Saturday, April 7, 2012

White And Black Racists Discuss Asians

It's a big day for racism, as John Derbyshire writes an article laying out racist things that white and Asian parents should teach their kids about black people, and Marion Barry tells Asian shopkeepers to get out of town.

Asian people, specifically East Asians, are a focus of attention in both cases. They're seen unlike black people and (especially with Derbyshire) closer to white people. With the passage of time, minority groups that attain higher social status in America are seen as more like whites, until eventually they're not seen as a separate race at all. East Asians seem to be on a swift path to that outcome.

I wonder what the role of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent will be in all this. We're dark enough in coloring that it'll be harder to see us simply as another kind of white people. At the same time, our racial stereotypes are pretty good, as far as these things go. As with East Asians, the stereotype isn't "likely to commit crimes" but "good at math." At least until we intermarry into the rest of the culture so fully that we can no longer be identified as a separate group, we'll be disrupting the correlation between whiteness of skin and whiteness in the "Stuff White People Like" sense. I guess that's kind of neat.

11 comments:

Rashad said...

It's too late. I feel like we south asians are already white, unless we have accents, in which case we're considered 7-11 owners.

Rashad

Neil Sinhababu said...

Yeah, but if the moral of the story is "white people can be darker than a grocery bag" I think some confusion of racial categories has been successfully achieved.

Rashad said...

https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&source=hp&biw=1323&bih=728&q=snooki&gbv=2&oq=snooki&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_l=img.3..0l10.637l1528l0l1687l6l6l0l1l1l0l87l408l5l5l0.frgbld.

Well, she's "white" right? No South Asian needed!

Neil Sinhababu said...

Fair point, though she is a somewhat unusual case. Most Italians don't look like that, as far as I've seen, and the heavily tanned few get their racial classification determined by the paler many.

Glenn Fayard said...

Nicole Elizabeth "Snooki" Polizzi.

Uh, born in Santiago, Chile. She's adopted.

So, uh, point to Neil, I'd wager.

Rashad said...

Oh, I didn't realize she was adopted, just assumed she was a tanned italian. Touche!

low-tech cyclist said...

"It's a big day for racism, as John Derbyshire writes an article laying out racist things that white and Asian parents should teach their kids about black people, and Marion Barry tells Asian shopkeepers to get out of town."

Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks.
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule.
But during National Brotherhood Week...

Malcolm said...

I wish I could make Nell Irvin Painter's "History of White People" assigned reading for every white person, or indeed anyone writing about race (it's doubtful John Derbyshire has or will read it). Racial/ethnic categories have always been confused and arbitrary to a degree, and differences in skin color is only one of the many supposedly scientific means of carving them out. The Irish were not originally the paradigm of whiteness they are in the United States at present, and the Mexicans were considered white in some regions of the states as well.

"Whiteness" is as much about marking the group in power as it is about supposed categories of race/ethnicity.

Greg Hao said...

I wonder if it's really true that asians are anywhere near being regarded as white. It's true that in America interracial couples are already rare but it's almost non-existent the interracial couple where the male is asian (east asian) and the female is white. For every one of those type of couplings, one can invariably find five to ten times that numberwhere the male is white and female is asian.

AJD said...

I'm pretty sure that actually in 19th-century racialist thought, South Asians were considered to belong to the same broad category as white Europeans. Consider that the original meaning of the term "Aryan" was 'northern Indian'.

Rashad said...

There is a big geographical element to this as well. I think in large west coast cities, East Asian and to a lesser extent South Asians are basically white, but where you have smaller Asian populations they are still somewhat separate. At least, that is my experience growing up in LA, going to school in the Bay Area, and then living on the East Coast for a few years.