Applications lump Latinx and Middle Eastern into “White”

By Acaila Eastman & Jane Hanna

For Middle Eastern and Latinx individuals applying for colleges becomes even more stressful when it also becomes an issue of identity. There is no checkbox for their ethnicity, leaving these students with no choice but to mark themselves as “White” or “Other.”

“I don’t think it’s fair that most people get to place their actual ethnicities on college applications but Egyptians have to put white. I believe everyone should be able to truly identify themselves within their race,” senior Evano Ghatas said.

When it comes to the options presented to these individuals, including the options for ethnicities on doctor visit forms, college visits, or even applying for a job, they are forced to conform to society’s norms.

As a result, they become white-washed and may lose touch with their culture.

“When I was filling out my college applications, it just didn’t feel right,” senior Sylvie Mekjian said. “I didn’t want to choose white because that’s not who I am, but I had to anyway.”

Although this may not seem like a big deal to some, many in the Middle Eastern and Latinx communities feel unheard and even discriminated against for being forced to identify with a culture they do not see as their own.

Not being able to express one’s culture makes an individual feel an emptiness within themselves. This emptiness feels like they are forced to hide a part of themselves from the world.

“Personally, I would love to be able to place ‘Egyptian’ on my applications for things,” senior Rose Bastawrous said. “Whenever I choose white it just doesn’t make sense to me because I’m not white.”

Latinx and Middle Eastern individuals demand a change within these college applications.
These communities want a title that truly represents themselves, not a title that misplaces their true identity.

“I feel like if they’re going to make us pick our identity, then they should have all of them listed that we need instead of just subjecting us to picking one or another,” junior Alex Nesbitt said.
Additionally, by being forced to choose “White” or “Other” on these apps, Latinx and Middle Easterns are subtly being told their cultures are not as worthy or not as valuable as those that are listed.

“It makes me feel like I’m less human because my race isn’t listed,” junior Karma Paez said. “Sometimes that makes me feel ashamed to be who I am.”

Colleges should begin to put all ethnicities such as Middle Eastern and Latinx on their applications to ensure that all races are equally portrayed.

“We don’t live in – and never have, frankly – in a black/white/other world,” Magdalena Arroyo of the IDEALS institute said in an article for the University of Arkansas. “In our intentional efforts to sort and organize along race and ethnicity, whether that be through demographic snapshots like a census or an HR recruitment strategy, it is crucial that we allow individuals more options, not fewer options, to identify themselves.”

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper