Harold McDougall at “Multiracial Identities & The 2000 Census” panel
By A.D. Powell
I encourage IV readers to view Harold McDougall’s performance at the “Multiracial Identities & The 2000 Census” panel on C-Span (5/30/98, ID# 106489, 1-800-277-2698, $29.95 plus $7 shipping).
It is my strong OPINION that Harold McDougall is a sneaking, lying s.o.b. He is obviously a “hired gun” retained by the NAACP to assassinate the Multiracial Identity movement.
1) Harold states that a “multiracial identity” will not end “racism,” therefore there should be no recognition of multiracial identity. Apply that to other identities. Latino rights, gay rights, women’s rights, etc. will not end “racism” (which is being continually redefined so that things we used to consider flaming liberal are now being denounced as “racist” and “right-wing”), but would Harold and his NAACP confederates dare to say that those other movements should disband or put their needs aside until “blacks” have achieved “paradise” (by the NAACP’s definition of the term)?
2) Harold says that interracial marriages will do nothing to “end racism” because married people still argue and therefore social problems will remain. This is similar to argument #1, in that the movement must achieve some vaguely defined version of paradise or be labelled a failure or irrelevant (a condition the NAACP would not dare to impose on any other movement). This is also similar to the frequent argument that racial intermixture has been “tried” and “failed” because antebellum concubinage, Latin American intermixture, the South African “colored” caste, etc. failed to achieve racial “paradise.” The dishonesty here falls into two parts:
a) A society in which racism has been officially repudiated and (most) racial discrimination outlawed (the current U.S.) will supposedly become like societies in which racism was never repudiated and racial discrimination was legal and mandatory simply because multiracial ancestry is officially recognized. This is impossible. The NAACP and its allies are implying that racial mixture was the cause of racial discrimination – a ridiculous contention that cannot be supported.
b) McDougall and his ilk deliberately fail to distinguish between interracial marriages in a society of legal equality with concubinage and casual encounters in societies where racial hierarchies were legally mandated. Interracial marriage does not “end” but does DECREASE racism because family relationships are openly acknowledged and legally recognized. Interracial mixture in societies where interracial marriages were outlawed were burdened with legal restrictions that encouraged the denial of family relationships precisely because elites feared that marriages would break down the racial hierarchy.
3) Harold and his allies constantly emphasized the importance of “looks” and the opinions of people with whom one has casual encounters (such as cab drivers). Of course, if Tiger Woods is “black,” because he “looks black,” then Mariah Carey is definitely “white” because she “looks white.” Of course, the NAACP doesn’t want to say the latter. The truth is that Latinos, Indians (both American and from India), darker Europeans, etc. are constantly mistaken for the people the NAACP wants to claim as “black” (just as Anglo multiracials are constantly relating how they are “mistaken” for Hispanic). Most “racial” identifications of people who are not very “white” or very “black” depend upon a variety of social clues. If a guy who looks like Tiger Woods is seen hanging around the Chicano Studies office, most people will assume he is Chicano. If he is hanging around the South Asian Studies office, then he must be of Indian or Pakistani origin. If the Pakistani kid is seen at the mall, most people will assume he is Hispanic. When the Indian customer hands his credit card or check to the clerk and she sees an Indian name, she knows that she was mistaken and Mr. Singh is not Mexican or whatever identity she had casually assigned to him. The NAACP would never have the nerve to say that Latinos or South Asians should change their identities because some clerks or cab drivers think they are “black” because of their dark skin.
4) If the multiracial identity applied only to multiracials who are NOT partially “black,” you can bet the rent that the NAACP would have no objection to it.
5) If no one had expressed concern about the biracial baby of that Danish actress being left in a stroller outside the restaurant in New York City, and something had happened to the child because no one called the authorities, you can be sure that Harold McDougall would be denouncing the “racism” of people who did not intervene to protect a helpless biracial infant. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. McDougall and his ilk are afraid that there isn’t enough racism to put “uppity” multiracials in the place the NAACP has assigned to them. That’s why he’s grabbing at straws and repeating this Danish woman’s story over and over.