According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Arabs are counted as white. A person whose ancestors were indigenous to Europe, the Middle East or North Africa is considered white for census purposes.
Arab immigrants petitioned the federal government and requested to be classified as white, because they believed that being categorized as white would decrease racial discrimination against them. Today, although Arabs are still racially considered white for U.S. Census purposes, they are generally considered a separate ethnic group.
The term "Arab" initially referred to the original inhabitants of the north-central Arabian Peninsula, but following the spread of Arab empires through North Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia, the term is now used to describe those who speak Arabic.