US Government Rethinking Race, Ethnicity Classifications

时间:2023-03-20 01:09:55



The United States is considering updating racial and ethnic1 categories recognized in the country for the first time since 1997. The government's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) plans to decide on the new categories next year. It is holding three meetings open to the public this week to discuss the issue.

Supporters of the proposed changes say the new categories will help the government get more exact information about the country's population.

The changes would create a new category for people of Middle Eastern and North African ancestry2, also known by the acronym3 MENA. They are now classified as white but say they have been undercounted. Another change would combine questions about race and ethnicity into one.

With the changes, the government would try to get more detailed4 answers by asking about country of origin.

Besides helping5 to give a picture of the U.S. population, the categories are used to enforce civil rights, voting rights and employment discrimination laws.

The U.S. Census6 Bureau studies the population. It carries out a count every 10 years and collects other information about the country's people. The study includes questions about race and ethnicity and must follow OMB definitions of such.

Currently, it includes five categories of race. They include White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

The most recent Census study was in 2020. The Census Bureau website states that the categories "generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country." And the agency notes that "People may choose to report more than one race to indicate their racial mixture."

Public comments

The OMB has collected more than 4,300 comments about the possible changes.

Shalini Parekh wrote that she wants a way for South Asian people to identify themselves differently than East Asians from places like China or Japan. She said that when these groups are put into only one category, it is harder to identify issues that relate to one group but not another.

Nyhiem Way said he is tired of people mixing the terms African American and Black. He and others want to distinguish descendants of enslaved people from black immigrants from Africa who were not enslaved.

Mixing "African American" with "Black" has "blurred8 what it means to be an African American in this country," he said.

Way works for a pharmaceutical9 company in Athens, Georgia, and spoke10 about the issue in a telephone interview.

However, some people disagree with expanding categories and classifications. They say that could weaken the idea of a single American identity and increase separation between groups.

"By creating and deepening sub-national identities, the government further contributes to the decline of one national American identity," wrote Mike Gonzalez, an expert at The Heritage Foundation, a research and education group based in Washington, D.C. He commented on the OMB web page seeking public opinions on the proposed changes.

Byron Haskins is a retired11 government worker from Lansing, Michigan. He suggests the U.S. stop using racial and ethnic identifications. Haskins says the practice supports the continuation of "deeply rooted unjust" social systems and ideas.

Instead, he said people should be able to identify themselves as they wish.

"You need to search for the truth and not just stay with the old categories because someone decided12, ‘That is what we decided,'" Haskins said.

But Houda Meroueh thinks that having more categories could be helpful. She described herself as a 73-year-old Arab American woman.

"When I go to the doctor's office, I do not feel they have the information necessary to understand my medical history or my culture," she said. "For all these reasons I want to be counted as who I am. Not as white."

Words in This Story

category -n. a classification or grouping with members that share certain characteristics

distinguish -v. to see or understand the difference between two or more things

blur7 -v. to make something appear unclear

interview -n. a discussion where one person asks another person questions, usually for an official purpose

contribute -v. to add to

decline -n. the weakening or diminishing of something



1 ethnic jiAz3     
  • This music would sound more ethnic if you played it in steel drums.如果你用钢鼓演奏,这首乐曲将更具民族特色。
  • The plan is likely only to aggravate ethnic frictions.这一方案很有可能只会加剧种族冲突。
2 ancestry BNvzf     
  • Their ancestry settled the land in 1856.他们的祖辈1856年在这块土地上定居下来。
  • He is an American of French ancestry.他是法国血统的美国人。
3 acronym Ny8zN     
  • That's a mouthful of an acronym for a very simple technology.对于一项非常简单的技术来说,这是一个很绕口的缩写词。
  • TSDF is an acronym for Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities.TSDF是处理,储存和处置设施的一个缩写。
4 detailed xuNzms     
  • He had made a detailed study of the terrain.他对地形作了缜密的研究。
  • A detailed list of our publications is available on request.我们的出版物有一份详细的目录备索。
5 helping 2rGzDc     
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
6 census arnz5     
  • A census of population is taken every ten years.人口普查每10年进行一次。
  • The census is taken one time every four years in our country.我国每四年一次人口普查。
7 blur JtgzC     
  • The houses appeared as a blur in the mist.房子在薄雾中隐隐约约看不清。
  • If you move your eyes and your head,the picture will blur.如果你的眼睛或头动了,图像就会变得模糊不清。
8 blurred blurred     
v.(使)变模糊( blur的过去式和过去分词 );(使)难以区分;模模糊糊;迷离
  • She suffered from dizziness and blurred vision. 她饱受头晕目眩之苦。
  • Their lazy, blurred voices fell pleasantly on his ears. 他们那种慢吞吞、含糊不清的声音在他听起来却很悦耳。 来自《简明英汉词典》
9 pharmaceutical f30zR     
  • She has donated money to establish a pharmaceutical laboratory.她捐款成立了一个药剂实验室。
  • We are engaged in a legal tussle with a large pharmaceutical company.我们正同一家大制药公司闹法律纠纷。
10 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
11 retired Njhzyv     
  • The old man retired to the country for rest.这位老人下乡休息去了。
  • Many retired people take up gardening as a hobby.许多退休的人都以从事园艺为嗜好。
12 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。

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