Abolish the government’s “official” racial classifications, Libertarians say

Libertarian Party Press Release
28 January 1997

2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
For release: January 28, 1997
For additional information:
George Getz, Deputy Director of Communications
(202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
Internet: 76214.3676@CompuServe.com

Abolish the government’s “official” racial classifications, Libertarians say

WASHINGTON, DC — Is your racial classification government approved?

If not, don’t worry — federal bureaucrats are hard at work adding new categories to the “official” list of federally recognized races.

“Instead of working to end racism, federal bureaucrats are planning to increase their list of government-recognized racial classifications — so they can further divide this nation on racial grounds,” warned Libertarian Party Chairman Steve Dasbach.

America’s official racial categories were created by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 1977 and laid out in a document named Statistical Directive 15. Hundreds of federal agencies use the classifications when drafting regulations and laws that treat Americans according to their racial makeup.

Currently there are five official, government-approved racial classifications: white, black, American Indian/Eskimo, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic.

“These categories are eerily similar to the four racial categories used by the government of South Africa during Apartheid — white, black, colored, and Indian,” said Dasbach. “And just like in South Africa, Americans can be rejected for a home loan, lose the chance to attend the college of their choice, or even get fired from their job, depending on their racial classification.”

For the last three years, the OMB has been weighing proposals to recognize more racial classifications — including Hawaiian, multiracial, Middle Easterner, Arab American, six different kinds of Latino, “other,” Creole, and Germanic.

“Various ethnic groups are vigorously lobbying to have their category added to the official list of races — because they know they’ll hit the financial jackpot if they become a protected class under anti-discrimination laws,” said Dasbach.

For example, the Federal Communications Commission awards 25% “bidding credits” to minority-owned companies, so a member of a government-approved minority would pay, for example, $750,000 for a $1 million radio station license, Dasbach said.

Other federal agencies use the racial data to arrange low-interest loans, to enforce quotas for college admissions — even to decide whom to hire and fire.

“Such racially based policies are one of the reasons why Americans have become less tolerant and more racially divided over the past three decades,” said Dasbach. “After all, how can politicians preach the virtues of non-discrimination when they use the power of government to enforce discrimination?”

And now, said Dasbach, federal bureaucrats are planning to deal with the acrimony that their policies have caused by adding more racial classifications, to allow them to more finely tune their discriminatory policies.

“But this will only move us farther away from the kind of inclusive, harmonious society that most decent Americans want,” he said.

“Dr. Martin Luther King dreamed of the day when Americans would judge a man by the content of his character, rather than the color of his skin. The last thing Dr. King would have wanted is for Americans to be judged by the government-approved and federally categorized color of his skin,” said Dasbach.

“It’s time for America to choose another path. And the first step along our journey to a more tolerant, colorblind society is to do away with government systems that classify Americans by race.”

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