US Census 2010 & Sikhs - Don’t Throw away that Census Form Today is March 17th 2010. Mostly all people in USA who live at a residential address got Census forms from the government yesterday or will get in the next day or so. Lots of Sikhs throughout the country have been enthusiastic about the Census. It is great to see Sikhs at work regarding an important National Issue. Unfortunately a lot of Sikhs are confused on the importance as well as the directions on how to get a Sikh voice for the count to our government. Following our article on 'Why' and 'How', we should mark ourselves as 'SIKH' in the 'Other Race Category'; press articles have made their way to redirect Sikhs into counting themselves as 'Asian Indians'. The reasoning provided is that "There is no religion category" and 'Some selfish elements are misguiding Sikhs' and that ‘The computer will reject the forms if Sikhs do that’. I want to clarify that it is perfectly appropriate to identify yourself as Sikh in the 2010 census. The reason being that the term of 'Race' in Question no.9 is loosely defined by the Census. It also refers to ‘Ethnicity’, or ‘Ancestry groups’ according the Census Bureau. Sikhs are a 'Quom' with distinct needs that fit appropriately in the ‘Ethnicity’ category. An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage. This shared heritage may be based upon, history, kinship, religion, language, shared territory, nationality or physical appearance; most importantly allegiance or association. We also know and agree that we cannot go to other Asian-Indian organizations to address our issues such as that of Dastaar or Kirpan or the bullying of Sikh children in school, thus it is important for our community to have and develop resources and a voice of our own. It is a must for this reason that an accurate count of Sikhs be known and the Census is the only official way to ensure that. In the 1990 and 2000 Census, no Sikh organizations raised the issue of correctly coding the Sikhs as an Ethnicity, hence Sikhs are incorrectly lumped under the Asian Indian code. If you think about it, is Asian-Indian a race ? No. It is a loosely formed category that fits in under no proper heading. The country of India itself has many distinct races in it. The Aryans, Mongols, Dravidians, etc. According the latest response of the Census Bureau to UNITED SIKHS, on March 12th 2010, “Beyond the 2010 Census, we will consider changes to the processing of the term “Sikh” when it is provided in response to the question on race.” This is most positive development in this work and testifies to the fact that with the help of individual Sikhs as well as consistent work of our organizations in 2010, we will have a separate code in 2020. But we have to start now. Another reason, why Asian Indian in not the right category for us is that, there are Sikhs who are of different colors and race that would like to be coded as Sikhs, for if you ask them what is your identity ? They don’t say Black, White, Indian or Chinese, they say “I am a Sikh”. Many of us have independently confirmed with Census officials that if you write-in 'Sikh', the form will not be thrown away or confused. Our organizations are working with the Census Bureau, etc. for the Sikhs to be correctly counted as Sikhs in the future census. Additionally, the raw data of the census is made available after a certain amount of time, and it is important for Sikhs all over the country to write-in 'Sikh' to support the argument for a separate code in the future. If all Sikhs in the country write the word 'Sikh', we will be successful in getting Sikhs counted correctly. On the other hand, if we don't do this, what basis do our organizations have to fight for this cause? So, it is my request to all readers, that if you consider Sikhi as your identity or association, please check the OTHER category and write yourself in as a 'SIKH'. Together, we can do it. Last but not least, this effort should not be counted as an anti-India stance. Pakistanis, Tamils, etc. have their different codes too, not because they consider themselves as a different race (nussel) but because they are a group of people with different needs.