October 2020 \ Diaspora News \ SIKHS IN THE USA

In a break from the US constitutional ...

By USA, Arul Louis

In a break from the US constitutional separation of state and religion, the administration of President Donald Trump has introduced Sikhs as a distinctive group to be counted in the ongoing census and not as Asian Indians. Because of the legal prohibition against asking questions about religion, Census Bureau officials said they consider Sikhism a “cultural” or an “ethno-religious” identity. Sikhism does not appear as a category to tick off on the census forms that US residents are legally required to fill out, but Sikhs can tick off the “Other Asian” category and write in their religion as a sub-category instead of listing themselves under Asian Indian or other listed racial and ethnic identities, according to the Census Bureau.

But while anyone can write-in any religious or ethnic or linguistic identities beyond the categories that appear on the form, only Sikhs and some others are given a code that will allow them to be tabulated separately when the 2020 reports are made. “‘Sikh’ will be included as a distinct detailed population group within the ‘Asian’ racial category, and not classified as ‘Asian Indian’ as it was in the 2010 Census when it was viewed as a religious response,” according to the Census Bureau. The bureau did not say where Sikhs who were not of Asian origin, like many members of the Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere, who are racially White, can write-in their separate identity. “The Census Bureau included ‘Sikh’ codes as part of the draft 2020 Census code list within the 2018 Census Test Redistricting Data Prototype,” it said.

Tags: America