I pledge allegiance, to my skin color

In 5th grade Social Studies class, I learned that America was a “melting pot” and was told that this helped make us great. People of all different backgrounds, nationalities, and races came together into one country. E Pluribus Unum. Once you got to the United States, all that mattered was that you were free, and we were all equal before the law. No more:

Latinos Must Sign Ethnic Affidavit To Qualify For New York City Business Program

That creepy title from the Huffington Post should be enough. Unfortunately the story continues with a faint awareness that something about all this is uncouth, yet treats the following questions as legitimate for a government to ask:

Do Brazilians count? What about Spaniards?

Defining exactly who is “Hispanic” and who is not, when the label should be applied and when it should not, is a matter on which academics, Census-takers, and even those who identify themselves as part of the ethnic group, sometimes disagree.

Those debates have intensified as cities, corporations, and universities expand, contract, and otherwise change diversity and affirmative action programs. In New York, Latino entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of a city program designed to give businesses owned by women and minorities access to information and guidance, must first swear that they are Hispanic, in the way that the city defines it.

Sad examples throughout history immediately come to mind: 

“Show me your papers.”

The one drop rule.

“I have a dream”? Not so much.

But of course this is the logical end of a mindset that stipulates legal treatment based on where your parents were born.

Before Latino applicants can qualify they must sign an affidavit confirming their ethnic identity.

Swear that you belong to the supposed group of inferiors, the permanent victim class in need of a condescending helping hand, and only then can you receive the state’s beneficence. Identification as a US citizen is no longer a prerequisite for voting, but Big Government’s warm embrace only comes after ritually swearing that you define yourself in accordance with its racialist worldview.

Celines De Leon-Veras, the owner of a cleaning business based in Washington Heights, says she doesn’t understand why Latinos need to fill out extra paperwork which black and Asian applicants to the same program do not have to fill out.

“It’s ridiculous that I needed an additional document to prove that I am eligible for the program as a Hispanic,” Leon-Veras, whose parents were born in the Dominican Republic, told The New York World.

Is it though? The pathetic case of Elizabeth Warren shows that even smug liberals can’t be trusted to play by the rules they created, and will cynically exploit them to further their own careers. If preferences are going to be handed out based on race or ethnicity, then how else  does Ms. Leon-Veras propose the system be kept honest?

Greg Bishop, Assistant Commissioner in the city’s department of Small Business Services told The New York World that “the term ‘Hispanic’ had been defined in a way that applicants whose parents originated from Spain or any other Spanish-speaking European country are not considered disadvantaged, and are thus ineligible for the program.”

But some disagree with the city’s categorization. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Hispanic” as “of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the U.S.; especially one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin” or “of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain and Portugal.”

…The question of how one defines Hispanic became a point of contention when George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watchman who shot and killed black teenager Trayvon Martin was described as a “white Hispanic” by news outlets including The New York Times, Reuters, and The Huffington Post… Political pundit Bernard Goldberg called the use of the term white Hispanic, “a parody of liberal media.”…Goldberg’s outrage may however stem from confusion surrounding the term Hispanic.

Goldberg’s outrage stems not from confusion but from a healthy moral disgust at the racialist mindset of progressives that prejudges and categorizes people first by the color of their skin. Goldberg also surely sees the absurdity of consulting the Merriam-Webster dictionary before determining how to view individual people and incidents, as if ethnicity is the key determinant when investigating a homicide. This same absurdity leads the Huffington Post to look askance at a “self-appointed” protector of the neighborhood, but take seriously multiple “self-appointed” definers of race.

Ruben Rumbaut, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Irvine, said in an interview with NPR last year that trying to define the terms such as Latino or Hispanic is increasingly difficult. Racial and ethnic categorization, he said, is “not a biological given.” Rather, he said, it’s “a social and legal and political construction whose meaning changes over time.”

Determining citizens’ rights based on government definitions of race and ethnicity that can change over time. What could possibly go wrong?

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