Mostafa Hefny told The Detroit News he considers himself a Nubian, a member of a race in southern Egypt more identified with sub-Saharan Africa than with the Middle East. But he said he was told when he entered the United States he is considered white.
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines a white person as "a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East."
Hefny filed a lawsuit in 1997 trying to be reclassified, but the suit was dismissed. He has written President Obama, pointing out that his skin is darker than the president's.
"As a black man and as an African, I am proud of this heritage," Hefny said. "My classification as a white man takes away my black pride, my black heritage and my strong black identity."