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Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity; Notices Federal Register / Vol. 62, No. 210 / Thursday, October 30, 1997 / Notices, Page 58789 at

  1. Categories and Definitions

defines

Black or African American.

as

A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

and

White.

as

A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Questions:

  1. What is the precise number of "black racial groups of Africa"?

  2. Does the omission of the term "racial groups of" from the definition of "White" imply that
    a) "White" is a single "racial group";
    b) "White" is not a "racial group";
    c) the term "racial groups" is inapplicable in whole or part as to the definition of "White"?

  3. What is the legal distinction between the terms "racial groups of" that is used when defining "Black or African American" and "original peoples of" that is used when defining "White"?

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    @bdb484 The administrative regulation of the Office of Management and Budget are controlling as to the definition of "Black or African American" and "White" in the United States. The question is entirely a legal one as to the construction of the legal terms used in the official document which defines the legal terms "Black or African American" and "White". Which part of the question do you believe is not legal and why? – guest271314 May 26 '18 at 22:30
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    I am pretty sure that the meaning of this is more "Let's avoid a discussion about the demographics of Africa, whatever you think the groups are does not matter at all" than "We have a fully defined list of groups and if yours is not in that list then you cannot define yourself as 'Black'" – SJuan76 May 26 '18 at 22:41
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    @SJuan76 Can you post your comment as an answer? – guest271314 May 26 '18 at 23:52
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    My point is that some times questions that are not legal in nature are nonetheless relevant to a legal analysis. "How many different fingerprint patterns are possible" is a question with legal implications, but it isn't a legal question. If you want an answer to that, you go to someone with a scientific, rather than legal, background. If you want answers to questions about racial groups, you go to someone with a background in demography or anthropology. – bdb484 May 27 '18 at 2:05
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not a question about law or legal process. – Nij May 27 '18 at 2:25
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I am pretty sure that the meaning of this is more "Let's avoid a discussion about the demographics of Africa, whatever you think the groups are does not matter at all" than "We have a fully defined list of groups and if yours is not in that list then you cannot define yourself as 'Black'" -@SJuan76

There is no theory (in any discipline) of the number of black racial groups in Africa, so precision or even reasonable approximation is impossible. Directive 15 is not based on science, so you'd just get bloviative answers ranging from 1 to 1000 (maybe more). The rationale behind the wording is to exclude white South Africans and North African Arab / Berber people, who are slotted elsewhere -- also to exclude non-African blacks from India etc. -@user6726

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One

All people in Africa irrespective of their skin colour are part of the race known as homo sapiens.

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    How does this answer the question? – guest271314 May 26 '18 at 22:31
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    The sentiment is admirable, but it does not reflect the reality in which race, however it is defined, has been a matter of concern for many people for many centuries. – phoog May 27 '18 at 0:09

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