Count MENA: Clarifying the Impact of U.S. Hate Crimes on the Middle Eastern & North African Community
Zakhari, Nivine K.
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Frequent racial, ethnic, and/or religious miscategorization of Arabs, Middle Easterners and North Africans (MENA), Muslims, and Sikhs has downstream impacts in general census reporting and hate crime statistics, among other government programs relying on accurate racial/ethnic or religious population data. This research analyzes U.S. hate crime statistics since 1991, along with the latest U.S. Census and religious population estimates, to determine the impact of inconsistent victim identification and their approximate per capita hate crime victimization rates. Analysis shows it is still highly likely that the MENA population in the U.S. is significantly undercounted, as well as the incidents of hate crimes targeting persons of MENA descent and/or Muslims or Sikhs, which are often conflated. Unless government race and ethnicity reporting standards are updated, along with enforcement of Uniform Crime Reporting standards to improve hate crime motive accuracy, efforts to address challenges impacting the MENA community will continue to fall short.