Race Remixed? — Probationary Whites and a Racism Reality Check

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-21 18:40Z by Steven

Race Remixed? — Probationary Whites and a Racism Reality Check

Living Anthropologically: Anthropology – Understanding – Possibility
2011-30-28 (Updated July 2013)

Jason Antrosio, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York

This is an update to the original article, “Race Remixed?” from March 28, 2011.

Update July 2013: In the wake of Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman verdict, revisited this Race Remixed post from March 2011, one of my very first blog posts. Strangely, many people seem unaware that since at least the 1980 US Census there is a mandatory yes/no question on Hispanic origin as well as a separate and mandatory question about race. But if you want to get really depressed about how dumb and confused people are about racial assignments–and apparently have not read their own Census forms for 30 years or so–just do a little Twitter search on “White Hispanic…” My thanks to Chris Escalante for the tweet update and his Twitter campaign–over 26 million people identify on the US Census as White Hispanic.

Take a look at the 2010 US Census form (the Hispanic yes/no and separate race check-boxes are unchanged from 2000). And yes, while President Obama could have checked both white and black–this has been allowed since 2000–he chose to remain within the traditional U.S. framework of hypodescent. While such categories affirm that both race and ethnicity are social constructions, mocking and misunderstanding the social construction of race is still a huge boon for conservative politics.

The original post questioned the New York Times Race Remixed series, challenging the popular notions that race is becoming more fluid. I specifically looked at the Hispanic-White and Hispanic-Black census categories and a possibly bifurcating white/black identity within those labeled Hispanic. Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s notion of “probationary whites” (2003:151) anticipates recent commentary like Is George Zimmerman white or Hispanic? That depends–”The genius of white supremacy is in its elasticity: It can expand to include the not-quite-right, the off-whites, when necessary, and then otherize and eject us when convenient.”…

Read the entire article here.

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