May 22, 2012

Matthew Yglesias, Hispanic

Matthew Yglesias writes in Slate:
It’s rare that a Census Bureau press release dominates the front pages, but last week’s headline “Most Children Younger Than 1 Are Minorities, Census Reports” was the thrilling exception. The shortage of white Anglo babies, the press was eager to tell us, was a glimpse of things to come, of America’s future as a majority-minority nation. 
I have my doubts. “A minority,” the census release clarified, “is anyone who is not single-race white and not Hispanic.” It’s not that the census is counting the wrong thing. Rather, I suspect an awful lot of these “minority” babies are going to be white when they grow up. 
When I filled out my 2010 census form I was, like many Americans with Spanish surnames, a bit puzzled. Prompted to ask if I am “of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin” I said that I was. But it seems like a bit of a fraud.

Was somebody holding a gun to his head? Or, despite it's moral fraudulence, did it seem like the rationally self-interested thing to do, career-wise? If a media organization wants to put Matthew Yglesias in the Diverse box on their federal reports, it could be embarrassing if he admitted he didn't check Hispanic on the 2010 Census. Or is it just being cooperative? The federal government (which, by the way, has nuclear weapons) goes to an enormous amount of trouble to have people identify themselves as Hispanic (unless, of course, they've just committed a crime), so it might seem like a waste of the taxpayers dollars not to oblige.
My grandfather is José Yglesias, and his parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba. He grew up speaking Spanish at home in the Spanish-dominant community of Ybor City in Tampa, Fla. His books are published (in English) by Arte Público Press as part of their Pioneers of Modern U.S. Hispanic Literature series. It’s right there on the cover. And I am, obviously, a descendant of my own grandfather. So if he’s a pioneer of Hispanic literature, then clearly I am of Hispanic origin.

Back in the real world, though, I’m just another white dude. My three other grandparents are all of Eastern European Jewish extraction. I grew up speaking English at home, though I once took a summer Spanish class at NYU. ... 
As books like How The Irish Became White and How Jews Became White Folks: And What That Says About Race in America make clear, whiteness in America has always been a somewhat elastic concept. 

As you'll recall, heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, whose parents were born in Ireland, was wildly unpopular in the 1880s-1890s because he wasn't considered white, so there was a huge cultural frenzy among American whites to find the Great White Hope title contender who could beat Sullivan and wrest the title back from this nonwhite. Oh, wait ... I seem to be getting John L. Sullivan confused with Jack Johnson. In reality, it says in Wikipedia's bio of Sullivan:
He was the first American sports hero to become a national celebrity and the first American athlete to earn over one million dollars.

Gee, think how much more money he would have made if he were white! Or, perhaps Noel Ignatiev's ideological framework isn't ideal for helping one remember the actual facts of American history.
It’s conceivable that 40 years from now nobody will care about race at all. But if they do still care, it will still be the case that—by definition—whiteness is the racial definition of the sociocultural majority. If the only way for that to happen is to recruit large swathes of the Hispanic and fractionally Asian population into whiteness, then surely it will happen. Indeed, while the Census Bureau has always been very clear that some people are white, others black, and yet others Native American or Indian, the federal government has frequently changed its mind about the rest.

If you examine your history critically, you'll see that the trend before during the liberal mid-20th Century, before the invention of affirmative action in 1969, was toward more people being defined as white by the government. For example, there was no Hispanic or Latino or Mexican or whatever category at all in 1950 and 1960 because LULAC just wanted people descended from a Spanish-speaking cultural background to be considered part of the white majority.

The trend after 1969 was toward fewer being white: e.g., the creation of Hispanic Ethnicity as entitled to preferences and the the transfer of South Asians in 1982 from Caucasian to Asian. I'm not aware of any group switching to non-Hispanic white since the beginning of racial/ethnic preferences over 40 years ago.

Why would they give up these preferences to be just legally unpreferred non-Hispanic whites? The only way that marginal nonwhites will give up the legal privileges of nonwhiteness is for a Republican administration to push through massive changes in government policy that deprive Hispanics and Asians of their legally preferred status. In particular, abolish the entire legal category of Ethnicity, which only currently benefits Hispanics. But, of course, that would be racist, so nobody ever evens mentions the faintest notion of trying to do this. In the Yglesian worldview, all these legally nonwhite people are just supposed to give up their legal privileges on their own accord, so there's no need to worry about, you know, policy.


30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since the 1922 Thind case, South Asians were classified as Caucasian but non-white, and did not get any white privilege

The 1982 switch to asian was initiated by Indian businessmen wanting to grab some of the Asian contracts being taken by Chinese and Koreans. This re-classification of Indians was strongly opposed by Orientals, who objected to sharing the pig trough of prefential contracts

Switching South Asians back to Caucasian would help them in college admissions

Anonymous said...

Steve, check the 1940 Census, which is now available. Some states are indexed, some are browse image only.

But in multiple states that I've encountered, Hispanics are "white." The only non-white Hispanic surnamed folks I've seen were on a NM Indian reservation.

Nobody seems to be talking about.

Anonymous said...

"It’s conceivable that 40 years from now nobody will care about race at all."

lmao

Anonymous said...

My overwhelming impression of this dude's work (and, increasingly, Slate as a whole) is slapdash-lazy reactive SEO stories. Look at the file image they picked: "Our First Home" via iStockPhoto--it's so irrelevant to the piece it's inadvertently funny.

Anonymous said...

“A minority,” the census release clarified, “is anyone who is not single-race white and not Hispanic.” It’s not that the census is counting the wrong thing. Rather, I suspect an awful lot of these “minority” babies are going to be white when they grow up.


OTOH, a lot of "white" babies will find they are brown or black when they grow up.

The census classifies all americans who originate in the middle-east and north africa as "white". Which of course is equally as absurd.

Don't Call Me White said...

Can't say I didn't learn anything from the link:
1) The Atlantic's metrosexual-black writer indirectly implied that a half-Asian rock singer from Oberlin whose consumption of foundation for 1 appearance is more than Nureyev, Bowie, and Robert Pattinson combined over several years, was "white"--and this was a faux pas.
2) 90s actress who resembled a fin-de-siecle cabaret poster is actually Tex-Chicana.

Whiskey said...

You forgot the other way. Swamp the system Alinsky-style, with Elizabeth Warren and Mark Ruffalo style "non-White" claims. Enough of that and the US Government and States will have to have genetic tests and elaborate legal caste systems.

Let's say 65% of all Whites claim to be Hispanic, or Cherokee, or Black. Hey I'm as Black as Mark Ruffalo! How can you prove they're not? And preserve meaningful privileges for non-Whites?

The only way is to kick people out by genetic testing, expensive, time consuming, and requiring elaborate legal caste systems.

Jehu said...

The first thing the Republicans ought to do if they have any sense is to strip all white people with Spanish surnames from the 'Hispanic' category. You should have to be at least as dark as Zimmerman to be classed as Hispanic. With that done, the demolition of affirmative action for all Hispanics in general will be pretty easy. Operation Wetback II would be best, but that's presently a dream. But shrinking the Hispanic AA category makes that dream far more achievable.

Peter said...

What interests me most is to see how people with relatively small amounts of Asian ancestry will self-identify. As there's not much in the line of affirmative action for Asians, there's little or no financial benefits for a person who is, say, 1/4 Asian to identify as Asian.

Given that Asian immigration and, in turn, Asian-white marriages, began increasing in number in the late 1960's with the new immigration law and the Vietnam War, we're probably starting to see 1/4 Asians reaching adulthood in significant numbers.

Yglesias No said...

Yglesias is a transparent jerk. He is obsessed with increasing the density of living because densely packed populations require more state intrusion ie socialism.

Bloggers obsessed with the inconvenient truth--like Sailer--deserve kudos. Bloggers obsessed with ulterior motives deserve scorn.

eah said...

dominates ... thrilling

Melodramatic ass. He must've suffered brain damage when he was mugged by some of the future parents representative of America's future majority.

Simon in London said...

You (the USA) should scrap Affirmative Action. I'm sure black women will continue to dominate Housing & Urban Development even without official preferences.

Anonymous said...

Jehu's proposal is shrewd. Whites would be wise to expand their tent and in this manner to divide and conquer, so to speak. Instead, the tendency is to quibble about the whiteness of southern Europeans and Jews.

Regarding Jews, the easiest way to peal the largest number away from ethnocentric liberalism would be to accelerate intermarriage and assimilation. It is possible to dislike one's relatives, but it is more common to dislike and generalize negatively about outsiders. Unfortunately, too many people on these race realist boards prefer dreams of bloody revenge to strategic thinking.

Anonymous said...

People shouls stop using the term 'white' in a racially descriptive sense, since there are so many scoundrels out there how will argue till thay are blue in the face that black is white (literally). It's just all getting rather tiresome, the quibbles have gone beyond exasperation and head-shaking to wearisome boredom, but like a dog with a bone they just won't stop.
No, the term 'white' shouldn't be used any more by anyone seriously discussing the racial question. I dislike the term 'caucasian' (meaningless, inclusive of all Asia sans the orient and beloved by ignorant cop shows), so let's be precise in our definitions and stick to 'European', let's call native stock Americans of European ancestry n matter how distant, 'Europeans'.

David said...

"Thrilling" news that whites will be a minority?

"Thrilling"?

Slate is clearly part of the weird zone of the net.

>Regarding Jews, the easiest way to peal the largest number away from ethnocentric liberalism would be to accelerate intermarriage and assimilation.<

No. You merely end with more Jews are look like funny-looking gentiles, as the last 100 to 150 years have shown.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, too many people on these race realist boards prefer dreams of bloody revenge to strategic thinking.

I really don't see this. Where do you? I do, however, see a lot evidence of a "vengeful" mindset among adherents of the Judaic ideology.

Anonymous said...

Does Zimmerman look more like the guy on the left or the guy on the right in this photo?

http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/thelookout/zimmerman-court-ap.jpg

C. Van Carter said...

Imagine the essay Matty would have scribbled if census forms still had an "Idiot" classification.

SFG said...

"Regarding Jews, the easiest way to peal the largest number away from ethnocentric liberalism would be to accelerate intermarriage and assimilation. It is possible to dislike one's relatives, but it is more common to dislike and generalize negatively about outsiders. Unfortunately, too many people on these race realist boards prefer dreams of bloody revenge to strategic thinking."

The Nazi brand still has appeal. Shoot, the Russians are becoming Nazis to get rid of immigrants, even though the Nazis killed what, 20 million Russian untermenschen during WW2? I'm sure there are plenty of tsarist national symbols to use...

helene edwards said...

You (the USA) should scrap Affirmative Action. I'm sure black women will continue to dominate Housing & Urban Development even without official preferences

Even Simon, a consistently trenchant commenter, can suffer a glitch. The Voting Rights Act, at least as currently interpreted, ensures permanent black and latino-controlled congressional districts, so that votes for repeal of AA can never be massed. Were AA to end, all of America's problems would magically disappear, but you have to live here awhile to be able to see that.

Steve Sailer said...

"Does Zimmerman look more like the guy on the left or the guy on the right in this photo?"

http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/thelookout/zimmerman-court-ap.jpg

Wow, I didn't realize Prince Charles was working as a bailiff in Florida these days

ben tillman said...

Steve, I think your "bailiff" is the defense attorney.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the other way. Swamp the system Alinsky-style, with Elizabeth Warren and Mark Ruffalo style "non-White" claims. Enough of that and the US Government and States will have to have genetic tests and elaborate legal caste systems.

Let's say 65% of all Whites claim to be Hispanic, or Cherokee, or Black. Hey I'm as Black as Mark Ruffalo!


Whiskey, I don't think you know who Mark Ruffalo is. Steve was making a joke in the previous post.

Londoner said...

Anonymous - Steve wrote about this a couple of years ago. The more people who are related to Jews, the more people will identify to some extent with Jewish interests, and have less inclination to understand or argue for gentile interests (and goodness knows that inclination's been almost wiped out already in most European gentiles as it is).

So I think the course of action you suggest would have the opposite effect to the one you suggest. I also think you are aware of this.

Anonymous said...

"so let's be precise in our definitions and stick to 'European'"

Are Jews European?

Or to cut to the chase is their any White identity-label Jews won't lay a claim to while at the same time maintaining a separate unique identity for themselves?

Because otherwise this boils down to Jews attempting to deny White people a unique identity of their own *except* when they are being attacked as a group for something or other - usually by Jews.

Anonymous said...

"The more people who are related to Jews, the more people will identify to some extent with Jewish interests, and have less inclination to understand or argue for gentile interests"

The historical events of the last 150 years do not support your statement. First, intermarriage rates have been extremely low throughout that period up until the last 25 years. Second, because intermarriages with Jews were stigmatized until the last 25 years (often by both sides), the children were more likely to end up identifying with whoever among their relatives had the most liberal views about the issue. Often those relatives have ended up being liberal Jews, despite whatever the official positions of any branch of Judaism have been (Remember, religious Jews are fairly irreligious). Third, because the intermarriage rate has been so low up until the past 25 years, there has always been a large group of secular Jews to absorb the half-Jews. If the number of secular Jews were significantly attenuated by a combination of very high rates of intermarriage (80 or 90%) and old secular Jews dying off, there would be less of an established secular Jewish community to absorb them.

Anonymous said...

Second, because intermarriages with Jews were stigmatized until the last 25 years (often by both sides), the children were more likely to end up identifying with whoever among their relatives had the most liberal views about the issue. Often those relatives have ended up being liberal Jews

Bunch of BS. You don't hear about Christians disowning their children for marrying Jews or constantly hand-wringing and wailing about intermarriage.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5/23/12 9:17 PM,

The response to intermarriage that you cite is a feature of some aspects of the Jewish population, not its totality. Neither Rebbetzin Jungreis nor Elliott Abrams represent all Jews on the subject of intermarriage. Reform Judaism, the largest denomination of Jews in the U.S. now allows patrilineal Jews, and a small number of Reform rabbis will perform intermarriages even if the non-Jewish spouse chooses not to convert. Among secular Jewish families of my acquaintance, almost all of whom have experienced some intermarriage in the last 24 years, no parties to the intermarriages have been disowned.

These are recent developments, and they are admittedly not universal. However, your comment treats the subject as if all Jews reacted to the matter in the same and as if that reaction were the same as in 1930. As for Christians not disowning children who marry Jews, was Clarence MacKay (father of Ellen Berlin, nee MacKay) not Christian? To some extent, the non-Jewish press (outside of Nazi Germany) has never cared as much about this issue as the Jewish press because the numbers of intermarriages are so insignificant compared to total marriages. That would still be true if all Jews intermarried. There just aren't that many of us.

Phlebas said...

Topical image:

https://treeofmamre.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/cracker-vs-minority.png

Anonymous said...

I'm not aware of any group switching to non-Hispanic white since the beginning of racial/ethnic preferences over 40 years ago.

Hey Steve Sailer, Check this out...


In a twist to notions of race identity, new 2010 census figures show an unexpected reason behind a renewed growth in the U.S. white population: more Hispanics listing themselves as white in the once-a-decade government count.

The shift is due to recent census changes that emphasize “Hispanic” as an ethnicity, not a race. While the U.S. government first made this distinction in 1980, many Latinos continued to use the “some other race” box to establish a Hispanic identity. In a switch, the 2010 census forms specifically instructed Latinos that Hispanic origins are not races and to select a recognized category such as white or black.

The result: a 6 percent increase in white Americans as tallied by the census, even though there was little change among non-Hispanic whites. In all, the number of people in the “white alone” category jumped by 12.1 million over the last decade to 223.6 million. Based on that definition, whites now represent 72 percent of the U.S. population and account for nearly half of the total population increase since 2000.


So as you can see Steve even if we leave things just as they are an increasing number of "Hispanics" will identify themselves as "white."

Why would they give up these preferences to be just legally unpreferred non-Hispanic whites?

Well you are assuming that "non-Hispanic white" is "unpreferred." I think if you went to Brazil and spoke to a blond woman down their it is highly unlikely she would refer to herself as "Hispanic" or anything other than their equivalent of "white." If the racial/ethnic categories in the US have you in knots do NOT go to to Brazil. Again in this blog post you have touch on something that is a complete nonissue in the grand scheme of things.