Paul R. Lehman, Arizona Rep. Stringer’s comments on (im) migration show a lack of understanding of democracy

June 21, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American history, American Indian, American Racism, Bigotry in America, black inferiority, blacks, desegregation, discrimination, education, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, European Americans, immigration, Pilgrims, Prejudice, Puritans, race, respect, skin color, social conditioning, The Associated Press, tolerance, white supremacy, whites | 2 Comments
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When the Puritans came to America in 1630, they came with the idea that God had given this land to them based on the Mayflower Compact that John Winthrop drew-up while on board the Arbela during a storm. The Compact was not preplanned but was deemed a necessary safeguard against death and destruction. Winthrop stated that “Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.” So, the possibility of being shipwrecked prompted the compact which stated these requirements: “For we must consider that we shall be a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”(John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity”)

The “we” of which Winthrop spoke was not a diverse ethnic group, but Anglo-Saxons who believed that God gave America to them. The idea of America being the country of Anglo-Saxons and later European Americans (whites) continued throughout America’s history. The discriminatory treatment of the African Americans has been a never-ending story. Some Americans came to the belief that the European American was the God-ordained superior human being on the planet and would eventually rule the world. The idea of the superiority was based on the belief of a race by skin color with the Anglo-Saxon (white) being the highest order of mankind. All the laws and practices supported that concept of Anglo-Saxon or Nordic supremacy. The challenge for the Anglo-Saxons in America was knowing how to control the population so as to keep the race as pure as possible.

In the late 1800 and early 1900’s, a fear among many Nordic (white) Americans were the expansion of power by people of color over them. One concerned European American, Lothrop Stoddard, stated in 1920 the fear that wars between white countries would provide an opportunity for people of color to take over power in those countries. He added: “However, such colored triumphs of arms are less to be dreaded than more enduring conquest like migrations which would swamp whole populations and turn countries now white into colored man’s lands irretrievably lost to the white world.”He saw migration as the destruction of whites.

Echoing the same fear of migration of people of color as the enemy of the Nordic people, Madison Grant stated that “Democratic ideals among an homogenous population of Nordic blood, as in England or America, is one thing, but it is quite another for the white man to share his blood with, or intrust his ideals to, brown, yellow, black, or red men.” In effect, measures must be taken to control the population of immigrants in order to protect the Anglo-Saxon or Nordic racial superiority. Grant was a lawyer, writer and more importantly, a eugenicist. He was responsible for one of the most important works of scientific racism and along with Stoddard played a significant part in promoting anti-immigration and anti-miscegenation legislation in America.

The results of Stoddard and Grant’s efforts were the Immigration Act of 1924 or Johnson-Reed Act. This was a federal law that effectively excluded Asians from immigrating to America. In addition, it established quotas on the number of immigrants coming from specific countries and included money to make certain the ban on non-white immigrants was firmly in place. Because of the fear of race contamination, the law focused on “decreasing immigration of Southern Europeans, countries with Roman Catholic majorities, Eastern Europeans, Arabs, and Jews. The law affirmed the longstanding ban on the immigration of other non-white persons, with the exception of black African immigrants.”The immigrants from these countries except for Africa, were later to be called Caucasians, not white.

The point for providing this historical background on a small portion of America’s immigration actions involves a news report in The Associated Press (2/1/2018) regarding Rep. David Stringer, a Republican from Prescott, Arizona.  Stringer was reported to have made a number of statements that mirror the attitude on immigration discussed earlier. Following are a few of his comments: “Sixty percent of public school children in the state of Arizona today are minorities. That complicates racial integration because there aren’t enough white kids to go around.” He also stated that “immigration is politically destabilizing” and “immigration today represents an existential threat to the United States.”

He issued a note of warning when he said that “If we don’t do something about immigration very, very soon, the demographics of our country will be irrevocably changed and we will be a very different country and we will not be the country you were born into.”

In summing up his fears  Stringer stated that “I maybe touched a third rail of politics but what I said is accurate. Anybody that talks about this in this way is shut down and called a racist. I’m speaking the truth.” He added: “Diversity may be a great thing, there might be a lot of advantages, I’m not arguing against diversity at all, but no country can be demographically transformed without any political or social consequences.” His statement is definitely true, and what is also true is that America is changing demographically.

Many Americans love to say that we have come a long way in accepting our diversity and addressing our socially constructed biases, but after reading Stringer’s comments we must confess that some of us still have not taken that first step towards accepting democracy and  America as a country indivisible with liberty and justice for all.


Paul R. Lehman, What is the value of a white identity today?

September 1, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Posted in African American, American Racism, blacks, democracy, discrimination, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, identity, immigration, liberty, life, Prejudice, Race in America, U. S. Census, whites | 1 Comment
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Ask some European Americans their race and they will generally answer white or Caucasian. Ask them if they know that the entire concept of multiple human races like black and white, brown and red, is simply a creation of society. The response will vary depending on the quantity and quality of information the responders possess. The concept continues to undergo its changing nature because as a social construct, a concrete definition is not possible except as the term relates to science. Let us look at the term white as it connotes to a so-called racial identity.
Many people believe that a so-called white identity is constant, consistent, and uniform with respect to its application. The word white is generally considered an adjective and used to modify a noun. So, for example, when someone identifies his race as white, he actually means white race. Without the noun race, white would simply be an adjective referring to a color that is used to masquerade as a noun. When the word white is used to denote a so-called race, its use also underscores the acceptance of the concept of multiple races, a concept we know is false. Nevertheless, many people believe the concept to be true and in the past have written many volumes to try and validate their opinions.
Many European Americans do not think of themselves as belonging to a particular race, just the human race. They often view people who do not look like them as belonging to a race different from theirs. European Americans have been led to believe that they are the model used for the creation of human beings, so people other than them belong to a race. Today, Americans hear the term “race card” being used and usually think of African Americans trying to gain an unfair advantage by using that term. In reality, European Americans play their “race card” every day. America was supposedly created as a democracy where all people, regardless of their differences could experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We know from our history that that experience was denied to many people, especially people of color. We also know that being white was not an identity that fit all people who looked white, but being white provided power and privilege from the very beginning.
When someone identifies himself as white, one might ask the question: with what white race Nordic, Mediterranean or Alpine? These are three races of whites that some scholars and intellectuals such as Theodore Lothrop Stoddard created to explain the differences among the white races. Although the subject is not generally discussed today, the concept of a white race was not fixed on one homogeneous group of people who all looked alike. Prejudice existed and was exhibited by those European Americans who identified their ancestry as Anglo –Saxon, and thought their Nordic race superior to all others. According to Thomas A. Guglielmo, author of White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945, new immigrants would create a problem because they were not of a superior breed: “IQ tests that the U.S. army administered to soldiers during World War I, as well as other intelligence studies, reached the same conclusion: Nordics, or ‘old’ Americans, were vastly superior in intellectual endowment to all other race.”
Who were these immigrants and why were they considered inferior to the Nordics? We are told that “These European races were condemned for their putative degeneracy, mongrelized nature, and general physical, moral, and mental inadequacies.”Never the less, they were labeled as “free whites” for purposes of immigration in 1790. These free whites were Celts, Slavs, Hebrews, Iberics, Latins to names a few and were later joined by the Anglo-Saxons and became known as white/Caucasians. (Caucasians is a term created shortly before the 1800, and used to identify people of Iranian decent). Still the stigma of superiority and inferiority continued among the so-called white races. Guglielmo informs us that “The term ‘Caucasian race’ has ceased to have any meaning except where it is used, in the United States, to contrast white populations with Negroes or Indians or in the Old World with Mongols.”In other words, the term lacks any specificity regarding race or racial value.
He further states that “It is, however, a convenient term to include the three European subspecies [Nordic, Alpine, and Mediterranean] when considered as divisions of one of the primary branches or species of mankind.” The only reason to use any of these branches would be to discriminate one against another. In effect, race is not based on color, but also includes geography, culture, scores on IQ exams, and a number of other considerations.
We know that today in America certain groups of European Americans are not treated with the same level of respect some other groups receive. For example, some European Americans are called “Trailer Park Trash,” or simply “Poor White Trash.” Other names like “Red Neck,” “Cracker,” or “Peckerwood” are not the inventions of other ethnic groups, but were created by European Americans to describe and distance themselves from people who looked like them, but were not accepted as equals.
We have mentioned a number of times the problems created by the Census Bureau regarding the use of the terms race, black and white without the benefit of definitions. The results of the 2010 census revealed an increase in the white population because people of various ethnicities were given the option of identifying themselves according to their ethnic group or just picking white. Many selected white which in turn created confusion for the Census Bureau. We can recognize the growing uselessness of the terms black and white as far as a so-called racial identity is concerned, but at the same time, we can witness the efforts of many Americans to disrupt any movement to encourage this change.
The changes relative to diversity in American society today are inevitable because of our growing population of people of color. The value of placing a color before the word race is rapidly diminishing because the emphasis on the values of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all Americans are taking precedence over ethnic identies

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