Being white or American is not important to whites: The General Social Survey asked Americans in 2004 to choose from a list the three identities that were most important to them. Here are the percentages who said yes to a particular identity broken out in terms of race:
Social class 18.8
Social class 17.8
Social class 10.8
For all groups, family is cited most often, but beyond that we see different rankings. Many whites and Hispanics identify with their occupations and also the place where they live. Religion is most important to blacks, and least important to Hispanics.
The most striking contrast is race. It ranks second among blacks and fourth among Hispanics, but is at the very bottom of the white list. Blacks and even Hispanics are more than four times more likely than whites to feel that race is important to who they are.
So if race is unimportant to whites, where do they exceed these other groups? An American identity perhaps? These data give no indication of that: blacks have a slighly higher number on the nationality identity. (Nationality is not the best term: people use it to refer to ethnicity as well as citizenship). Whites have slightly higher percentages on occupation, age, social class, and political party (numbers not shown since they are so low).
I'm reminded of the debate between Steve Sailer and Jared Taylor over whether whites should pursue a nationalist or citizenist course. According to these data, neither race nor an American identity seems important to whites. Evidently, some whites can be moved by appeals to gender, age, and social class, but the only popular identity for whites that a society could be organized around is religion, and the tradition of separation of church and state and the fact that American religious groups disagree so much work against religion as an organizing principle .
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