Thursday, August 14, 2008

Deconstruct This:

The headlines are all over the place today: American Whites to be a Minority in 2042.

And yet, no where in any of the articles does anyone back this headline up with straight-forward facts. Read it carefully ... each of the authors is very careful to only report a fraction of the story, and to leave out any numbers that contradict the dramatic headline. They can only say "Whites will be a minority" by excluding all Caucasians of Latin descent from the count. Otherwise, the numbers seem to hold: the US will be 76% Caucasian in 2042.

OK now, race is a social construct and there is no real science behind terms like "white" or "black;" while "Asian" covers such a wide range of cultures as to be an almost worthless term (Japanese, Russians, and Israelis are all technically Asian, yeah?), and "Latin" is a culture (and since California probably has more folks of Spanish descent than Argentina couldn't we argue that everyone born in California is also Latin?).

And so I'm wondering what the motivation is behind all these headlines. I can't tell if they're based on fear mongering, or wishful thinking, or what. I do know that the only way to make the headlines true is to exclude anyone whose recent ancestors spoke Spanish from the definition of white. Racial classifications are stupid and irrational enough, but this seems to be stretching things a bit much.

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