RACE RELATIONS BLOG: Black or white? Egyptian immigrant fights for black classification

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Black or white? Egyptian immigrant fights for black classification

From Correspondent Joan MacFarlane
DETROIT (CNN) -- An Egyptian immigrant is suing the U.S. government because they've told him he's white when his entire life he's been black.
Mostafa Hefny was born in Egypt and has always been proud of his Egyptian culture and his African ancestry. But when Hefny immigrated to America, the U.S. government told him he was no longer a black man.
"I was not told by Immigration that I was white until I passed the exam for citizenship and then I was told I am now white," he explains.
Hefny initially laughed when told of his new racial classification, but he's no longer chuckling. He recently filed suit against the U.S. government to get his race classification changed back from white to black.

"It hurts me. It definitely hurts me," Hefny says. "It hurts me because I am unable to reconcile my reality as a black person."
In addition to the emotional hurt, Hefny says that when the government changed his race, they also changed his social status.
"Definitely, I would've had more opportunity for advancement and even for hiring had I been considered black," he says. "I was prevented from applying and requesting positions and other benefits for minority person because I knew I was legally white."
Origin determines race
One of the problems with the naturalization process, in Hefny's opinion, is that race is classified by geographic location and not ancestry. That's part of the immigration process his lawsuit hopes to change.
The lawsuit targets Directive Number 15 of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The directive defines black as a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. A white person is defined as having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East.


Blogger brother14x said...


4:56 PM  
Blogger stone said...

And who said egyptians were white??? i rest my case

12:16 AM  

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