News and views from the award-winning author of the Class H Trilogy: AMERICA LIBRE, HOUSE DIVIDED and PANCHO LAND

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New York Times: An impending change in racial labels?

In today's New York Times an article by Susan Saulny titled "Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above" reported on the many young adults of mixed background who are rejecting the color lines that have defined Americans for generations. In response to this article, I posted the comment below which is currently #1 in reader recommendations by a wide margin.

The assumptions in this article begin with a fundamental flaw: the absurd racial classifications used in the United States (and perpetuated by the New York Times and other media sources).

White: People with similar phenotypes with origins from a vast number of countries speaking different languages are lumped into a one group.

Hispanic: People with vast variety of phenotypes with origins from Spanish-speaking countries are lumped into one group.

Asian: People with similar phenotypes from nations speaking different languages are lumped into one group -- except for those from India who have completely different phenotypes but are still included as Asian.

Black: Anyone who has a single ancestor of Sub-Saharan African descent, regardless of any other ancestry -- except if the ancestor is from a Spanish-speaking nation, which then makes them Hispanic.

A wise person once said:  "Race is an illusion. But racism is real."

Until we acknowledge this truth, we will continue to torment ourselves with differences based on preconceived prejudices rather than scientific fact.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez