Similarly, the federal government’s “Asian” race was concocted in the early 1980s to allow Indian immigrant businessmen to get in on minority business development preferences that East Asians were exploiting. This odd racial construct could sensibly be deconstructed, with South Asians added back to the old Caucasian category. But there’s negligible liberal interest in doing this, since it makes political (although not genetic) sense for Democrats to lump Indians in with Chinese in eligibility for low interest SBA loans. Of course, these racial privileges don”t incline Indians to marry Chinese or do much else to create a genuine race rather than an arbitrary grouping.
The only way to keep these recent constructs together is to give them money and prizes for identifying with this governmental category, while slathering on the KKKrazy Glue of evil white men as the enemy.
Ironically, the notion that race is merely a social construct comes up most often in connection with blacks. It’s widely alleged by anti-Wadeites that a large fraction of individuals who claim to be black are mostly white, and vice-versa.
In reality, however, Americans were traditionally strikingly easy to sort into black and white races. Sure, the leadership of the NAACP tended to be from the quite white elite (other blacks called the NAACP the National Association for the Advancement of Certain People). But the great majority of people who self-identified as black have been at least half black by genealogy, as recent genome studies show.
That’s becoming less true as the legal and social barriers to interracial mating have sharply diminished. But among the middle-aged and older, the black race in America is genealogically distinct from the white race.
For example, Harvard black studies professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who hosts Finding Your Roots, a gene-testing series on PBS that reveals to celebrities their precise racial background (for example, Martha Stewart is all white), recently mentioned:
Spencer Wells, director of National Geographic’s Genographic Project, explained to me that the African Americans they”ve tested range from 53 percent to 95 percent sub-Saharan African, 3 percent to 46 percent European and zero percent to 3 percent Native American.
In other words, not a single African-American in the National Geographic sample is even as white as Barack Obama. (Also, note that Gates uses old-fashioned racial categories.)
And due to the one-drop rule, the white race has been extremely distinct from the black race. A recent study led by Joanna Mountain of Stanford using 23andMe genetic data estimated that only 3 to 4 percent of self-identified whites have even one black ancestor out of the 1,024 slots in their family tree ten generations ago.
“Passing“ for white turns out to have been quite rare, in part because of the reason pointed out by Philip Roth in his novel The Human Stain: race is ultimately about who your relatives are, and thus to successfully pass would mean to cut yourself off from your loved ones.
Overall, the average white American appears to be only about 0.05 percent black, or 1/2000th. This suggests that among the sub-Saharan African genes in white and black Americans (i.e., ignoring Hispanics and other groups), about 99.7 percent of all genes derived from sub-Saharan Africa are found in Americans who identify as black.
Daily updates with TM’s latest