“You’re making us invisible.”
(US Rep. Rashida Tlaib)
I haven’t been paying any attention to the Census other than noting that we have received at least three mailings telling us to get it done.
Here we learn that Arab-speaking immigrants to the Detroit area are working hard to be sure they are not undercounted so they can get their government goodies. But, government goodies aren’t given out to specific ethnic groups anyway.
I suspect the real reason is that they want to be sure that mostly Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa are designated separately as a way to show their potential political power.
From the AP at Fox 13:
Hard-to-count Arab Americans urged to prioritize census
DEARBORN, Mich. — (AP) — At a Michigan gas station, the message is obvious — at least to Arabic speakers: Be counted in the 2020 census.
“Provide your community with more/additional opportunities,” the ad on the pump handle reads in Arabic. In the fine print, next to “United States Census 2020,” it adds: “To shape your future with your own hands, start here.”
As state officials and nonprofit groups target hard-to-count groups like immigrants, people of color and those in poverty, many Arab Americans say the undercount is even more pronounced for them.
That means one of the largest and most concentrated Arab populations outside the Middle East — those in the Detroit area — could be missing out on federal funding for education, health care, crime prevention and other programs that the census determines how to divvy up.
That also includes money to help states address the fallout from the coronavirus.
“We are trying to encourage people not just to fill it out because of all the reasons we had given before, where there’s education and health care and all of that, but also because it is essential for the federal government to know who is in Michigan at this point more than ever before,” said Rima Meroueh, director of policy and advocacy with Dearborn-based ACCESS, one of the largest Arab American advocacy nonprofits in the country.
The Arab American community checks many boxes that census and nonprofit officials say are hallmarks of the hardest-to-count communities: large numbers of young children, non-English speakers, recent immigrants and those who often live in multifamily or rental housing.
But groups face a hurdle after the Trump administration decided not to include a category that counts people from the Middle East or North Africa as their own group. The Census Bureau recommended the so-called MENA box in 2017 after years of research and decades of advocacy.
The decision to scrap the choice angers many Arab Americans, who say it hinders representation and needed funding. Democratic U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, an Arab American representing part of Detroit and several suburbs, expressed her displeasure while questioning Census Bureau director Steven Dillingham on Capitol Hill in February.
“The community did it right — they went through the process,” she said. “You’re making us invisible.”
Does it make any sense to you? Is the area around Detroit going to get any less stuff if Arab-speaking people of the Middle East and North Africa don’t get a separate category? Or is it more about flexing some Arab-power muscle?
Just so you know here (below) is the region they are talking about, the region they call MENA—the area (still expanding) colonized by the followers of Mohammed.
Do we refer to Muslims in Africa as colonizers or is that dirty word only reserved for western countries that colonized Africa through the centuries? Just wondering. Heck we could say that Arabs are colonizing Michigan and Somalis are colonizing Minnesota!
A little fact you might not know: The number one language of refugees admitted to the US for at least the last twelve years is Arabic.