2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
For release: July 10, 1997
For additional information:
George Getz, Deputy Director of Communications
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
E-Mail: 76214.3676@CompuServe.com

Libertarian Party urges nationwide boycott
of government's "official" racial categories

        WASHINGTON, DC -- The Libertarian Party has launched a national
campaign to abolish the government's system of racial classifications,
and is urging Americans to refuse to disclose their race on census
forms in the year 2000.

        "For 20 long years, the U.S. government has demeaned every
American by pigeonholing us according to the color of our skin," said
the party's national chairman, Steve Dasbach. "In three years, when the
census takers ask about our race, we hope Americans will stand up and
say: No more. Tell these fill-in-the-blank bureaucrats that your race
is none of the government's business."

        The party launched the campaign this week when the federal
government, after a three-year study, decided not to abolish its five
official racial classifications. Instead, government bureaucrats said
multiracial Americans should check several boxes, such as black and
white, on the 2000 census form.

        The goals of the Libertarian Party's "Say No to Racial
Classifications" campaign are to build public awareness of how
politicians exploit racial classifications to further divide the nation
along racial grounds, and to eliminate them from all government forms,
said Dasbach.

        "We're telling Americans: Stop and think before you check that
box," Dasbach said. "If millions of Americans withheld their racial
data from the government, the politicians' framework for American
Apartheid would crash to the ground."

        To spread the word, the party is enlisting the support of a
network of activists and registered voters across the country and is
mounting a nationwide media blitz.

         The government's current five "official" racial categories,
created by the Office of Management and Budget in 1977, are white,
black, American Indian/Eskimo, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic.
Federal agencies use the classifications to bestow benefits such as
jobs, low-interest loans, and college scholarships.

        "Sadly, the government of a nation dedicated to liberty and
equality under the law is using arbitrary racial characteristics as a
wedge to pry Americans further apart," Dasbach said.

        Even the courts are getting into the act, and have become
America's latest racial battleground, Dasbach noted.

        In March, for example, an Egyptian immigrant implored a federal
court to change his government-mandated racial classification from
white to black. The man, Mostafa Hefny of Detroit, insists that he is
black because his ancestors come from the ancient black kingdom of
Nubia, which is now part of Egypt and Sudan. But the government insists
that he is white.

        In an attempt to get himself reclassified as black, Hefny
explained to the court that his skin is darker than General Colin
Powell's, who is officially classified as black.

        "Why is the government so obsessed with the color of Hefny's
skin?" Dasbach asked. "Because politicians are desperately fighting to
preserve racial categories so they can preserve their power to hand out

        Dasbach encouraged American politicians to learn from other
nations with more progressive racial policies -- such as South Africa.

        "A decade ago, the U.S. government imposed trade sanctions to
pressure the South African government to repeal its system of racial
classification called Apartheid," he said. "Wouldn't it be ironic if
South Africa, which has since repudiated government-sponsored racial
discrimination, now imposed sanctions against the United States for the
same reason?"

        Fortunately, if the Libertarian Party's campaign is successful,
American politicians won't have to rely on a foreign government to
teach them racial tolerance, Dasbach said.

        "Every single American can strike a blow for a colorblind
society by saying 'no' to the census takers and 'no' to racial
classifications," Dasbach said. "We're all Americans -- what else does
the government need to know?"

The Libertarian Party                                      http://www.lp.org/
2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100                          voice: 202-333-0008
Washington DC 20037                                         fax: 202-333-0072