Thursday, June 12, 2014
In an op-ed I encountered some time back, Eugene Volokh comments on the alteration of the term "white", under the influence
to refer, not to an accident of birth, but to a socioeconomic
Calling Asians white also creates new lines, possibly very dangerous ones. "White" has stopped meaning Caucasian, imprecise as this term has always been, and has started to mean "those racial groups that have made it." "Minority" has started to mean "those racial groups that have not yet made it." (A recent San Francisco Chronicle story even excludes non-Mexican-American Latinos from the "minority" category.) This new division is as likely as the old to create nasty, corrosive, sometimes fatal battles over which racial groups get the spoils. So long as we think in terms of "white" and "minority," we risk disaster, no matter which races are put in which box.Volokh initially notes that the usage may partially reflect the fact that, for example, "the Asian experience shows that racial divisions and hostilities can subside over time." Maybe so, but as glad as I am of that fact, I find myself more impressed by the danger.
This deliberate sloppiness in usage fails to acknowledge the adversities faced by anyone who has suffered as a result of racism -- either as a victim or as an opponent. This sloppiness also obfuscates the moral virtue of productivity while acknowledging its results as targets for government looting and redistribution. In sum, this sloppiness exposes multiculturalism for what it really is: an excuse from critically examining culture, from judging people as individuals, and for looting the productive for the sake of the unproductive.
It does nothing to foster the idea of judging people as individuals to call the prosperous ones "white" and insinuate that that makes them a legitimate target for being taken advantage of.