Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pat Buchanan's Nostalgia for the Segregation Era

Pigmentally-challenged-American Pat Buchanan, according to this story, criticizes terms such as 'African-American' on the grounds that they divide America. Now, you or I might note that there is no sense in which people are expressing allegiance to Africa. You might even think that 'African-American' is patriotic since it emphasizes one's American-ness, the identification with America, rather than simply a color. But what do I know? I'm just a multiply-subdivided Scotch-Irish-Welsh-English-Dutch-German-American. African-Americans are identified by that term not because they consider themselves less American than others but because the white (European-American) culture decided to dehumanize, enslave and otherwise mistreat them because it was convenient, and justified their action on the basis of an arbitrary set of characteristics including, among them, skin pigmentation. Put simply, African-Americans did not 'invent' race, white people did, and they did so to exclude African-Americans from various roles in society and even, in some cases, consideration as part of the human race. So, criticizing the patriotism of people for being known by a hyphenated name for a categorization that has historically functioned as part of a system of oppression is idiotic and insensitive. Disliked-By-Pat-Buchanan-Americans (or does that include too many of us?) should be known by a more accurate and less biased (given the negative associations with 'black') name.

Still, I have concluded that Pat is correct even if the hyphenated language is perfectly patriotic. We need a more concise, better system to refer to racial and ethnic groups. 'Black' and 'white' were so short and easy but inaccurate. It's hard to believe we have to continue referring to people with cumbersome, hyphenated appellations. Won't somebody think of the Twitter? 'African-American' is just too polysyllabic for Hitler-Apologist-American Pat Buchanan.

The limit on group identification ought to be one syllable, or at most two, if you know what I mean. Anyway, we should go back to the color-coded system, but we should insist on absolute accuracy. No more 'black' and 'white' only. Instead we should have 'pink,' 'brown,' 'orange,' and, who knows, 'magenta.'

But I'm fairly sure Pat Buchanan's color is 'puce'. Or am I spelling that wrong?