Posted by Sofiya Volobuyeva on October 15, 2019 in Blog

MENA category and Arab ethnicity, Census rigging, HTC communities, and more! Thank you to everyone who tuned in to AAI’s Reddit AMA thread on the 2020 Census. Throughout the hour, AAI’s resident policy experts Suher Adi and Ryan Suto answered people’s questions on race and ethnicity, political implications of the Census, and what everyday people can do to Get Out the Count. Some highlights include:

Q: How would the MENA category on the census apply to non-Arab communities of the Middle East? Kurds, Assyrians, etc. Would they identify within a subcategory of the MENA category?

A: Thanks for the question! MENA and Arab are not interchangeable terms, as you rightfully point out. When AAI advocated for the MENA category we did so with non-Arab organizations because it would allow all communities to have access to more accurate data on their specific subgroups. Iranians could check-off MENA and write in that they are Iranian, Arabs could check off MENA and write in Arab, Kurds could check off MENA and write in Kurdish, etc.

To read other interesting questions and answers, you can read the full thread.

To supplement the AMA, the YallaCountMeIn campaign has some eye-catching, easy-to-read materials related to mis/dis-information that you should check out! Some of these were used to answer questions on Reddit. To help folks navigate some common Census jargon, Census 2020 Vocab Pt.1 is a great primer. Stay tuned for Part 2! For those who are worried about volunteering their personal information during the upcoming Census, Census and Security aims to explain how respondents’ privacy rights are protected by both the Census Bureau’s protocol and Federal law. We also encourage glancing over Disinformation 101 as a quick introduction to disinformation, misinformation, and their role in the Census.

For the first time ever, people will be able to respond to the Census by phone or email. The Census Bureau will initially send invites to people to respond online along with a paper questionnaire for areas with limited Internet access. Respondents can choose to opt out and respond by phone, mail, or in person with a Census worker. For more details on this and other questions, check out 2020 Census: Responding Online. While the new online response option is exciting, it also opens the door to predatory scams. AAI has created Protecting Yourself Against Scams as a vital tool for differentiating between official Census activity and scammers.

To delve deeper into disinformation and its various forms, check out What is Disinformation?, a visual two-pager with instructions on reporting inauthentic posts. Your go-to for explicit tell-tale signs of bots, edited images, and fake news is Detecting Disinformation.

It is important to share these resources widely for our community to be well-informed when it comes to disinformation during the 2020 Census and beyond! We encourage you to visit YallaCountMeIn to access materials in Arabic and English, and pledge to be counted in the upcoming Census. Let’s prepare to Get Out the Count and make our community’s voices heard!