Is Rejecting Someone Because of His "Jewish Blood" Race Discrimination Under Title VII? National Origin Discrimination?

A surprisingly unsettled question.


Some discrimination against Jews is based on their religion, and is generally forbidden in employment and other contexts by federal and state laws banning religious discrimination. But many anti-Semites dislike Jews based on their ethnicity, a hostility that also covers irreligious Jews and Jewish converts to other religion.

American antidiscrimination laws generally don't expressly ban discrimination based on ethnicity, but they do ban discrimination based on race and national origin. Judge Dee D. Drell's decision in Bonadona v. Louisiana College (W.D. La. Aug. 28, 2019), illustrates how complicated this can end up being:

Joshua Bonadona was born to a Catholic father and Jewish mother. He was raised both culturally and religiously as a member of the Jewish community. His mother is both racially and religiously Jewish…. [While a student at Louisiana College, he] converted to Christianity.

Upon his graduation from LC in 2013, LC hired Bonadona as an assistant football coach. In June 2015, he resigned his position to pursue a graduate degree and football coaching position at Southeast Missouri State University.

In 2017, LC hired Justin Charles as its new head coach of the football team. Charles reached out to Bonadona about returning to LC as its defensive backs coach. Bonadona submitted an application wherein he identified himself as a Baptist, described his salvation experience, and acknowledged he understood and supported LC's [Christian] mission statement.

Bonadona interviewed with Charles who advised that the coaching position was his, subject to approval by [LC President Rick] Brewer. Accordingly, Bonadona interviewed with Brewer. During the interview, Brewer asked Bonadona about his parents' religious affiliations. Bonadona affirmed his father was Catholic and his mother was Jewish but expressed he was a practicing member of the Christian faith and attended a Baptist church in Missouri.

Based on representations made by Charles, Bonadona returned to Missouri and submitted his resignation. According to Bonadona, Charles contacted him a week later to advise that LC decided not to hire him because of his Jewish heritage [according to the complaint, Brewer referred to Bonadona's "Jewish blood"].

The court allowed Bonadona's claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (part of the Civil Rights Act of 1866) to move forward; that statute, banning race discrimination in enforcement of contracts, was held by the Court starting with the 1960s to apply to private discrimination as well as governmental discrimination. Because "race" in 1866 covered what we might today label ethnicity, and in particular was used to refer to the "Jewish race," the Supreme Court had interpreted the Civil Rights Act of 1866 as "defin[ing] race to include Jews," see Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb (1987).

But the court reject Bonadona's claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because:

Under the canons of statutory construction, words should be given the meaning they had when the text was adopted. This canon was adhered to by the Supreme Court in Shaare Tefila Congregation, when it noted that while Jews were a protected race in 1866, they are no longer thought of as members of a separate race.

What about national origin discrimination? The Bonadona court didn't deal with it, because Bonadona hadn't mentioned it his Complaint. But some other district courts conclude that being Jewish isn't a national origin, either, because "[S]tating that one is Jewish gives no indication of that individual's country of origin…. Jews, like Catholics and Protestants, hail from a variety of different countries." On the other hand, some federal district court cases treat ethnicity-based discrimination against Jews as discrimination based on race or national origin. The Second Circuit has also said that "for purposes of Title VII, 'race' encompasses ethnicity, just as it does under § 1981"; that case involved discrimination based on Hispanic ethnicity, but its logic applies equally to Jewish ethnicity.

Of course, well-counseled plaintiffs would generally be able to prevail under § 1981 even if they can't prevail under Title VII, as we see for Bonadona himself. But the legal controversy remains important; as the Second Circuit noted, "Although Title VII and § 1981 overlap in many respects, there are significant differences with respect to their statutes of limitations, employers' respondeat superior liability, the cognizability of claims against individuals (as opposed to organizations), and whether a plaintiff must show that discrimination was intentional." This is especially significant for lawsuits against local governments as employers, where § 1981 rules are more pro-defendant. The disagreement about how Title VII deals with such ethnic discrimination thus remains important.

Note also that LC might well be entitled not to hire non-Christians, because Title VII ban on religious discrimination exempts religious institutions. But there is no such statutory exemption for race or national origin discrimination. (There is a First Amendment exception for any sort of discrimination as to clergy and similar employees, but that wouldn't cover football coaches.) And of course Bonadona's claim is that he was discriminated against based on his ethnicity, not based on his current or past religion.

The Anti-Defamation League, by the way, has condemned characterizing discrimination against Jews as race discrimination, even when such characterizations might help fight anti-Semitic discrimination:

ADL is deeply offended by the perception of Jews as a race found in both allegations against the College and the plaintiff's assertions in the lawsuit.  According to a court filing, the administration was motivated in its actions because of Mr. Bonadona's "Jewish blood" and Mr. Bonadona is attempting to circumvent the 1964 Civil Rights Act's religious employer exemption by characterizing his "Jewish heritage" as racial….

The idea that Jews are not only a religious group, but also a racial group, was a centerpiece of Nazi policy, and was the justification for killing any Jewish person who came under Nazi occupation—regardless of whether he or she practiced Judaism. In fact, even the children and the grandchildren of Jews who had converted to Christianity were murdered as members of the Jewish "race" during the Holocaust.

Based on Congress' 19th Century conception of race, the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1980s ruled that the definition of "non-white races" found in post-Civil War anti-discrimination laws, includes Arabs, Chinese, Jews and Italians.  The 1964 Civil Rights Act, which explicitly covers national origin and religion, does not embody these antiquated views.  Although Mr. Bonadona's attorney certainly could try to bring claims under these 19th century laws, we believe that attempting to create similar legal precedent under the Civil Rights Act perpetuates harmful stereotypes and views about Jews….

NEXT: "Free Speech Rules," My YouTube Video Series—Episode 6 (Corporations and the First Amendment) Now Out

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  1. Another fiiine example of what happens when you throw out simple principles (freedom of association) for means to achieve an unachievable end (non-discriminatory humans).

    So much strife would disappear if self-ownership were the founding principle. Don;t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.

    1. That’s my point of view: Yes, discrimination is usually stupid, and often deserving of contempt, but it properly should be none of the government’s business.

      Civil rights law really took a horrible turn way back when, and all our liberties have suffered as a result.

    2. That’s cute but of course it completely ignores the fact that once you employ “freedom of association” in ways that allow majority groups to exclude minority groups, your stated ideals of “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff” are easily bypassed.

      Now I return you back to you and Brett bemoaning civil rights for people who aren’t you.

      1. Don’t hurt people is not nearly the same as “do what other people want”.

        As soon as you extend it that way, you run into the worst balancing problems possible. Who is more butthurt, the florist making evil arrangements or the customer getting beautiful arrangements made tawdry because the maker hates them?

        I would much rather have the bigots out in the open so their business will duffer from their bigotry. You must have a pretty low opinion of the human race to think you have to force them, at gunpoint, to cooperate and pretend o get along.

        1. We have history showing how the human race can get when you choose for freedom of association to always trump civil rights.

          1. No we don’t. Jim Crow wasn’t voluntary.

            We went straight from enforced discrimination to enforced non-discrimination, without even trying freedom to see if it would work.

            1. Sometimes it was voluntary.

              Enough to make the argument that the marketplace will prevent discrimination look foolish.

              1. No one, including me, has ever said or pretended that markets will eliminate discrimination. But you and others pretend that government-mandated discrimination will somehow end discrimination.

                All it really does is make official discrimination mandatory, and drive unofficial discrimination underground. Markets, on the other hand, bring it out in the open where the public can weigh in and discriminate against the bigots.

                1. The problem is that without legal protection, we don’t have recourse against those who discriminate. They’re free to do what they want and you leave their relevancy up to their ability to outbreed us and outcompete us in the marketplace of ideas. Discrimination can’t be eliminated but it can be penalized to the point that people will think twice before pushing their luck.

                  1. Of course you have recourse. Don’t give them your money.

                    “They’re free to do what they want” THAT’S THE POINT.

                    Freedom is the point.

                    1. Again, there are plenty of purely private historical examples of that not working well for the freedom of everyone involved.

                      Ignoring the fact that discrimination can and has undeniably damaged freedom makes one wonder if freedom really is the point.

                    2. And that’s the problem. All they have to do is outbreed and outcompete you and suddenly insane bigotry has the power and influence to control society and destroy your freedom. At best, block you from their highly successful yet horribly intolerant society and force you into the ghetto.

                      This is some “if you kill your enemies, they win” tier logic.

            2. Is that what he meant? Good grief. To think mandated Jim Crow was freedom of association is really twisting the story.

              Yes, we went from mandated slavery to mandated segregation to mandated integration. The key is “mandated”, as in government violations of individual rights. To pretend to not understand that is really pathetic.

            3. Jim Crow wasn’t voluntary.

              For the umpteenth time, it was to very large degree voluntary.

          2. “We have history showing how the human race can get when you choose for freedom of association to always trump civil rights.”

            We also have plenty of history showing how the human race can get when you let the government deny the freedom of association. It’s not pretty, and it’s not just Jim Crow.

            1. We have more liberty now than back when we let freedom of association trump antidiscrimination.

              1. Of course, that’s in the eye of the beholder. Brett is of the mind that “Liberty” is a finite resource and that increasing the liberty of others reduces his own. Allowing a black man to use Brett’s drinking fountain means Brett has one less drinking fountain from which to drink.

              2. “We have more liberty now than back when we let freedom of association trump antidiscrimination.”

                When was that? Despite your continual pretense that Jim Crow was just about private discrimination, Jim Crow included numerous actual laws that violated the freedom of association. That was one of the driving forces behind Jim Crow.

      2. As long as the majority group can’t use coercion, the exclusion isn’t going to be remotely complete. Or else our current anti-discrimination laws wouldn’t be politically viable!

        As a general rule these days, anti-discrimination law isn’t used to keep the majority from excluding the minority. It’s used to keep a tiny faction from choosing who they associate with. Look at the florists and bakers, legally attacked for refusing to provide SSM related services: In none of these cases did the plaintiff lack an extensive variety of willing alternatives!

        1. The concern is local majorities.

          1. Right.

            The exclusion has been complete, or close, in places where there was no physical or legal coercion. There are other kinds – social and economic coercion come to mind. (Please, no “streetcars prove you’re wrong” BS).

            1. Past tense, you’ll note. It’s not 1963 anymore.

              But we do still have government sanctioned racial discrimination. It’s just running in the opposite direction now. A natural consequence of rejecting freedom of association in favor of strict compliance with racial quotas: In most cases compliance will require deliberate discrimination, not refraining from it.

  2. “American antidiscrimination laws generally don’t expressly ban discrimination based on ethnicity, but they do ban discrimination based on race and national origin.”

    So I can refuse to hire, say, Slavs, but I can’t refuse to hire Poles?

    How does that work for a group like Finns where the ethnic and national origin sets are essentially identical (let’s suppose my particular bigotry considers American immigrants from Finland to be of American ethnicity, not Finnish).

    Or I could refuse to hire Chinese, as long as I apply it to people who are Malaysian citizens of Chinese ethnicity in addition to Chinese citizens?

    Given the general overlap between ethnicity and national origin, how do you parse out which is at work?

    1. I don’t think you could refuse to hire all Chinese but you could refuse to hire Han Chinese.

      But maybe I’m reading it wrong.

  3. Interesting–so does this result hold in any other cases of mistaken belief as to race? E.g., an employee is white, but the white employer mistaken believes him to be black, and fires him for it?

  4. Call me ignorant but I don’t see any significant space between the definitions of “ethnicity” and of “race and national origin”. The legal hair-splitting cited above is unconvincing both as a matter of rational policy and as a matter of legal interpretation.

    1. Well, the case presents an example of when there is a significant space. “Jewish” is not a race. Nor is it a national origin.

      1. Nor is “Palestinian,” so that seems to work out as (likely) intended.

      2. You might have an argument for national origin but only if you define it to recent-national origin. Go back far enough to the point of their identity and you are at a national origin.

        “Jewish is not a race”, however, is a non-starter despite the claims cited above. There is no scientific basis for the concept of race that’s any better than the colloquial definition of ethnicity.

        1. There is no scientific basis for the concept of race

          Sorry to change topic here, but this is one of the most misleading and yet almost true statements you can hear about race.

          There are most definitely genetic racial markers. Dark skin, light skin, epicanthic fold, and so on.
          However, these traits are not definitive or exclusionary, making it impossible for a trait to uniquely identify a race – as it can a subspecies.

          And that what’s the phrase actually means – you cannot look at genes and objectively categorize people into races. You can do so subjectively without looking at anything but genes (unlike ethnicity, which is social). But it’s anything but objective, and is barely better than looking at phenotypes.

          1. Ethnicity as a term can get a little complicated. There most definitely are populations that are considered an ethnic group, who are so insular and with so few common ancestors that they can be definitively identified on the basis of genetics. These groups are often clan based and have extensive geneologies. For them genetics correlates almost perfectly with membership in the group. So while the definition of ethnicity as an anthropological term is cultural, not all ethnic groups are unidentifiable by genetics.

  5. (Standard disclaimers about freedom of association)

    I see that the Anti Defamation League has become the Pro Discrimination League.

    I’m going out on a limb and guess that not every ADL member is a regular synagogue-goer, and that some of them may well be atheists or agnostics. So in what sense are they Jewish, except by “blood”?

    What seems to stick in their craw is the idea of Christians being able to claim protected class status based on Jewish descent. Yet if Christians of Jewish descent aren’t protected from racial discrimination, what about an agnostic ADL staffer?

    And, yes, this discussion has been pre-Godwinned for our convenience. It’s true that Hitler defined Jewishness in racial terms, targeting Christians of Jewish birth as Jews.

    One would think that, since people like Hitler discriminate based on Jewish descent, then that would be all the more reason to counteract such discrimination by including Jewish descent under the category “race.”

  6. Foxman’s response is some weird and stupid sh*t. Of course the people pushing the concept of a group as a “race” and the concept of race was primarily pushed by racists. That’s how racial discrimination works. The idea of all dark-skinned African people are a singular and discrete “race” was propagated by people who wanted to enslave and subjugate them. That doesn’t mean that discrimination towards AAs as a race isn’t a real thing. Imagine if other advocacy groups took this approach

    AA Person: The state of Alabama won’t let me vote. Please someone stop this racial discrimination.

    NAACP: Whoah buddy, the idea that black people are a singular “race” is something that slaveholders said as an excuse to enslave them! We won’t buy into that kind of hateful racist thinking.

    AA Person: But I want to vote!

    NAACP: Good luck!

    1. Sorry-I attributed the comment to Abe Foxman, but I see that it was the ADL generally that put out the comment.

  7. I always welcome a conservative’s voluntary initiation of public discussion concerning Jews, gays, women, Muslims, blacks, or just about anyone other than straight white male Christians who pine for the 1950s.

    I never understand the self-inflicted exposure to pain, but appreciate every opportunity for mainstream Americans to get a better view of conservative and Republican thinking on these issues.

    1. And conservatives believe…that anti-Jewish discrimination can be racial discrimination? I’m not following your logic if any.

      1. The blessed reverend never has any logic

    2. Are you suggesting that conservatives who “voluntar[ily] initiat[e] public discussion concerning Jews” are letting the cat out of the bag regarding the unsavory nature of “conservative and Republican thinking on these issues”? And are you are aware that the conservative who voluntarily initiated this particular public discussion is himself ethnically Jewish? So what exactly is the unsavory outlook which he is revealing? Is he a self-hating Jew? Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. The conservative who voluntarily initiated this discussion has cultivated a following of bigots who can’t avoid displaying their intolerance and backwardness in any discussion along the line I identified. If he wants to make conservative positions and thinking more attractive, voluntarily inviting right-wing bigots to provide unvarnished conservative commentary seems counterproductive.

  8. The idea that Jews are not only a religious group, but also a racial group, was a centerpiece of Nazi policy

    But don’t all Jews believe they are descended from Abraham? At least, that’s an extended family or an ethnic group. I don’t see how that’s really any different from race. Recognizing that is not the same as abusing it like the Nazis did.

    1. Exactly. Steve Sailer’s working definition of race is “a partially inbred extended family,” which seems to work pretty well. The fact that goyim can convert to Judaism and have themselves and their descendants accepted as Jews doesn’t invalidate the definition. It just means that in the case of Jews, conversion is like adoption as a way of grafting people onto a family tree.

      1. But the plaintiff is Jewish as his mother is Jewish.

  9. Why do people overcomplicate things?

    race (noun) a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.

    1. I have to agree. The logic involved here is nonsensical. The man was denied a job because of his mother’s heritage. That is the basis of racial discrimination. It doesn’t matter if it’s that she was Jewish, Black, or Oklahoman, that’s not acceptable.

    2. Also…

      nation (noun)… (4) an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family, often speaking the same language or cognate languages.”

      It is presumably this sense that the law refers to.

  10. The ADL’s statement is ridiculous (as is most of the crap Foxman puts out). Most American Jews are non-religious, or at least the liberal ones are. Most of these Jews who only want to marry other Jews don’t care if they’re religious at all. It’s all about whether they’re a member of the “tribe,” or “race.” The fact that the Nazis considered Jews a race doesn’t mean that designating Jews a race is bad.

  11. There’s a college in Louisiana that doesn’t regard football as part of its religion? And the plaintiff is expecting a jury to believe this?

    1. In all seriousness, if Louisiana College claimed football coach is a ministerial function, it might win. Their students may well do more singing, praying, rallying, exhortation, and revivaling at football games than they do in Church.

      And the coach may not only do more preaching then the minister, he may get listened to more. I think they really could say that the football coach performs a religious function as a plausible defense. And if their football program is like other religious school football programs in the American south, there would be some evidence to back it.

      1. How would that be a defense, when he’s an acceptable religion?

        1. Because it’s well established that ministers can be hired or fired, or not, for any reason or no reason, including a bad reason. The Supreme Court’s decision in Hosanna-Tabor reiterated this point and also made it easier for a religious educational institution to claim a faculty position is ministerial in character.

          1. The college’s web site indicates it accepts federal funds including financial aid. A school which designates sports coach positions as ministerial might be able to do this as a basic matter, but might have difficulty doing it and accepting federal funds.

            However, as the statutes involved are also more recent, I would suspect that if the district court is right, they also would not regard Jews as a race, which would mean refusing to hire people Jewish origin as distinct from Jewish religion would also not be a violation.

  12. Seems to me we should pass legislation making ethnicity a protected class.

  13. I hate when anyone cites the ADL as some Jewish authority. We most certainly are a race with a common origin. Only the most extreme Reconstructionists could possibly try to distance the Jewish mind from the Jewish body. We aren’t some universalist religion that proselytizes those who believe in our ideas. There is a very explicit genetic Jewish identity that, while it may have mixed with local populations resulting from the diaspora, remains unchanged in that all Jewish peoples have common Hebrew ancestors. You can’t just decide to believe in Judaism and become Jewish.

    Ex. if I marry a non-Jew, most Orthodox and Conservative congregations will not consider my children Jewish without a formal conversion.

    1. “You can’t just decide to believe in Judaism and become Jewish.”

      You can if it’s Reform or Reconstructionist, with some added steps, and though it’s hard one can still convert to Conservative or Orthodox Judaism without being ethnically Jewish. Greco-Roman converts to Christianity in the first century demonstrated that one can become Jewish then, as well. It’s silly to pretend Judaism is or ever was monolithic.

      1. Your second statement undermines your first. The “added steps” matter. You can’t, even for Reform/Reconstructionist, just decide that you’re Jewish. You have to study and have to be accepted as a convert. Reform/Reconstructionist may be far (far, far) less strict than Orthodox, but it’s still not just a matter of personal choice.

      2. You misunderstand. Believing in Judaism doesn’t make you Jewish. If it were a religion, it would. If you wake up one morning with a sincere conviction that Jesus is your savior — Boom, you’re a Christian. As a Christian there are things you must now do, such as get baptized, but they’re not what makes you one; you’re one as soon as you have that belief. And if you’re convinced that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is his messenger, then Boom, you’re a Moslem. Again, the belief is what makes you one, not the prayers you should now say, or the deeds you should now do, etc. Ditto for every single religion in the world. And of course if you stop believing those things you are no longer a Christian, a Moslem, etc. And certainly if you never believed them, you’re not one just because your grandparents did.

        Becoming a Jew doesn’t work like that. A person can believe implicitly in every word of the written and oral Torah, in all 13 principles, he can even have been raised in the conviction that he is a Jew and in the strictest observance, never once having missed saying Shema on time or forgotten to say a blessing when required, but if it transpires that his mother’s mother’s mother was not a Jew, then he was never one either, and none of that made him one. If he still wants to be a Jew he needs a quick conversion, and only then will he become one. Conversely Cardinal O’Connor was a Jew and didn’t even know it; he didn’t believe in Judaism, and did believe in what Judaism considers idolatry, and had he known about his mother’s birth family it probably wouldn’t have changed anything, and yet he was a Jew.

        The answer is that Jews are not a religion, we’re a nation that has a religion. We have our own laws, to which we’re subject whether we acknowledge it or not, and whether we know it or not, and one of those laws requires us to believe in the religion, but whether we do or not doesn’t affect our nationality, just as whether one obeys US law doesn’t affect ones citizenship.

        Becoming a Jew doesn’t work like becoming a Christian or a Moslem, it works like becoming a US or French citizen. One can be born with citizenship, or one can be naturalized. Naturalization must be administered by a person authorized by law to do so, and is subject to the conditions laid down by law. Rasmea Odeh was ineligible to be naturalized, so it was ineffective, and when that was discovered it turned out she’d never been a citizen. But John Walker Lindh was born a US citizen, so nothing he did or thought could affect that. (Except a voluntary renunciation, because US law says that is effective; Jewish law does not recognize renunciation, just as UK law in the early 19th century didn’t, so O’Connor’s mother remained a Jew, albeit a bad one.)

      3. Some congregations will be very welcoming, but make no mistake about being considered Jewish.

        My father is Catholic. Part of the reason I was raised in Reform congregations is because at the time, no Conservative Rabbi would marry him to my mother. It wasn’t even easy within Reform Judaism at that time (early 80s). My current congregation (Temple Brith Achim in PA) has always been very welcoming and we did some things Orthodox Jews would shudder at. My father even held the Torah during my bar mitzvah. Many Jews today feel that intermarriage is simply a part of American life and that we should not push people away from their faith just because of an increasingly multicultural lifestyle. In some ways, certain American Jews like me are quite literally reforming Judaism into a more traditional religion. But hey, I like it this way. I’ve always felt uncomfortable in churches because I don’t share their beliefs. I felt equally uncomfortable in an Orthodox congregation I attended once with a friend and my friends never feel uncomfortable in my synagogue.

        1. And yet, even now many Reform rabbis will not perform an interfaith marriage, even though they will welcome existing interfaith couples into the congregation. It’s a lot easier (and has been for at least a decade) to get gay married by a Reform rabbi than interfaith married.

  14. The Nation-State law passed by the Israeli Knesset last year declared that Israel is the state in which the Jewish people “exercise national self-determination,” so it would appear that the Knesset views the Jewish people as a nation, so that discrimination against ethnic Jews would be discrimination on the basis of national origin. Not that the Knesset binds U.S. courts, but its declaration might constitute at least persuasive authority.

  15. The ADL is very misguided on this. The standard should be if the person doing the discriminating thinks you are a member of a race and discriminates you on that basis. It doesn’t matter that “Hispanic” isn’t a “race,” anymore than “Jewish” is. If someone discriminates against either group because he thinks they are a racial group, that’s race discrimination, and it’s silly to think that this is somehow propping up stereotypes about Jews.

    1. Doesn’t the law generally disfavor purely subjective tests?

      1. That’s part of why hate crime laws are such bad policy?

      2. Not always. Consider another employment discrimination statute, the ADA. You are in a protected class if (a) you are disabled (objective) or (b) you are regarded by the employer as disabled (subjective).

    2. I’m not sure why we are dealing in these nebulous, ill-defined terms to begin with.

      Suppose you outlaw discrimination based on ancestry. Here, Bonadona is being discriminated against because his mother is Jewish. In no other way does he, apparently, fail to meet LC’s requirements.

      Note that it wouldn’t matter if she was devout, or non-observant, or anything else. She was Jewish for purposes of LC, which makes LC’s decision tref.

  16. The court’s mistake, I think, was in equating “nation” with “nation state.” A nation state is a polity that is considered the homeland of one or more groups comprising a nation. A nation should be thought of pretty much the same as an ethnic group. By the court’s reasoning, stateless ethnicities like Kurds, Roma, and at various times Poles and Armenians, aren’t nations, but would only be a nation if some polity (like Israel or Poland) gave them “cover.” It’s like the old saw about the difference between a language and a dialect: a language is a dialect with an army and navy. And the statutory term “national origin” seems like an invitation to take a broader, rather than narrower, view of what constitutes a nation.

    1. You can just divide ethnic groups ever smaller anyway; your suggestion doesn’t really fix anything. If we equate nations and ethnic groups, suddenly official discrimination against North Koreans feels less justifiable.

      Latin America just becomes confusing. Sure, almost everybody’s Hispanic, but how does native identity come into that? Are you both Hispanic and Maya/Nahua/Zapoteco, does one dominate, or is it even more qualified?

  17. The Constitution prohibits corruption of blood by the federal government. The Congress could have, but did not, write a similar prohibition into the statute books.

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