Are Arab-Americans “disadvantaged?”

Note: the following is not a parody. It is absolutely true and made me wonder if I’d stepped through a door into another dimension.

From The Hill,

The Commerce Department is considering naming Arab Americans a socially and economically disadvantaged minority group that is eligible for special business assistance…

The [American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee] petition cited “discrimination and prejudice in American society[,] resulting in conditions under which Arab-American individuals have been unable to compete in a business world.” The group claimed discrimination against Arab Americans increased after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…

The ADC wants any “American who traces his or her ethnic roots to one of the countries in the Arab World, including Algeria, Bahrain, Djoubti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen” to be eligible for MBDA services. Palestinians would also be included.

The ADC lists such things as Arab names on no-fly lists as well as “harassment and racial profiling” as placing Arab-Americans at a disadvantage in business.

Are Arabs economically disadvantaged since 2001? Not measurably. Per Capita income for individuals reporting their ancestry as one of several Arab nationalities in 1999 was $24,061 ($31,492 in 2010 dollars), which put them just below the middle of the list. In 2010, it was $30,039 and their position on the list was precisely the same.

To put things in perspective, per capita income for all Americans reporting themselves as white in 2010 was $32,126 while African Americans received $18,342 and Hispanics only $15,638. Arab Americans are doing just fine.

As far as non-economic discrimination is concerned, in 2010 the FBI reported that 67% (1040) of religion-based hate crime victims were Jews, while only 12.7% (197) were Muslims. If we assume that there are about 3 times as many Jews as Muslims in the US, we can conclude that a Jew is almost twice as likely to be a hate crime victim than a Muslim. Of course nobody thinks an affirmative action program is needed for Jews.

On the other hand, maybe this is a program for Jews. After all, “Palestinians” are included, and we can trace our origins to the Land of Israel, sometimes called ‘Palestine’.

And that is more than many so-called ‘Palestinians’, whose ancestors migrated from Egypt or Syria in the 19th and 20th centuries, can do!

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