Tuesday, September 13, 2005The New York Times is propagating a very strange but regrettably popular notion of racial identity. In today's article, they note that for the first time non-Hispanic Whites will no longer make up a majority of the city's voting population. They act like this is a revolutionary development, when it fact it is quite a boring one.
According to the U.S. census and popular cant, there are five races in the United State: white, black, hispanic, asian, and native american & pacific islander. So Germans, Irish, Jews, and Italians are all pretty much the same. As are descendants of southern slaves and Jamaicans, or Mexicans & Puerto Ricans, or Koreans & Pakistanis.
Am I the only one who finds this absurd? There is no country of "Whitia" nor am I a "Whitean." In fact, New York (and America's) white population has been internally divided from the beginning. The country was founded by the English, but they haven't made up a plurality (much less a majority) since the late 1800's. In New York, there has never been an ethnic majority. To suggest that there has is to blind oneself to the tensions that have existed between English, Dutch, German, Irish, Italian, and Jewish populations (among others) for the last 300 years.
What's sad about this piece is that the Times should know better. In their own piece they note the ethnic fragmentation of the Latino, African, and Asian populations. For some reason they fail to apply the same standard to whites.
So while it's true that no longer will one ethnic group will dominate the political affairs of our largest city, my response is.. what else is new?