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    Saturday Night Card Game (Nikki Haley is Veit like me)

    Saturday Night Card Game (Nikki Haley is Veit like me)

    This is the latest in a serieson the use of the race card for political gain:

    Democrats in South Carolina are angry (h/t Instapundit) that Gov. Nikki Haley checked the box “white” on a voter registration card a decade ago:

    The South Carolina Democratic Party tried Thursday to make Haley out as a liar for checking “white” as her race on her 2001 Lexington County voter registration application.

    But the application had no specific option for “Indian.” Her options were “white, black/African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or other.”

    … Dick Harpootlian, the Democratic Party chairman, said whether Haley listed her race as white or not doesn’t matter to him. The point is, he said, that the governor has a pattern of twisting the truth.

    According to the linked article, Haley may have been correct in checking the “white” box, or at least she was not obviously wrong:

    Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the State Election Commission, said he knows of no state election law or a definition by the agency for the term “white.”

    The commission doesn’t attempt to verify a person’s race, but that data is used by U.S. Department of Justice to enforce fair voting practices. Collecting the information is a requirement of state law, Whitmire said. If a person checks “other,” he or she is asked to specify.

    The Merriam Webster dictionary defines “Caucasian” as the “characteristic of a race of humankind native to Europe, North Africa, and southwest Asia and classified according to physical features — used especially in referring to persons of European descent having usually light skin pigmentation.”

    [Todd] Shaw, the USC professor, said a person from southern Asia, where India is located, may more often check the box Asian than white. The issue has been the subject of many studies.

    A writer at Mother Jones with an Indian-sounding name tries to use the 2001 voter form against Gov. Haley in light of a recent voter i.d. law passed in South Carolina:

    But even though she didn’t exactly commit voter fraud, her self-race-mis-classification seems to undermine her credibilty as someone who wants to prevent people from lying on their way to the voting booth.

    While Gov. Haley demonstrates the problem of whether any particular box fits, there also is the problem where multiple boxes could fit:

    The federal Department of Education would categorize Michelle López-Mullins — a university student who is of Peruvian, Chinese, Irish, Shawnee and Cherokee descent — as “Hispanic.” But the National Center for Health Statistics, the government agency that tracks data on births and deaths, would pronounce her “Asian” and “Hispanic.” And what does Ms. López-Mullins’s birth certificate from the State of Maryland say? It doesn’t mention her race.

    Ah, the box checking police have checked in.  Maybe it’s time they check out and stopped.  We have reached the point of absurdity, were the box checkers count things such as the racial make-up of first and third base coaches in baseball, and the race-card players count the numbers of non-whites at Sarah Palin events and Tea Party rallies.

    As I have posted before, Why don’t we just stop counting?:

    Why don’t we just stop counting?  What purpose does it serve anymore, other than to perpetuate racial divides and entitlements based on criteria which no longer have meaning.

    My neighbors are a mixed race couple one of whom was born here and is white, while the other immigrated here from South America.  Both are physicians.  Their children bear the Anglo-father’s last name, they spoke only English at home, speak English without an accent, went to private schools and elite northeastern colleges.  Their skin color is no darker than most of their schoolmates, and they do not even “look Hispanic.”

    Yet one day when one of those kids was applying to college a post card mistakenly was put in our mailbox from the multicultural recruitment office of an Ivy League university inviting the neighbor’s kid to visit a campus multicultural event.  I assume the child had checked the Hispanic box on the application.  Why does that child get recruited while mine do not?

    If if we are going to mandate racial counts, why not leave a blank space so people can self-describe, like my great grandmother did on her marriage license:


    Donations tax deductible
    to the full extent allowed by law.


    We adopted our daughter from India. Both the governments of India and the US desginated her caucasian.

    Milhouse | July 31, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Professor, I wonder whether your bobbe was having a bit of a joke at the expense of the system; could she have meant that she was “veit, veit fun vern gerechnt als a vaisse” (far, far from being considered a white)?

    Alan Kellogg: When I was growing up people from India were known as white. Where did you grow up? Where I grew up they were definitely not counted as white, though by the time I grew up there this no longer mattered. But a prominent conservative activist who’s originally from India once told me that until the law was changed (shortly after I was born), her (white) husband had to go in every year to apply for an extension on her visa.

    katiejane | July 31, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I wonder what block Obama checked. Since his mother was white if he check black he was half lying.

    Juba Doobai! | July 31, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Indians are Aryans. So, in their view, no matter how black they are, they consider themselves white.

    Juba Doobai! | July 31, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Then they come to America and discover, eh, no so fast.

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