The Corner

Identity Is Destiny

In a former job, I used to write historical articles, and sometimes I would research them using microfilm of old newspapers. So I would be looking through, say, the Atlanta Constitution from 1916, and would read something like: “Mr. Thomas Walker, negro, was hit by a streetcar last night . . . ” Or: “Speaking in support of the proposed ordinance was Rev. William Jenkins, negro, who said . . . ” Regardless of what the story was about, they had to let everyone know who was “negro” and who was white. That’s how things were in the South a century ago.

This morning’s print edition of the New York Times went those old Southern newspapers one better with this headline: “Trump Takes a Female, Hispanic Governor to Task.” I read that and thought: Does this woman have a name? At least the old Southern papers gave you that. And does she govern any particular state? I’m sure New Mexico’s Susana Martinez doesn’t appreciate Trump’s potshots, but I doubt she enjoys being Governor Female Hispanic either.

There’s a word for people who look at somebody and don’t see a person, but only a race and gender. That word used to be “racist”; now it’s “progressive.”


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