We applaud the recent announcement by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of changes to the federal government’s race and ethnicity standards (Statistical Policy Directive 15, or SPD 15). The program was created to ensure accurate data on all communities was accessible to Federal Agencies, but besides an update in 1997, the policy has gone unchanged in the last few decades. This makes the announcement a major victory for the AANHPI community and other communities of color. However, it is important to recognize that there are further revisions needed to ensure the policy truly encapsulates all communities and the increasing diversity of our nation.

The changes announced include new requirements for data collection beyond the minimum categories and clarity in the ability to select multiple racial/ethnic identities. This would ensure better, more accurate data on the largest Asian American communities, as well as Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations and better data collection for people with mixed identities. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to disaggregate data about AANHPI communities.

“With these changes, a clearer picture of the racial and ethnic diversity will be captured by the Federal government,” stated David Inoue, JACL Executive Director. “Being of mixed ethnicity myself, and seeing the increasing diversity within our Japanese American community, it is important that we be recognized for all the identities that we might represent as individuals.”

JACL will continue to work with the Federal government to improve the collection of race and ethnicity data. We trust that OMB will continue to update SPD 15 so that data used by our federal government will be more representative of our communities.


About The Japanese American Citizens League

The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational, and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.