No, I’m not Hispanic. I’m Arab.

Ian M.,
Orange County, CA.

My mom is an immigrant from the Middle East, my dad was born in Texas, yet my brother and I look as white as you can get. Every time I’ve filled out college apps for state or private schools, the US census, standardized tests like AP, SAT, and GRE, race is always relegated to a choice between two answers: I am Hispanic/Latino or I am not Hispanic/Latino. The ethnicity section, if there is one, then allows us to elaborate on if we are White or Asian or Black. I’ve always had a problem with this. Yes my skin is white and my first language English, but what would it take to get formal support of not being lumped into one category? There are so many different kinds of Black, White, and Asian, but often these are ignored. I’ve grown up my whole life listening to and studying Arabic, and I know/have more family in and from the Middle East than I do here. This is a small nuance within the race card project, but I just wanted to share it. The only time I was ever able to elaborate on the ethnicity section to say I’m white but specifically (half-)Arab was the application to UCLA, years ago. At Berkeley when I checked a few years ago, Asian student statistics were split between country of origin, while whites and blacks, and hispanics/latinos were one percentage each. Why do we focus on separation?

 

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