The Consequences of a Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) Survey Question
28 September 2023
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently proposed a rule to reform racial and ethnic categories for all government surveys and forms. Among the many changes proposed is the creation of a new racial category called Middle Eastern or North African (MENA).1 If adopted, government agencies would include the MENA racial category in the decennial census, the American Community Survey (ACS), other household surveys, and all federal administrative forms.2 Private surveys, from college admissions to standardized tests, workplace surveys, opinion polls, and others would follow suit and adopt the MENA classification. The government creation of a new MENA racial category would result in more discrimination and impose costs. This paper details the downsides of a new MENA racial classification and why people of MENA ancestry should oppose it.