I’m Middle Eastern And White, And Those Are Not The Same Thing

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-06-11 23:44Z by Steven

I’m Middle Eastern And White, And Those Are Not The Same Thing


Erica Pishdadian

It’s time to stop the confusion and give Middle Eastern and North African people our own racial classification.

I recently moved to New York City, and in between my two favorite hobbies (climbing up to my fifth floor apartment and sobbing over the state of my post-broker-fee bank account), I’ve been filling out a lot of job applications.

Agonizing over my resume and writing endless cover letters is time-consuming, but the most annoying part of the application process for me has nothing to do with trying to fit why I’m useful into a few short paragraphs.

I’m most aggravated by one of the simplest parts of the application: the “Please Select Your Race” portion.

My father is Iranian, and my mother is a mix of Western European. According to the Census definitions, I’m white. And that’s true; I am. But I’m only half white, because Middle Eastern and white are not the same thing.

The United States Census Bureau’s definition of white is “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.”

The first time I remember filling in a bubble for this question, I was in elementary school. I had to ask my teacher which races I counted as, and when she told me, all I could think about was how much darker I was than the kids around me. I’m visibly Middle Eastern, and while I’m not particularly dark-skinned, I’m not really white either…

Read the entire article here.

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