America’s ‘Unamerican’ Ethnic Neurosis (El Diario Exterior, Spain)
Why is it that people in the United States, the land where ‘all men are created equal,’ the land where ‘constitutional patriotism’ was born, have been pulling their hair out over an issue that appears nowhere in the Constitution or the Federalist Papers? For Spain’s Diario Exterior, columnist Carlos Alberto Montaner examines one of the most vexing issues in the U.S. today, and why America’s ‘ethnic neurosis’ is destined to dissipate if people simply wait.
The New York Times front page has announced that in the previous year, more than half the children born in the United States (50.4%) were non-White. Of that percentage, 26 percent were Hispanic (mostly Mexican), 15 percent were Black and 4 percent were Asian.
Why was it on the front page? Pure ethnic neurosis. Fear of the other. The same thing happened a few years ago when Samuel Huntington caused such a stir with the publication of his The Hispanic Challenge. This type of information causes a certain anxiety among “Whites.” They think they are losing control over and the direction of America. They fear becoming a minority.
The first bit of nonsense is classification. Hispanics are defined by the language they speak, or by what language they are supposed to speak, regardless of skin color. A Chilean of Basque origin or a Cachiquel Guatemalan are Hispanics, even if the language of the latter isn’t Spanish. Blacks, evidently, are classified by race. Asians, by geography, be they Chinese or Indian.
I have no idea, for example, if an Israeli-American of Sephardic origin is Asian, White or Hispanic. Nor do I know if that brilliant engineer called Rafael Reif, a Venezuelan son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who was recently named President of MIT, is Hispanic, White, or if by chance the census allows it, simply Maracucho. [Maracucho is the Zulian dialect in northwest Venezuela].
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