The campaign undertaken by UNITED SIKHS and other Sikh organizations to get Sikhs counted and disaggregated correctly has received overwhelming support from community leaders and members of the Sikh community. We urge all Sikhs, as an ethnic group in the United States, to make visible our presence as an integral part of the economic, social, civic and cultural fabric of the country by filling out the Census form, by marking “Some Other Race,” and writing in “Sikh.”
Many organizations and gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) around the country have lent their support to the campaign by organizing awareness meetings in the community, in addition to the formation of several Sikh Complete Count Committees. The government uses Census data to allocate resources, drawing districts for political representation, and determining what areas require special assistance. You can review the petition and supporting academic paper at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/petitions/census.php. Have questions? Review the FAQ and feel free to contact us.
Isn’t Sikhism a religion, not a race?
Beyond being recognized for our faith, Sikhs are recognized as an ethnic group in many countries owing to their distinct identity and idea of the “kaum.” We have a distinct language (Gurmukhi script), religion, marriage, festivals, appearance, and other cultural variances; important factors that qualify Sikhs as an ethnic group. There are Sikhs who are of different colors and races that would like to be coded as Sikhs, for if you ask them their identity, their response does not include Black, White, Indian or Chinese; rather they say “I am a Sikh.” When people see us, they don't think about our skin color first, they think about what we appear to be otherwise.
You recently released a press release saying we are not getting a separate code for 2010 Census, but may in the future. Why bother now?
The Census Bureau informed us that they could not assign a code for this Census, but that, “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.” It is very important for Sikhs to write-in and identify themselves. In addition to increased visibility, it strengthens our case by sending a strong message that we want to be counted separately, and this is something we want as a community. Also, in previous counts, other ethnic groups have been counted separately if they have substantial write-ins. Even if we do not have a separate code, the write-in forms will be retained and the Census Bureau will review the data. Also, the forms become a part of national historical data and are made public after 72 years. Obtaining a code will impact other key demographic surveys administered by the government like the Annual American Community Survey, which also currently codes Sikhs as Asian Indian. This campaign is for now, and our future generations.
For more answers to frequently asked questions, review the FAQ. Still have unanswered questions or doubts about the Census form? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do your part! Fill out the form, mark “Sikh” in the “Other Race” category for Q: 9
You can see previous Census related press releases at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-19-03-2010-00.html