The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Discerning Racial Minorities

Would someone tell me how to define "racial minority?"

I think generally people would say Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are all American racial minorities. It seems pretty clear-cut. So in order to fathom if I'm a "racial minority," I just need to figure out what race I am. Yet in America, land of equality, figuring that out might not be quite so easy...

Let's and say I'm half black, half white. Am I black or white? Am I a racial minority or do I claim to be part of the racial majority? (Personally, I'd call it mulatto but that historic term as long since fallen out of favor.) What if one of my grandparents is black and all my other grandparents are white. Am I black or white? What if I know one of my distant ancestors is black and the rest white. Am I then black or white? What if I suspect but cannot prove as is the case in many a genealogical inquiry that one of my ancestors is black. Am I black or white? Where is the line drawn, and just who has the authority to make these racial determinations? I have used black as an example but we could easily substitute Hispanic or Asian for illustration.

What about adoption? Is a child born to white parents and legally adopted and raised by two black parents since birth a black or white child? And what happens when the parentage of the child is unknown or uncertain: is race then judged by the color of the skin?

Then let's talk about some other races that are even less common in the U.S., for instance how about Russians: are they racial minorities? And what about Latvians, Czechs, Poles, Lithuanians, Greeks, Slovenians, Armenians, and Hungarians? Seems to me they would all qualify as "racial minorities." And aren't Jews a racial minority as well? So if Poles are a racial minority, surely we can't exclude the Germans which were a well-recognized 19th century American racial minority.

Continuing on, if Poles and Germans living in America are a racial minority, then surely the French, Italians, Swedes, Irish, Finnish, and Dutch are certainly racial minorities in and of themselves!

So what to do with all the mulattoes? For example pro golfer Tiger Woods is "one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch." (Wikipedia) Whatever race he is, I think most would classify him as a "racial minority" despite the apparent racial perplexity. Thus we see the confluence of recognized "racial minorities" does little to preclude our application of the term "racial minority."

As an amateur genealogist, I have performed an inquiry into my personal racial makeup and have found myself to be a strong racial makeup of Irish, German, Swedish, Scottish, and English, with--disputably--a pinch of other races thrown in the pot for good riddance. Surely with this strong and diverse racial makeup--easily to rival Tiger Woods'--I am a "racial minority." What might come as a surprise to most Americans that consider themselves in the "racial majority" is that they are simply a confluence of diverse racial minorities--excluding perhaps the English race which seems to be the accepted "racial majority" for Americans.

In honor of the 47th commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech on August 28th and the rally to be held this year, I went and read the text of that stirring oration:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Surely then when big brother EEOC steps in to regulate business hiring based on skin color or "racial minority" rather than allowing business to fire employees for illegal activity, this flies in the face of what Dr. King sought for America and spits in the face of lady justice. And surely this should merit strong condemnation and intervention from the so-called "post-racial" President.

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