by: Warren Blumenfeld on January 19th, 2016 | 4 Comments »
South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley criticized Donald Trump’s contentious immigration policies of restricting Mexicans and Muslims from entering the United States. In front of a group of reporters, however, Haley showed her extreme ignorance of U.S. history:
“When you’ve got immigrants who are coming here legally, we’ve never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion. Let’s not start that now.”
As the governor of a large Southern state, and a possible Vice Presidential pick by a number of current Republican candidates for the presidency, I have very serious doubts regarding her academic background to lead. Unfortunately, Trump’s perverse proposals fit “right” in with the racist immigration history of the United States. So in the service of education, I offer Nikki Haley the following tutorial focusing on issues of “race” in our immigration and naturalization policies.
Looking back on the historical emergence of the concept of “race,” critical race theorists remind us that this concept arose concurrently with the advent of European exploration as a justification for conquest and domination of the globe beginning in the 15th century of the Common Era (CE) and reaching its apex in the early 20th century CE.
Geneticists tell us that there is often more variability within a given so-called “race” than between “races,” and that there are no essential genetic markers linked specifically to “race.” They assert, therefore, that “race” is an historical, “scientific,” biological myth, an idea, and that any socially-conceived physical “racial” markers are fictional and are not concordant with what is beyond or below the surface of the body.
Though biologists and social scientists have proven unequivocally that the concept of “race” is socially constructed (produced, manufactured), however, this does not negate the very real consequences people face living in societies that maintain racist policies and practices on the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and larger societal levels.