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On September 30, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed a new rule on the nation’s racial categorizations, titled “Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity.” This rule would apply to federal programs throughout the federal government.

Two proposed changes stand out: the first would create a new ethnic group by bringing together people who originated in the North Africa and the Middle East (MENA), and the second would eliminate a question on race for Hispanics, effectively making “Hispanics” their racial identifier. OMB calls this a “limited revision,” but the changes would impact many areas including congressional redistricting and affirmative action programs. Currently Hispanics mark two boxes, an ethnic one for Hispanic, a second one for race. Thus over 50 percent of Hispanics (29 million in the 2010 census) are categorized as white. Since Hispanics account for 75 percent of the growth of whites today, preventing them from being identified as white in government statistics would have real and important effects.


  • Mr. Roger Clegg, President & General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
  • Mr. Mike Gonzalez, Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation