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Ray Hanania Headshot

American Arabs have to speak out about the Census. not roll over

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For 30 years, the US Government has been telling the American Arab community, through American Arab surrogates, that if we would just write in our name as "ARAB" on the OTHER line at the bottom of the form, we'll get our share.

I know because I was an unpaid Census volunteer in 1980, in 1990 and in 2000, too. And for 30 years, we have been telling American Arabs just that.

Well, it doesn't work. American Arabs are not getting their fair share at all. They continue to be denied their share not simply because they are not listed on the Census forms and are not counted, but because the US Government and many in American society simply refuse to give us our rights.

Just going along with the Census and NOT complaining, and not pushing back is a mistake. Simply following the lead of the paid activists in American Arab community -- who are the ONLY ones benefiting from the Census -- will do nothing.

When the US Census says "roll over," instead of rolling over for the first time in 30 years, American Arabs should tell them to "TAKE THAT CENSUS FORM AND SHOVE IT."

They can do all the celebrity comedy shows with great comics that they want, but it doesn't change the reality of how our American Arab leadership has failed us over the years because they are afraid to take on the Census, fearing they will be pushed away from their tiny tot seat at the "table." American Arabs are being thrown crumbs, not the pie, and we are told to be happy with that.

They came to us in 1980, in 1990 and 2000 with the same failed message. Rollover. Fill out the Census. Don't complain. Do what your "leaders" are telling you to do. Feeding us medication to sooth our inner-feelings that we are being cheated. Drugged up with phony rhetoric, and misled by our failed leadership, American Arabs went along and did what they asked.

And each decade, the results are the SAME. It doesn't work. It doesn't work in part because American Arabs demand equality and fairness and fair treatment. They want to be respected.

The government does do that when faced with a community that has a strong leadership. There are 29 Ethnic and Racial groups listed on the Census. Those 29 have empowered themselves not by rolling over and having comedy and entertainment shows, but rather by recognizing the reality of what is happening.

I know young American Arabs are easily misled by the leadership. They are too young to know how corrupt the national American Arab leadership really is. And eventually as they get older, they will see the mistake and watch as the only people getting jobs are a handful connected to those who held the government's hand and led our people to the Census reservation where they hope to keep us trained like Pavlov's Dogs, happy as lemmings, and drugged up with the narcotic-like rhetoric.

I volunteered (for free) to help the Census in 1980, 1990 and 2000, and I refuse to volunteer this time.

And all the BS rhetoric from some people who find it easier to attack me personally than to address the real issues won't change a thing.

American Arabs will only be empowered when they stand up and fight for their rights. Not when they submissively bow their heads and pretend they have achieved something that is little more than the same old same old.

The tragedy is that while everyone is entering the 21st Century, American Arabs are still living in the past. Living in the past when it comes to solving the Palestine Tragedy, and living in the Past when it comes to empowerment.

We won't be empowered until we stand up and fight for our rights, not rollover submissively when the US Government throws a few bones.

All you have to do is ask the simple question: What have American Arabs really gotten in terms of public jobs, public contracts, grants for their cultural activities and more, as compared to what the other 29 favored ethnic groups have received?

The answer is simple. Although we HAVE done our part as Americans, paying taxes, working hard, participating in the system and EVEN filling out the Census in the past three 10-year census counts, we have not even received a sliver of our fair share.

-- Ray Hanania