York Times <email@example.com>
We are all still suffering from the trauma of Nazi Germany’s insane
and criminal use of race to classify people (with Germans as the supposed master
race and others at various levels of inferiority), so that now we are terrified
of attributing to race any significance at all, and are threatened with being
damned as a racist if we do.
As understandable and, in its intention, praiseworthy, as this attitude
is, it unrealistic and dangerous. As members of the “human family” we each
have closer and more distant relatives, who generally can be discerned at a
glance from their racial characteristics. Experience teaches us that when we get
to know someone personally, race ceases to play an important role, but prior to
that it does. The more someone physically resembles ourselves and members of our
immediate family the more we initially identify with them. It also makes
biological sense to be attracted by manifestations of our own genes.
Viewed objectively, I know that my family is no better than other
families, but it is MY family, the one that I belong to and identify with; to me
personally, subjectively, it is the best and most important family in the world.
I have very similar feelings (at least until I get to know someone personally)
in respect to race and culture.
It is a mistake to apply New World standards to the Old World, as your articles and reports on immigration and race relations invariably do. Apart from a tiny proportion of native Americans, yours is a nation of immigrants! America’s dominant people and culture are European immigrants. Whether, white, black, brown or yellow, the vast majority of Americans are immigrants.
The same applies to a greater or lesser extent to the whole American
continent, as well as to Australia and New Zealand. But it does not apply to
most of the rest of the world, which has long-standing, dominant, indigenous
populations with their own histories and cultures.
A “black” or “Asian” European has a very different status to a
“black” or “Asian” American, just as a whites in Asia or sub-Saharan
Africa have a different status to the indigenous peoples there.
True, there is no such thing as racial purity. Europeans are a racially
mixed bunch, as are the Chinese. However, until very recently this mixing was of
closely related peoples (Celts and Germans, for example), so that within one or
two generations the distinctions disappeared. The situation is radically
different now, with immigrants of very different racial and cultural background
coming from other, distant continents. To expect them to merge with and become
indistinguishable from the indigenous population is absurd. They remain clearly
recognisable, racially if not culturally, as immigrants, or as the children of
In America it is not a problem, because you are all immigrants.
Elsewhere, in Europe for example, particularly when it is on such a large scale,
it is a problem, one that urgently needs to be faced up to, instead of being
denied in the mistaken belief of combating racism.