Friday, April 2, 2010

Pakistani-Americans: Stand Up and Be Counted

US Census 2010 is under way! It is an extensive exercise that happens once a decade and it produces data that guides the various branches of US government and its agencies, politicians, marketers, and just about every one else who needs America's demographics data.

The numbers produced by the Census drive the allocation of seats in the US Congress, budget appropriations, government policies, college enrollment, as well as big decisions on products, employment and target markets by private corporations targeting American consumers.

Here's how US Census Bureau describes the importance of census data:

1. Every year, the federal government allocates more than $400 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data.

2. Census data are used to determine locations of schools, hospitals, new housing development, retail stores, and other community facilities.

3. Census data determine boundaries of state and local legislative and congressional districts.

Given the great significance of the Census 2010 results, it is extremely important for Pakistani-Americans to stand up and be counted. They must fill out the forms and send them in for the sake of their local communities, and for their own sake. They should understand that the ten minutes spent to fill out the Census 2010 form will have a significant impact on them and their local communities for the next ten years.

This year, among the various racial categories, there is an opportunity to mark "other Asian" and fill out "PAKISTANI" under the field to ensure the full recognition of the population of Pakistani-Americans (both citizens and non-citizens) residing in the United States. Upon request, the Census Bureau will provide you the form in Urdu language. The information provided on census forms is protected by the law, and it can not be used for any purpose other than for the count 2010.

I appeal to all Americans and American residents, including Pakistani-Americans, to fulfill their civic duty of ensuring correct US census results in 2010.

Here's a video clip about Census 2010 produced by Pakistani PAC:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-American Demographics

Pakistani-American in $500 Million NFL Deal

Edible Arrangements--Pakistani-American's Success Story

Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley

HDF Fundraiser in Silicon Valley For Pakistan

Pakistani Diaspora in America

Asian-Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues

New York City's Pakistani Population

Pakistani-Americans in NYC

NED Alumni Convention Draws 400

NEDians Convention 2007 in Silicon Valley

Muslim Demographics in America

Pakistanis in America

Pakistani-Americans Wikipedia Entry

Illegal Immigration From India to America Hits 125%

Pakistanis Find US Easier Fit than Britain

Portrait of a Giving Community

India's Washington Lobby

Occupations of Pakistani-Americans--New York Times


Saleem said...

I already sent the completed census form 2010 but tell me exactly how it would benefit the Pakistani Americans once they are identified as such.

Someone made a cynical observation that it would help plan the size of a concentration camp that can house all those identified. I was speechless and could not come up with an answer.

But seriously, what would be the real benefits. Let us know.

Riaz Haq said...

Saleem Sahib,

I think we should be guided by hope rather than fear in these matters, and be determined to live with dignity as citizen of this country for ourselves and our children.

If fear makes us hide, it'll only make us less effective, and make matters worse for us.

If we decide not be intimidated, then my hope is that numbers in a democracy will translate into political strength, especially if Pakistanis decide to pursue political participation and activism in local communities to promote a better understanding with others.

I have seen many local efforts in Silicon Valley where politicians, city officials, and others have supported Pakistani community on many issues....such as permits for schools and mosque construction, better security on important occasions, refusal to cooperate with Feds in unconstitutional demands, etc etc.

On Eid days, Pakistan Day celebrations, and other similar occasions, many politicians come courting for support, and offer to listen to and solve community problems.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting report about Arabs classified as "whites" in Census 2010:

Government officials say they eliminated the ancestry question along with several others because they wanted a shorter form that will make it easier for people to complete.

But ethnic groups are worried that they might lose their fair share of federal and private dollars since institutions often rely on census data to allocate funds.
Ethnic groups say 'white' isn't enough on the 2010 census

With her light-brown skin and Islamic headscarf, Khadigah Alasry of Dearborn said she doesn't see herself as white.

But the Arab American is officially classified as such by the U.S. government, which says that anyone with roots in the Middle East -- including north Africa -- is white.

"That's just weird to me," said Alasry, 23, born to immigrants from Yemen.

It's also weird for thousands of other Americans who say they don't fit into traditional categories of race in the United States. As the 2010 U.S. census prepares to tabulate millions of Americans, the issue of racial and ethnic identity is being debated as groups push to get their voices heard.

The census is conducted to get accurate population statistics that are used to determine the number of congressional seats and amount of government funding, and to ensure that minorities are not discriminated against.

The concern is acutely felt in metro Detroit, home to the highest concentration of Arab Americans and Chaldeans -- Iraqi Christians -- in the United States, according to 2000 census figures.

Having the ancestry question is important because terms like "white" and "black" are vague and don't offer much detail, said ethnic advocates.

"There is no such thing as white culture," said Thaddeus Radzilowski, president of the Piast Institute, a Polish-American group in Hamtramck that is one of 56 census Information Centers in the United States and the only one in Michigan. Having the ancestry question "provides a better notion of our pluralistic society and who we are," Radzilowski said.

Polish Americans and members of other European groups, such as German Americans -- two of Michigan's most common ethnicities on the 2000 census -- are interested in keeping the ancestry question. But the issue has somewhat faded for them given that they, on average, are more culturally assimilated and not as visible in the post-Sept. 11 world as Arab Americans.
Discrimination and advantages

Since the 2000 census and 9/11, many Arab Americans say they have experienced bias. On the other hand, they also are being recruited for federal jobs and invited to participate in conversations with top U.S. leaders as the government finds itself involved in conflicts across the Middle East and the Muslim world.

But Arab Americans -- who make up about 1.5% of Michigan's population, based on the 2000 census -- won't be counted as such in 2010. Census officials say part of the reason was to streamline and shorten the form so that more people fill it out.

Two of the 10 questions will ask about a person's race -- white, black or Asian -- and whether the respondent is Hispanic. Arabs are considered white.

"It's unfair because we are not treated as white in society and by the government, but we also don't qualify as minorities to get the benefits of some programs" such as minority contracts, said Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Still, Hamad and other Arab-American leaders are pushing Arab Americans to fill out the census forms because, in the end, they are part of wider communities, which would be adversely affected if there's an undercount..

mariamrehman said...

Its great that you are working for Pakistani-Americans. Your blog is impressive. Would you like to post your write-ups on our blog where a number of people can read and make comments on your posts?
Please let me know if you are interested.

Riaz Haq said...

Marium, "Would you like to post your write-ups on our blog where a number of people can read and make comments on your posts? "

Thanks for the invite. I need to see and learn more about your blog before making a decision.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Reaping the Harvest of Hate
Ram Puniyani
Film Review

Film: From Hindu to Hindutva
Debaranjan Sarangi, Pedestrian Pictures,

Language: Oriya with English Subtitles
Duration- 44 Minutes

Kandhmal violence has been the most ghastly communal violence in the Adivasi areas in India. Close to two years after the violence the tragedy of the area continues, the victims of violence, the rehabilitation, the justice to victims, most of these are no where close to what they should be.

Debaranjan Sarangi, a social activist and writer has effectively caught the Kandhamal carnage in his short but comprehensive film with great amount of sensitivity and objectivity. He presents the whole event with the help of field interviews, the shots of burning of houses and churches and the pathetic condition of the refugee camps. The film begins with the event of murder of Swami Laxmandnand, Praveen Togadia of VHP takes out the procession of his body through sensitive areas of Kandhmal, the rumor is spread that Christians are behind the murder of Swami, One striking parallel which emerges from this account is that even in Gujarat Modi permitted the procession of the victims of Godhra train burning through Ahmedabad, accompanied by rumor that Muslims have burnt the train and this in turn incited the feelings of the people leading to carnage. VHP’s Praveen Togadia does the same. The methods of RSS combine have so much of a parallel.

.... The attacker’s were shouting the slogans of Jai Bajarang Bali.

The state, since Biju Janata Dal had BJP as an ally, soft peddled towards the criminals indulging in communal riots. This is the same story in most of the carnages, be it the anti Sikh pogrom, Mumbai violence or Gujarat carnage, state devices kid gloves to deal with the perpetrators of the crime. Also on the ‘expected’ pattern state gave no protection to victims.... The VHP supporters worsened the situation by asserting that .. Christians should leave or they will be killed unless they convert into Hinduism.
Krishna Majhi, leader of Kui samaj, Adivasis, points out that Adivasis are not Hindus and the ‘Home coming’ campaign, conversion of Adivasis into Hinduism, is a forcible one... This home coming was conducted by Laxmandnand, at big scale. The Christians were tonsured and given a Hanuman locket...
The violence is done by VHP for its political goals. Laxmananand indulged in lot of unchecked ‘hate speech’ against Christians. As a matter of fact his and RSS combines ‘Hate other’ speech against Christians laid the foundation of the violence.

Kandhmal was no flash in the pan. It was systematically built up from 1970 since the swami began his activities there... through which hate campaign was conducted. After the violence the major sectors of state were apathetic to the plight of Christians. Currently even their children are looked down in schools. The anti Christian atmosphere prevails till the day.

Film ends on a sad note, the reality of minorities in Orissa today is well depicted... It gives enough hints about the method of working of VHP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and RSS combine in the Adivasi areas. Bringing out these linkages with RSS combine’s methods in unleashing violence in other areas would have enriched the quality of the film. It is a must watch for all social activists and citizens at large.

Riaz Haq said...

Over 50,000 Pakistanis have immigrated to the United States in the last 5 years, making Pakistanis ineligible fir the diversity visa lottery.

Here's an excerpt from on this subject:

This year, the entry period for the lottery lasts for 30 days, from October 5 to November 3. The lottery is open to individuals who meet certain education or work requirements and were born in an eligible country. Those whose names are selected by computerized random drawing are permitted to take the next steps in the visa application process.

“The idea was to diversify the immigrant pool,” said John Wilcock, a visa specialist with the State Department, in explaining the 1990 law that created the new class of “diversity immigrants.” He briefed journalists at Washington’s Foreign Press Center September 27.

The Diversity Visa Lottery is open to natives of countries that have sent fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the last five years. Countries that are the source of high numbers of immigrants are excluded from the lottery.

The ineligible countries are the same as last year: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. People born in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.

To ensure that 50,000 permanent resident visas are issued each year, Wilcock said, some additional names are selected in the lottery to make up for people who decide not to apply for a visa or don’t qualify.