Friday, February 24, 2012

Talking About "Race" in the New York Times

The New York Times has during Swedish week number 8 been filled with articles in which "race" is a central subject, partly because the Supreme Court is taking up a "race" case, partly because Republican and Tea Party wannabees are masters at "signifying" the "race" the like best, and now thanks to a Debate Forum. To see the Debate Forum you have to go to Opinion and then just type "Race" and ye shall find.

I post this preliminary note because one person has commented on my many Forum comments by filing the comment here. Unfortunately, he or she leaves no identification so I cannot reply. Therefore I have written a reply in what we otherwise can call my "Windmill" post.

This is simply to make clear to any NYT commenter who takes the time to visit Only-NeverInSweden that if you are interested in serious discussion then I beg you to send me an Email, even if you comment here. The person who left a comment below at the bottom of the "Windmill" post left a very interesting article via a URL but then makes a very dubious statement about "race."

I was at the Red Cross here in Linköping yesterday and can report with satisfaction that two Swedish young women who are seniors in high school were able to explain with great clarity that in Sweden people are never classified according to "race" and they could explain why. They were explaining to me and a group of young Afghani men, all relatively recent arrivals in Sweden.

I will be back but now to the Red Cross to meet several Somalis, none of whom see themselves as belonging to one of the USAs "races". I keep repeating this fact because the average American, even the most highly educated, seems really to have been brainwashed into believing that the most important element of your identity is your (mythical) race.

Why not follow the position shown in this image of a Vermont license plate photographed by me last summer (2011) en route to Mount Mansfield. Why let somebody else, the United States Government tell you that you are not free to choose your identity but rather you must pick one of those they will assign to you if you do not do it yourself.


  1. I like this comment very much. That is one reason I resist the notion of identifying myself by race on forms. These forms asking you to identify yourself according to the race options provided are becoming an accepted practice. I find that recently, the notice in fine print that you are not required to tick off race has been omitted.Does this mean that your application will be discounted if you fail to check a "race" box.

    1. Wow Claudia, thanks for the original Email and follow up and now this comment. I will ask to see the new form when I visit Rehoboth-Seekonk Medical Center (Massachusetts) in June.

      I have had several strong replies when I have at various times filed comments on checking the boxes. The repliers have stated "You do not have to check the box" but I wonder.