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VOLOKH CONSPIRACY

Mostly law professors, blogging on whatever we please since 2002 · Hosted by The Washington Post, 2014-2017 · Hosted by Reason 2017 · Sometimes contrarian · Often libertarian · Always independent

E-mail from a Caucasoid

... to me, an Arab (Jew).

From my mailbox:

Hi Eugene Volokh

I read your article on hate speech and noticed you referred to Caucasians as white. That is a racial slur and has been for many centuries. It is usually followed in America by white trash, or whitey. There is no such race as white just Caucasoid, or the Caucasian race. No one in my Caucasian group would ever call themselves white since it is an insult. I noticed you are of the Middle East Arab (Jew) race which many of them hate Caucasians and the new term in the media is Orange. Would appreciate it if you used the word Caucasians in your future articles unless your a racist Arab yourself. Thanks.

I learn something new every day!

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  • mydisplayname||

    In contrast, I'm reminded of a friend -- a citizen of an African nation -- who responds to being called an "African American" by stating "Just because I'm black, you wrongly assume I'm an African American."

  • mad_kalak||

    I once knew a white South African who emigrated to the US, he was an Afrikaner (descended from the Dutch colonizers) who once got a minority affirmative action boost in the States by calling himself "African American." He wasn't factually incorrect.

  • ||

    News to me, too. Then again, I had a friend, a blond-haired, blue-eyed recent immigrant from Ukraine, who was insulted that he had to check the "Caucasian" box for his race. "I'm not a filthy Caucasian! I'm from Ukraine."

    I prefer "person of non-color." Thx.

  • Eugene Volokh||

    Person of pallor?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    pig-mentally challenged.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Melanin challenged.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    I prefer to identify as pig-mentally challenged my self.

  • ragnar_rahl||

    Well, from Ukraine's perspective Caucasian probably literally means "from the Caucasus." Like, just drive east, pass by Crimea, and you're there.

  • BillyG||

    I have a little bit different interpretation (I'll just go with I'm not from the Caucuses), but I'm pretty sure everyone from Iceland to Italy to Poland and back would be more than a bit surpised to be called Caucasian.

  • shawn_dude||

    Freckles are a color.

  • rsteinmetz||

    I'm not sure what you ancestry is I assume it includes Jews from the middle east. But not all prople from the middle east are Arabs. Ask any Egyptian or Persian.

    I understood that the Russ were originally Viking invaders who established an empire in what is now Russia.

    Much like the Greeks who took over the Egyptian Empire and established the Ptolemaic Pharaohs.

    Or the Yuan Dynasty in China established y Mongols.

    Were were the Caucasians?

    I've never run across the term "Orange" except in reference to the Men of Orange who supported William of Holland and of course the sports teams of the University of Syracuse New York which is apparently merely a fashion statement.

  • OtisAH||

    It's just "Syracuse University".

  • FlameCCT||

    The Orange Order of Ireland.

  • Eidde||

    Known by their fabulous orange hairpieces.

  • ragnar_rahl||

    "But not all prople from the middle east are Arabs. Ask any Egyptian or Persian."
    Egyptians are generally recognized as, and generally identify as, Arabs. You are correct about Persians though.

  • Bremen||

    "the new term in the media is Orange"

    Pretty sure that's referring to one particular Caucasoid, not all of them.

  • santamonica811||

    Wait...Orange is the new "white?" I thought it was the new black?????

    [I'll never get another setup like this in my lifetime.]

  • Longtobefree||

    Come back tomorrow folks, he'll be here all week

  • Longtobefree||

    The fact that the world is full of bigots who look at your skin color to determine who you are (in their eyes) is not exactly a new thing to learn.

  • Eugene Volokh||

    Well, those weren't the new things I was pointing to.

  • mad_kalak||

    Who is "white" is fungible, based on context, and who is doing the defining. Here is an alt-right and Progressive cheat sheet:

    Southern Europeans were not considered white by progressives up until the late 20th century, but are considered white today by everyone but a few Alt-right types. Growing up in the segregated South, my Sicilian father only passed as white because his hair was straight. However, groups like the Greeks are white to progressives today, because of Christian/European cultural influence.

    Arabs, not so different than Greeks are "people of color" to leftists, because Islam. But Arabs are non-whites to the alt-right, just because they are not European culturally, and they come from countries with lower avg IQ.

    Jews may be genetically white, but their Jewish identity takes primacy over their whiteness, unless they themselves define themselves as white.

    Hispanics are a mixed bag. In ante-bellum Texas, they were legally considered "white" but still faced discrimination; the alt-right doesn't consider them white today unless they are from Europe. Hispanics from the Americas are too mixed with Indians/Africans...unless they look really white and are like the Argentinians who never mixed. To leftists, a Hispanic is a "person of color" when convenient to advance a victim-hood narrative, but when it is inconvenient (think George Zimmerman) then they are "white Hispanics" and part of the oppressive white male patriarchy.

    Got it?

  • ||

    LOL! Incredible.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Where is the chart for standard-issue (stridently intolerant but they'll tell you they're 'colorblind') conservatives?

  • mad_kalak||

    If you can't tell explicitly by their actions if someone is being intolerant, then you need telepathy to tell if someone is being intolerant in their thoughts. How, then, does one deal with circumstances that are on their face impartial but perhaps systematically biased? That's a tough question I would take on an issue by issue basis.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It often is obvious, from points ranging from race-targeting voter suppression to a Muslim ban, or embrace or appeasement of white nationalism, or changing positions on drug abuse when downscale whites are the addicts, or -- as with a number of Republican Party officials or conservative elected officials -- the circulation of emails depicting a black president and his family as bone-in-nose savages or apes gorging on watermelon or struggling to hoard a box of fried chicken.

  • mad_kalak||

    Yes, it is often obvious, when it's one person or a small group. If this person or group has no authority where their racism matters to other people, then let the to it, and the rest of us can go our own way.

    But the difficulty in your position, is that there is such dispersed responsibility for systematic racism, it is difficult, if not impossible, to ascribe motive and means. Think of the whims of fashion, or sports fandom, or market sales of any legal product. Racism bubbles to the surface the same way; bottom up, through folkways and basic biology, with no one person to blame. That makes it very difficult to prescribe remedies for systematic racism, unless it is the kind that is top down, and implemented by law, edict, or regulation.

  • Eidde||

    Caucasian, please!

  • NToJ||

    These aren't the people who built the stock market.

  • FlameCCT||

    The US gov't used to have 3 race categories: Caucasian, Mongoloid, & Negroid.

    It now has 5 race categories: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White.

    I would note ethnicities; Hispanic, Latino, European, Middle East (Arab & Jew), among others are considered in the White race category.

    BTW: Don't blame the messenger.

  • Eidde||

    Doesn't "Alaska native" overlap with "American Indian"?

  • mad_kalak||

    No, in that the Alaskan Natives consider themselves distinct from those from the lower 48, and (I presume) asked for and received a separate Census category. I lived in Juneau, AK for a couple years, and this distinction is important to them. It's considered an insult to call an Alaskan Native an "Indian."

    Genetically, the two groups are similar, but culturally? It depends on what American Indians in the lower 48 we are talking about. Alaskan Natives are no so culturally different from natives groups that lived in pre-European settlements in the Pacific Northwest and all the way south through Alta-California, but on the other hand, they are way distinct from plains Indians like the Comanches.

  • Eidde||

    Very interesting.

  • shawn_dude||

    Just to pick a nit here but Hispanic isn't automatically considered to be white. The standard set of questions are "Hispanic/Latino" and then followed by the 5 you mention plus "two or more races" and often an "other" or ability to choose nothing. Both question are required to be asked. Citizens from Chile might legitimately choose Asian and Dominicans might choose Black, neither of which are white.

    (My experience here is limited to IPEDS. YMMV.)

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    But lest we forget that any "Hispanic" who shoots a black teenager while said teenager is beating him up is, de facto, "white"

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Also worth remembering: By shooting a black teenager he becomes a hero to right-wingers.

  • MonitorsMost||

    As we know from Seinfeld, the Ukraine is weak. But apparently strong enough to stretch down all the way to the Middle East.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

  • Auditpop||

    To me there is only one "race". The human race. Unlike dogs and cats, which cannot interbreed as they are difference species, humans of all ethnicities can as we are all the same thing. We may come from different cultures but we are all part of the same race.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    You are conflating "race" with "species".

  • mad_kalak||

    I think he knows that, that's why there is the qualifier "to me" in the first sentence. He knows he's not being scientifically correct, but making a moral argument instead.

    Am I right, or am I just putting words in your mouth Audit?

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    So he's (?) just preening, then.

  • Auditpop||

    Yes, you are correct. My comparison is not meant to be taken literally. I was trying to emphasize that to me, no matter what color or ethnicity we are, we are all the same, not just morally, but scientifically. That attitude makes it easier for my not to be to quick to make judgments about people.

  • Anon A Mus||

    Just refer to me as "genetically-tanned challenged" if you must.

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