random ass rant about kim kardashian and her ethnicity part 2
In the popular and judicial imagination, race is an immutable trait and biologically fixed at birth. In 2004, for example, Supreme Court Justice Stevens referred to “the fact that race is an immutable characteristic.” Indeed, our modern constitutional jurisprudence rests on the ubiquitous assumption that laws targeting race, because of (among other things) its immutability, must receive the most exacting scrutiny under an equal protection analysis. But reality betrays this immutability narrative. Indeed, history has shown that race is very much a mutable thing.
Consider the very idea of a “white” race. It is a malleable concept whose meaning has changed dramatically since just the founding of the Republic. For those bent on originalism, one need look no further than the Framers for surprising proof of the supple definition of whiteness. To Benjamin Franklin, white racial identity belonged chiefly to individuals of English descent. As he once wrote, the Angles and Saxons alone made “the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth.” He therefore had no compunction about challenging the whiteness of even the Swedes, whom he viewed—along with the Germans, French, Italians, Spaniards, and Russians—as “generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion.”
Franklin’s unusual musings about the swarthy Swedes are not as anomalous as they may first appear. American history is rife with examples of the shifting meaning of whiteness. In the 1800s, the Irish faced a century-long battle against persistent discrimination before finally achieving “acceptance” as white. In the early part of the twentieth century, Italians, Greeks, Slavs, and other groups were viewed as nonwhite. Race riots at the turn of the century in Nebraska pitted whites against Greeks. In parts of the segregated South, Italian children were often banned from whites-only schools. And seemingly tolerant outposts such as Southern California were far from immune. For example, segregation of public facilities in San Bernardino extended as recently as the 1940s to individuals of Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish descent—a fact recounted in Westminster v. Mendez, the famous lawsuit that ended segregation in California just a few short years before Brown v. Board of Education.
Thus, by the historical standards that prized Anglo-Saxon stock, as an individual of Armenian descent, Kardashian was decidedly not white. But, then again, consider this: neither are most of you.
and this is where i give up this entire thing
A Former User last edited by