Libertarian Party urges nationwide boycott of government’s “official” racial categories

Libertarian Party Press Release
10 July 1997

2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
For release: July 10, 1997
For additional information:
George Getz, Deputy Director of Communications
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222

Libertarian Party urges nationwide boycott of government’s “official” racial categories

WASHINGTON, DC — The Libertarian Party has launched a national campaign to abolish the government’s system of racial classifications, and is urging Americans to refuse to disclose their race on census forms in the year 2000.

“For 20 long years, the U.S. government has demeaned every American by pigeonholing us according to the color of our skin,” said the party’s national chairman, Steve Dasbach. “In three years, when the census takers ask about our race, we hope Americans will stand up and say: No more. Tell these fill-in-the-blank bureaucrats that your race is none of the government’s business.”

The party launched the campaign this week when the federal government, after a three-year study, decided not to abolish its five official racial classifications. Instead, government bureaucrats said multiracial Americans should check several boxes, such as black and white, on the 2000 census form.

The goals of the Libertarian Party’s “Say No to Racial Classifications” campaign are to build public awareness of how politicians exploit racial classifications to further divide the nation along racial grounds, and to eliminate them from all government forms, said Dasbach.

“We’re telling Americans: Stop and think before you check that box,” Dasbach said. “If millions of Americans withheld their racial data from the government, the politicians’ framework for American Apartheid would crash to the ground.”

To spread the word, the party is enlisting the support of a network of activists and registered voters across the country and is mounting a nationwide media blitz.

The government’s current five “official” racial categories, created by the Office of Management and Budget in 1977, are white, black, American Indian/Eskimo, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic. Federal agencies use the classifications to bestow benefits such as jobs, low-interest loans, and college scholarships.

“Sadly, the government of a nation dedicated to liberty and equality under the law is using arbitrary racial characteristics as a wedge to pry Americans further apart,” Dasbach said.

Even the courts are getting into the act, and have become America’s latest racial battleground, Dasbach noted.

In March, for example, an Egyptian immigrant implored a federal court to change his government-mandated racial classification from white to black. The man, Mostafa Hefny of Detroit, insists that he is black because his ancestors come from the ancient black kingdom of Nubia, which is now part of Egypt and Sudan. But the government insists that he is white.

In an attempt to get himself reclassified as black, Hefny explained to the court that his skin is darker than General Colin Powell’s, who is officially classified as black.

“Why is the government so obsessed with the color of Hefny’s skin?” Dasbach asked. “Because politicians are desperately fighting to preserve racial categories so they can preserve their power to hand out favors.”

Dasbach encouraged American politicians to learn from other nations with more progressive racial policies — such as South Africa.

“A decade ago, the U.S. government imposed trade sanctions to pressure the South African government to repeal its system of racial classification called Apartheid,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be ironic if South Africa, which has since repudiated government-sponsored racial discrimination, now imposed sanctions against the United States for the same reason?”

Fortunately, if the Libertarian Party’s campaign is successful, American politicians won’t have to rely on a foreign government to teach them racial tolerance, Dasbach said.

“Every single American can strike a blow for a colorblind society by saying ‘no’ to the census takers and ‘no’ to racial classifications,” Dasbach said. “We’re all Americans — what else does the government need to know?”

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