FAIR submitted a public comment opposing the OMB's Initial Proposal on Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards. We hope you will too.
In January, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published an Initial Proposal for Updating OMB’s Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards. Rather than eliminating racial and ethnic categories from data collection efforts, the proposal seeks to add new and additional categories. FAIR opposes this proposal.
The OMB’s proposal would consist of three significant changes:
- U.S. agencies would begin to collect race and ethnicity data with one combined question, rather than separate questions asking for race and ethnicity.
- Add “Middle Eastern or North African (MENA)” as a new racial category and edit the “white” category to remove MENA from its definition.
- Redefine “Hispanic” as a racial category.
FAIR strongly opposes each of these changes, and we urge the OMB to reconsider them. Our primary suggestion is that OMB fully and completely cease collecting data on individuals’ race and ethnicity. If race and ethnicity data is no longer collected, the OMB will not be able to implement initiatives that are based on race and ethnicity, which often serve as a crude proxy for the actual problems that need to be comprehensively addressed. Ideally, the federal government would aspire to implement programs based on the actual needs of individual citizens that are determined based on a wide ranging set of criteria rather than based on immutable characteristics. This would be in keeping with the spirit and substance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If OMB refuses to dispense with the collection of such data, we request that an alternative check box be added to forms that simply states “Human” so that those who do not wish to categorize themselves based on skin color or ethnicity have an opportunity to express that.
You can read FAIR’s full comment here.