Color Blind

Dave Killion — July 30, 2011

Can you find the three white people hidden in this picture?

Further to my post asking “Where are the Asians?”, I see Eugene Volkh of The Volokh Conspiracy pointing out that Asian-Americans are not simply overlooked when discussing racial disparities, they are sometimes lumped in with the majority as ‘white’

I first noticed this effect 10 years ago, at a party where a friend of mine commented that the guests were all white. I responded by mentioning about a dozen Asians; oh, she said, that’s right, but you know what I mean. At a recent UCLA conference I attended, two speakers complained that everyone on the panel was white, without even realizing that one of the speakers was ethnically Chinese, and another was an Asian Indian with skin darker than that of many American blacks.”

As Volokh goes on to point out, this mistaken way of thinking has some disturbing implications –

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.

It is the disadvantaged who should be the first to say the government should get out of the redistribution business. I can’t think of any minority subject to more paternalistic treatment than Native Americans, and the state has ‘helped’ them to within an inch of their lives. Leave minorities alone, and the market will price race-based discrimination right out of existence.

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