For decades, immigrants fought to be considered white. Now that trend is reversing.
Enjoyed the perspective.
You are not at all alone in your quest to be classified as “non-white”. The world owes a lot to the Persians for advances in human civilization…
You contend that Trump increased racial awareness. I would argue that that all started in spades under Obama. There was great hope when Obama was elected. The country had a feeling (or hope) that we were finally past racial awareness and tension. But, Obama worked diligently to sow racial division under the guise of equity. He constantly reminded people that our differences were skin color deep and caused by others. He was all pretty words and racially divisive policies.
Second, the current societal paradigm where whites are openly regarded as 2nd class citizens (as your piece ably points out) is only serving to slowly racialize whites - what I mean is that we are moving towards a time where an offense against a single white will be viewed as an offense against all whites. Shouting down white supremacy is a vain attempt to stop white racialization. It may slow it, but that will only deepen the overall anger. We are on a very dangerous and dark path. We absolutely need to get off it and stop with colorizing people…
The question is: Is America still a melting pot? I fear it is not. It has dissolved into a land of tribes where physical and political power will be what’s used to sort out conflict. I fear hard times lie ahead..
This is beyond true. My daughter just added back Shirazi which our Persian family (Partow Shirazi) dropped decades ago. She also changed the spelling of her first name to sound more Middle Eastern. She was TOLD to do it to improve her job prospects. So Leah Partow became Layah Shirazi.
This country has lost its mind. If we don’t end this tribal madness soon, we are in for very dark times ahead
I am white and appreciate the disadvantages it has given me more and more as whites are looked more and more unfavorably upon. It has become striking to me how so many groups hold whites in contempt-especially white males of which I am one, the liberal white educated being the most pronounced of these groups. I was not clear on this until Obama and more so since Trump. I never really thought of myself as white until Obama (Context-love Obama, despise Trump) but since Obama have gone from feeling ashamed, to resentful, to stubbornly proud of my whiteness. This is a transition for me as I grew up among Mexicans and was a want-to-be Mexican for most of my life. I am fairly well read (no degree, some college), open to new ideas and concepts, own a company with two women and a minority (I never thought of him as a minority but he does and the women do in my company)and what I listen/watch/read is left leaning mostly. The point I am trying to get to is, if I am tribbing up, what are those folks doing who are not well read or open to new ideas and concepts doing? Thank you kindly for the piece Shay!
Inane, indeed. But important to recall sad history. When Irish arrived, it was seriously argued that Celts were racially different from Saxons: impulsive, musical, imaginative but incapable of logical reasoning.
Sound familiar? Kind writers, like Matthew Arnold in Britain, accepted this essentialism but saw benign complementarity: Celtic merriment could and did leaven the Saxon loaf. Others including at least one prominent Abolitionist argued that Irish lacked self-discipline required to serve as police officers and thus City of Boston should not hire them
Of course, people are shaped by cultures in which they are brought up but time is long, long past when individuality must be recognized and valued
Welcome to USA. We are lucky to have you!
Great piece, thanks Shay!
There is some evidence that the languages Europeans speak (including, of course, English) were brought to Europe by invaders from (roughly) Persia. The claim is that horse-mounted invaders did not genetically replace the native Europeans, but they did conquer them, and impose their language(s). This may have happened 4-5 thousand years ago. Basque may be a remnant of the languages spoken by Europeans before the invasion. There is some evidence that I may have Basque ancestors.
Shay, I very much appreciate your perspective on this (as well as much of what you write for the Bulwark). I largely agree, and it makes me proud to see such healthy viewpoints from new Americans.
You might find this surprising since your initial exposure to America was through George W Bush and the Republican Party, but not all that long ago the idea that race was a fiction was a largely mainstream viewpoint on the American left.
Sadly, even in America, founded as we are upon ideas, history leaves scars which can sometimes compromise the health of these sunny, philosophically ideal ways of thinking that once defined American liberalism. Because the black/white divide and the racist institutions that long undergirded them have played such a huge role in the shaping of so much of our history, we have difficulty viewing the various disparities and disadvantages (on average) still bedeviling black Americans through anything but a lens of shame and guilt. A large part of our cultural divide is defined by the way different segments of white America react to that guilt, and how we judge each other accordingly. The modern American left's embrace of race was largely due to a sense that American conservatives' professed color-blindness was an artful dodge of the need to address existing racial discrepancies. Sadly, the left flank of American progressivism has lost its way by seemingly abandoning color-blindness as an ideal altogether in favor of a racially-essentialist postmodernism.
Personally, I don't think guilt about our past provides a healthy framework for addressing the problems of the present. Nonetheless, it seems we will have a difficult time moving past race in this country until black/white disparities in income, crime, health, incarceration, etc. are minimized. The problem, however, is that there is no reason to expect that this will happen while we still consider race to be a principle defining factor of who we are. Because if race is important, then it matters - and when things matter, there are naturally differences. It's a bit of a tautological conundrum that requires gradual, mutually reinforcing progress on both fronts - racial equality and racial disinvestment.