Take a look at the proposed U.S. Census question regarding race and ethnicity. The category for White is interesting. The nationalities listed as examples for White are historically rich. There was a time when Italians and Germans, among others, were not necessarily (or fully, genuinely) White and American; English nativism was widespread. So when and how did these nationalities/ethnicities become mainstream White? Will there ever be a time when the Census lists Chinese, Lebanese, or Ghanan as White? (The Lebanese were White at one point in U.S. history, but that’s a story for another day.) If that were to happen, then what social conditions would facilitate that? Would it even feel right if Whiteness expanded to include non-white persons? (Would non-white persons even want that?) This all begs the question: What exactly is White?
*Image of the proposed question for the 2020 Census is from a Pew Research Center report.
Originally posted on Tumblr.com, June 2015