When did you become white?
The news that the birth of “white” babies has fallen below 50 percent has created quite a media stir. Watching the Newshour last night I kept wondering if Ray Suarez, he of Puerto Rican descent, thought he was white or not white? A completely muddled discussion went on about how the U.S. was going to respond to this new factoid.
A little study of American immigrant history demonstrates that many of our immigrant forebears only became white as time passed: Irish, Italians, Jews, and Poles were not white when they landed on these shores. In fact, the Irish were often regarded as sub-human and portrayed with simian features (See cartoons by Thomas Nast).
Juan Cole gives a brief history of being and becoming white. Read it Ray!
UPDATE: Apologies: Margaret Warner did that segment according to the video. Sure looked like Ray Suarez on my TV…..