In the Shadow of Whiteness: Middle Eastern and North Africans in the United States

Project: Research project

Project Details


Middle Eastern and North Africans (MENA) individuals are one of the most visible yet understudied groups in the United States. They are victims of hate crimes, stereotyped as terrorists, and subjected to heightened governmental surveillance and restrictive travel policies. Consequently, many are surprised to learn MENA individuals have been legally classified as white since 1909. Whenever MENA individuals are asked to legally classify themselves or answer demographic questions on forms, they have little choice but to choose the white category. This has precluded serious scholarship on MENA individuals, who are either subsumed into the white category or identified by proxy as Muslims (most of whom are South and East-Asian). This is also a missed opportunity to isolate how MENA individuals negotiate their ancestral, racial, and religious identities along with the sources of discrimination they face. My research shows that MENA identity sits at the intersection between racial and religious lines. Accordingly, this proposal includes two surveys, in-depth interviews to study this identity from two different perspectives: the societal and the individual.
Effective start/end date4/19/224/18/23


  • Rapoport Family Foundation (NOT SPECIFIED)


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