With all the stories about Black people bleaching their skin, arguing over interracial dating and America’s ever-persistent promotion of the angelic (read: white) image in mainstream media, one Egyptian man living in Detroit proves that not everyone is quick to shun his or her blackness.
After emigrating stateside in 1978, Mostafa Hefny (pictured) was shocked when his government-issued identification classified him as “white.” According to the Office of Management and Budget Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, citizens are designated as White if they have “origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East.”
This would make sense within the context of Hefny’s native country.
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But the former educator hasn’t taken the categorization lying down. Hefny has fought since the 1980s to be classified as black, according to the Detroit News. “As a Black man and as an African, I am proud of this heritage. My classification as a white man takes away my black pride, my black heritage and my strong black identity.”
The 61-year-old also says his racial classification cost him a job at Wayne State University in the 1990s, a position created for minorities. Worse yet, he’s lost five other jobs because of his long battle, leaving him unemployed and dependent on family.
In his despair, Hefny even sent a letter in June to President Obama asking for help. He enclosed his photo as further proof of his black roots. “I am a black man. My complexion is darker than yours. I was born and raised in Africa (Egypt) and you were not, yet you are classified as Black and I am classified at White.”
Despite what his papers say though, Hefny calls himself an Egyptian Nubian. He’s even started an online petition at SignOn.org to advance his cause.
We might have to side with Hefny here. Looking at his photo, we’re pretty sure the Detroit Boys In Blue will gladly show him how “white” he really is on any given Friday night.