding the classification also would help the government and independent scholars understand more about trends in health, employment and education.

"We can't even ask questions like that, because we don't have the data," said Germine Awad, an Egyptian-American and professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.

The racial classifications have been unchanged since 1997, and Michigan's congressional delegation has argued that they're due for an update. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., said Friday the White House action was good news. Adding a MENA category, she said, would allow many of her Michigan constituents to "accurately identify themselves and access the employment, health, education and representation services that are based on census data.”

There are an estimated 3.6 million Arab-Americans in the United States, but that doesn't include other ethnic groups that could put the total Middle Eastern and North African population above 10 million. According to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey — a survey conducted in between the 10-year census cycle based on a statistical sample — about 1 million people from the region are first-generation immigrants to the United States.

"You have individuals within this designation that would consider themselves white, and they certainly have a right to their identity. It’s not about identity in the psychological way. It’s about where would you fit the best on this form," Awad said. "If you talk to anybody at the census, they’ll tell you that their job is not to help anybody with their racial or ethnic identity."

And some, especially in the Muslim-American community, are also concerned about how the data might be used — especially given proposals by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for a moratorium on Muslim immigrants and for increased surveillance of Muslim communities.

"It just aids and facilitates the state's ability to know where these communities are in a very specific fashion," said Khalid Beydoun, a law professor at the University of Detroit. "My inclination is to think that individuals who might identify might not check the box for fear of retribution — especially if Trump wins."

But Beydoun, a naturalized citizen with Egyptian and Lebanese parents, said he still supports the proposal as an expression of Middle Eastern identity.

"In the grand scheme of things, it’s really a progressive stride forward," he said. "But in the broader landscape, it’s taking place in the context of greater animus against Arab Americans, and really, Islamophobia."

Comments on the proposal are due in 30 days, making it possible for the Obama administration to enact the change in the last three months of a presidency that has spent considerable effort to be more inclusive of Arab-Americans and other Middle Easterners.   

"I think with him being the first African-American president and being an obvious example of making the American fabric more diverse, that this could be  great sign of inclusion about what it means to be an American," Awad said.
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Offline Battle

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Re: White House Ponders new Racial Category
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2019, 01:47:47 pm »
...and on the Dark Continent:
Monday, 17th June 2019
Mohamed Morsy, ousted Egyptian president, dies in court
by Magdy Samaan and Kara Fox




Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, who was the country's first democratically elected leader, has died.

Morsy, 67, had been on trial Monday for an espionage case when he suffered a heart attack, Egypt's state-run Al Ahram online reported.

Egypt's public prosecution office said in statement that Morsy had been granted a request to speak before the trial ended.

After a five-minute statement, the court adjourned and Morsy was brought back inside a cage inside the court, where he fell unconscious, it said.

Morsy was dead when he arrived to the hospital at 4:50 pm (10:50 a.m. ET).

No apparent injuries were found on his body, according to the statement.

Morsy's lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, who is also the lead lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood, told CNN on Monday that Morsy had closed his statement by quoting a verse of a poem that read:

"My country is dear even if it oppressed me and my people are honorable even if they were unjust to me."

Abdel Maqsoud added that Morsy had not been allowed to see his lawyers or communicate with the outside world or his family and that he was detained in solitary confinement.

On Monday evening, Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reacted to the news, calling Morsy a "brother" and a "martyr," according to state-run news agency Anadolu.

Erdgoan also tweeted about Morsy's death, saying he had "conducted one of the biggest democratic struggles of the history."

A strict Islamist who was educated in southern California, Morsy was voted into power in June 2012 following the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak's longstanding rule.
 
A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsy had campaigned on appealing to the broadest possible audience.

But, during his year in power, critics say he became an authoritarian leader who forced through a conservative agenda.

In 2013, Morsy and the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood movement were ousted in a coup, with the Muslim Brotherhood banned by the government after the military seized power and declared it a terrorist organization.

Roughly 1,000 Egyptians – many of them Morsy supporters – were killed during protests against the military government.

Following his ouster, Morsy was tried en masse with Mohamed Badie – the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood – as well as more than 100 alleged members of the outlawed group, according to state media.

In 2015, he was sentenced to death over a jailbreak during the 2011 uprising and to life in prison on espionage charges after being convicted of conspiring with Palestinian group Hamas, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other foreign organizations.

Both of those sentences were widely criticized as political grandstanding.

Morsy was also handed a 25-year prison sentence for leaking state secrets to Qatar, and had received an additional 15-year sentence for other, lesser, charges.

In 2016, Morsy's death sentence and life sentence were overturned.

Last year, in a report from a panel commissioned by Morsy's family and made up of British Parliamentarians said that the conditions of his detention "would constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," and "could meet the threshold for torture in accordance (with) Egyptian and International law."

The panel wrote that Morsy is receiving inadequate medical care "which is likely to lead to premature death."

On Monday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called Morsy's death "entirely predictable" accusing the government of failing to allow him adequate medical care while he was in prison.

In a statement on Monday, the Muslim Brotherhood said it held Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his regime "accountable for the killing of the elected legitimate president, politically and criminally," and demanded an independent review into the circumstances of Morsy's death.

The group has called for demonstrations outside Egyptian embassies around the world at 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET).

Egyptian state media Al-Ahram reported Monday that Morsy was regularly examined by doctors and "was treated in accordance with the law while in detention."











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https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/mohamed-morsy-ousted-egyptian-president-dies-in-court/ar-AAD0L2I?ocid=spartanntp