Pondering Patterson [I]: Defining Away Demography

Pondering Patterson Series [I ], [ II ], [ III], [ IV ], [V] [VI]

VDARE note: we thought this was going to be the first of six articles,
but Steve is still working on his conclusion.

recent weeks, reporting and commentary that misinterpret
early census results have been persistently misinforming
the nation about its ethnic and racial composition. The
misinformation is dangerous, since it fuels fears of
decline and displacement among some whites, anxieties
that are not only divisive but groundless. … These
articles and too many others have failed to take account
of the fact that nearly half of the Hispanic population
is white in every social sense of this term; 48 percent
of so-called Hispanics classified themselves as solely
white, giving only one race to the census taker. …
Even with the most liberal of assumptions, there is no
possibility that whites will become a minority in this
nation in this century. The most recent census
projections indicate that whites will constitute 74.8
percent of the total population in 2050, and that
non-Hispanic whites will still be 52.8 percent of the


by the Numbers

The New York Times, May 8, 2001

Patterson, a Jamaican-born Harvard professor of
sociology, has been getting a lot of mileage lately out
of the claim that whites are so
going to remain the majority in the U.S. – because
Hispanics are really white!

Patterson often has interesting things to say, this
assertion is obviously wrong on a factual level. No
doubt the majority of the Hispanics that Patterson runs
into at the Harvard Faculty Club are of pure Spanish
descent. Perhaps Patterson vacations in Miami, where
Castro exiled Cuba`s wealthy whites. But to take this
48% number seriously, you have to be as oblivious to
Latin American racial patterns and attitudes as our
Census Bureau is.

is peddling the dubious Census numbers because, as with
many politically centrist blacks, he is offended by
Hispanics horning in on affirmative action:

The other influence
on perceptions of who is “white” originates
among the so-called Hispanics. For political and
economic reasons, including the benefits of affirmative
action programs, the leadership of many Hispanic groups
pursues a liberal, coalition-based agenda with
African-Americans and presses hard for a separate,
unified Latino classification. This strategy is highly
influential even though nearly half of Hispanics
consider themselves white. For African-Americans, the
nation`s major disadvantaged minority, these tendencies
are problematic, although African-American leaders are
too shortsighted to notice. Latino coalition strategies,
by vastly increasing the number of people entitled to
affirmative action, have been a major factor in the loss
of political support for it.

I`m sympathetic to his general argument. The Nixon Administration`s 1973
creation of a large “Hispanic” pressure group
out of disparate nationalities such as Mexican, Puerto
Rican, and Cuban is turning out to be one of the subtle
disasters in American history.

Patterson`s reading of the political dynamics, however, is cockeyed. Few
opponents of racial quotas have even noticed that
Hispanics are eligible for preferences.

Consider this: It`s bizarre that legal immigrants who choose America –
presumably warts and all – are often legally preferred
for jobs and college admissions over native born
Americans who were born into a country they didn`t
choose. And it`s absolutely ludicrous that employers can
use illegal aliens to meet the racial quotas they must
fill to avoid being sued by the EEOC for not employing
enough Hispanics. Yet, how often have you ever heard
anyone complain about that? No, almost all the moral
arguments about affirmative action, pro and con, revolve
around African Americans.

On the other hand, the supposedly unstoppable rising tide of Hispanics
plays a huge role in politicians` calculation over
whether to oppose quotas. Standing athwart the path of
history, yelling “Stop!” is not part of the
job description of the modern Republican office holder.
The voters of both California and the state of
Washington, two quite liberal states, recently outlawed
quotas, but you haven`t seen many Republican politicians
jumping on the anti-quota bandwagon lately, now have

The Republican Establishment (Motto: “Who you gonna believe? Us or
your lying eyes?”) constantly talks about how
socially conservative Hispanics really are once you get
to know them. Yet, it acts as if Hispanics are utterly
allergic to much of the traditional conservative social
agenda, such as opposition to quotas.

NEXT: OK, How White Are Hispanics?

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

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May 22,