Rutgers Law Professor and Texas Life Fellow Sahar Aziz has offered her insights to an NPR article about Middle Eastern and North African erasure by the federal government, which requires MENA people to be categorized as “white” in the U.S. Census. The piece highlighted a recent study illustrating that most MENA people do not see themselves as white, and most people who aren’t MENA or Latinx do not perceive them as white either. Professor Aziz shared that even though Middle Eastern and North Africans in the United States have been explicitly and implicitly pressured to align with whiteness due to anti-blackness and discriminatory citizenship requirements from the late 1800s, they still do not receive any of the benefits, especially since September 11th, when anti-MENA prejudice intensified.
Professor Aziz, whose work centers around authoritarianism, national security, race, religion, and Middle Eastern rule of law, is the recent author of The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom. She is the founding director of the Rutgers Center for Security, Race and Rights and a faculty affiliate for the African American Studies Department of Rutgers University-Newark. She has shared her scholarship in a wide variety of mediums, from journals such as the Harvard National Security Journal and the George Washington International Law Review, to the New York Times and MSNBC, to her blog, Race and the Law Profs. She is also a previous Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
Professor Aziz is an active member of multiple organizations, such as ReThink Media, Democracy in the Arab World Now, Project on Democracy in the Middle East, Arab Law Quarterly, and International Journal of Middle East Studies. Her scholarship and political influence have been recognized by the Association of American Law Schools, New America, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.