After reading my last few posts, a skeptic might claim that I'm naive about race. I'm advocating that Americans of all colors put their Americanness first and their racial loyalty last. I've also argued that there is some truth to the idea that race is socially constructed.
Let's begin with the idea of socially constructed race. You haven't been reading this blog if you think I deny the biological reality of race. What I deny is that it must be at the center of how you define yourself. The phrase "You are born with your uniform on" is poetic, but misleading.
My brown eyes are a biological reality. Must I then define myself as a Brown and organize with the rest of the dark-eyed world against the Blue and the Green? Handedness is a biological reality. Should I march with my fellow left-handed brothers against our right-handed Oppressors? (I should contact our sinistral President. I hear he's got experience as an organizer). Baldness is basically genetic. Should Larry David and I form an army and drive the Hairy-Headed into the sea?
I certainly don't believe we should pretend that race doesn't exist and doesn't explain anything--much of this blog marshals evidence against that--but I'm not sure it has to be at the center of who you are.
Irishness was important when the Irish first arrived. Now, not so much. Polishness was important when they were new. Now, not really. For most now, we're just white folks.
You might respond that ethnicity is flexible, but not race. Blacks and American Indians have been here for centuries, but race is still central to who they are. Well, for a long time it was unrealistic for a black man to minimize his blackness. When you are made a slave because of it, it's important whether you want it to be or not.
Liberals like to pretend the circumstances really haven't changed much, but they are responsible for much of the race-clinging, and the truth is that the importance of race for a black person is now a choice. You probably know blacks who are culturally pretty much like whites. I do, and I don't see why more blacks can't move in that direction. In prior posts, I could find no predictors of voting Republican among blacks, so it's not simply a function of something like IQ or social class.
The move to American first-hood should be easier for Hispanics and especially Asians. The problem is that the country doesn't shame them for their backward particularism. In fact, it encourages them. People need to be challenged: Are you a tribalist, or are you an American?
Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying we can make the correlates of race disappear. A person can't choose, for example, to have an IQ of 115 just because he wants one. I'm talking about how you define yourself. You can choose to be an American first.