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HORIST: Since when did South Americans, Arabs and Asians become “people of color?”

HORIST: Since when did South Americans, Arabs and Asians become “people of color?”

When the National Association of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909, it was clear that the term “colored” applied to Negroes.  That was evident in the leadership, membership and the issues the NAACP advanced.  For many years, “colored” was the perfectly acceptable and polite appellation, just as “black” is today.  That was before Jesse Jackson introduced the geographical identity of African-American to a population of folks who mostly had no roots to the continent for hundreds of years.

It was a political designation that had no validity in biology or the contemporary history of the individual.  I have a daughter who is considered African-American by today’s political standards.  She is actually Jamaican and her ancestral ties to Africa were severed hundreds of years ago.  But she looks the part and that is all that matters in our current political identity culture.

In the days of slavery and black oppression ruled over by our currently sanctimonious Democratic Party, a person was demeaned, shunned, outcasted for having Negro blood – even a small fraction.  In polite pre-1960s southern plantation society, it was referred to as having “a n****r in the woodpile.”

(Personally, we Horists are fortunate that DNA testing was not possible in those antebellum days of yore or my family’s Nigerian ancestry – yeah, I took the test — would have put me in great disfavor.)

Because it is purely a political ethnicity, there is an absurdity inherent in the African-American designation.  A lot of people who have recent ties to Africa cannot be African-Americans.  This included the Arabs, the white Afrikaners and even the Israelis.  Apart from Sammy Davis Jr., there are very few Jews who qualify as African-Americans.

For political reasons, the politically correct left has taken on the old racist rule that any portion of Negro blood will make you a person of color – as long as you have at least some residual physical traits.  That is why Kamala Harris is being touted as one of the African-American candidates for President.  Her mother is Indian (as from India).  Not the ones claimed by Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Kamala’s father is Jamaican, like my daughter.  He is only part African Negro, also like my daughter.  That means Harris is only POLITICALLY an African-American.  If she is to be known by her predominant ancestry, she is Indian or Asian-American.  To resolve the issue, Harris likes to call herself black or “a person of color.” And then there is the question of why we place so much importance on that – but we’ll save that issue for a future commentary.

You cannot have tribalism via identity politics if you cannot maintain, manage and politically juxtapose groups based on perceived identity — or they start to assimilate– and that is something the authoritarian left cannot allow.

According to genetics and biology, there are three notable ethnicities within the human species — Caucasian, Negro and Asian – with most of us some combination thereof.  Before progressive politicians started to play geneticists, Arabs, and our South American neighbors were considered to be a group within the Caucasian ethnicity – and especially true of the Castilian Mexicans.  Asians were just Asian.

In radical liberal land, the only thing that matters is what you look like and what you might choose to self-identify as.  So, if you are from Egypt, you cannot be an African-American in the United States even though you come from Africa.  If you come from India, you are not considered to be black or Asian, but one of those persons of color.  Turks are not considered to be Asian-American or African-American even though they could qualify as one or the other.

And what about the Italians and Greeks.  They have a characteristic skin tone that is far from that of the stereotypical Irish lad.  Are they people of color?

“People of color” is just another political designation that is designed to create a grand division between those of color and the white folks.  You can see this being played out in left-wing politics daily.

The irony of all this identity politics crap is that it does not respect a person’s ethnicity and background.  It obliterates it.  In identity politics, there are not Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Cubans, etc.  They are all lumped into the Hispanic column.  All people who manifest Negro features are deemed to be African-American regardless of their ancestral homeland.  Politically, there are no more Chinese-Americans, Korean-Americans or Vietnamese-Americans – just a lot of Asians.

And now – under progressive thinking and Democratic Party policies we have reverse assimilation with America being seen as just two masses of conflicting people – white people and people of color, whoever they are.

It is one thing to celebrate our ancestral histories and quite another to make them the foundation of our political and cultural thinking.  We should be pursuing policies based on beliefs, principles and a COMMON political culture, not our biological ancestry.  This cannot happen if we cling to identity politics as the new American culture.  I think we should have a designation for both me and my Jamaican daughter – and the rest of us, for that matter.  We should be known as American-Americans.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. kenneth jackson


    • George W.

      People are just plain sick and tired of this racial thing, black is black, white is white, yellow is yellow and red is red and what are you going to do about it?! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

    • DAV

      There is only ONE race…the HUMAN race !

  2. Bill

    Great article. I only wish that I could express myself so well. Good Job.

  3. Lynette

    Socialist/communist/democrats are fomenting civil war. They will win and the oldwhite wrinkly assed/rich powerful will brutally reign over the stupid/unwashed masses.

  4. Doug Conners

    Since when did South Americans, Arabs and Asians become “people of color?” All Liberals will say this is Racist! When Kamala Harris make claims Like “Fauxcahontas” Elizabeth Harris for Political Gain. I do wonder if Kamala used it to advance her career like Elizabeth Warren did indeed. If I did that as a Conservative I would have been put in jail. Like using a fake ID or Diploma to get a better job, but they are doing the exact same thing outright lying to get scholarships, and Elizabeth says she is a American Indian to get a Job at Harvard. Yet, I would lose that job and be put in jail as a fake, but its a Political Double Standard for the people in the Democrat Party. I have a White Friend who is Conservative, that went to a Black University to get his Masters Degree, then register as a Democrat, he quickly went up the Ladder in the Educational system, and now he laughs about it, while drawing a hefty retirement. He said you have to use their own policies against them if you want to be a success! Even, Obama did the same thing, “Foreign Exchange Student” but have his whole life sealed.

    • DAV

      The Lie-beral DEMONocrats make up the rules as they go along.

  5. Philapeno Hiawatha Spartacus Jones

    Larry, you can’t state what you just stated – it goes against the official policies and protocols of the Democrats. How dare you! If a person looks to be black and identifies as black, then they are black. If someone identifies as female and looks to be female, then they are female. Don’t be messing with established norms, even if they were declared just hours before! Gender and racial fluidity must be respected. Keeping all that in mind, once I transition to looking like Elizabeth Warren, I am Elizabeth Warren! And following that, I’ll be Spartacus. It’s my right as a US citizen to be whatever I want to be…

    • David Lost

      So i am white in the winter and then a Mexican in the summer time because i get a tan, cool where is my free money.

  6. Gretchen

    How right you sre. The left has just tried to divide us totally. Skin color doesn’t make the person, it’s what is on the inside that counts. We don’t need another civil war.

  7. Bill Powers

    Race, as you say, is a political distinctive. It is a Marxist-Nietzschean distinction founded on power, where the “slave” is good, the “master” evil. Following a Nietzschean logic, this is the perspective of the “slave.” Pursuing a Freudian perspective, the liberal, mostly “white” left are concealing a “white” guilt. Inasmuch as they acknowledge their “past” guilt, they are concealing something else. The Hermeneutics of Suspicion is never ending once begun.

  8. Michael Johnson

    I agree. If you are a citizen of the US you are an America. I don’t look at “color” I look at a person.

  9. Tom Balek

    Absolutely brilliant. You EXPLODED the religion of “identity politcs” quickly and totally. Well done.

  10. Mary Smith

    No you need to leave Obama ALONE!!!! Trump is the one who needs dismantling. He is the worst so called president in the history of the United States. He’s embarrassing, a womanizer, a raciest, a spoiled little brat who throws temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way! He is destroying this country. He has zero respect for ppl with disabilities.

  11. Mark Necaise

    Mr. Horist,
    I appreciate your details of not only the “true” beginning of the NAACP as it was intended, but, to where it has now come to. It’s really a shame on any race of people or their origin and heritage to be lost or “caught up” for the sake of politics and “notoriety”. Let me clarify my statement. In all races of people, mainly in the younger generations, we continually see an increase (either through social media or mainstream media) where individuals are representing themselves as being “another race than they were born into”. However, they like so many of their mentors, leaders and people in authority are doing, is trying to gain something by pretense.
    I truly believe God created all “people equal”. The Old Testament identifies the separation of nations through language and skin color but in no way of rights. But in our current “American climate of society”, both of those differences can mean achieving the type of things you would normally work for or achieve through education or inherit. Your details in today’s post concerning Kamala Harris, is a great illustration of this. I’m going to go out on a limb, albeit a thin one and say, she quite possibly could have got elected representing her Indian and Jamaican races, but she saw an advantage and used it.
    This is the main focus of my reply! People are willing to shun, deny and/or rebuke their family history and heritage for personal gain. How their grand-parents and great grand-parents must feel? Representing yourself in today’s society has taken on a different approach, one which does not consider the qualities which makes a person what they truly are; trustworthy, honest, considerate to others, charitable, supportive and caring for your family and others in need, just to mention a few. No, the focus has changed to get “it” at all accounts, don’t worry about who you hurt , step on or shame, as long as you come out on top.
    The old adage, “go with the flow” is alive and well! The mindset of politicians (and a lot of none politicians) today misrepresent themselves and their beliefs simply because they will not stand strong on their principles. Why, because of potential damage to your status or career! Politicians supposedly are to represent their constituents, however, as is evident in our current arena (and it did not just start but has reached a new high) their votes and support align with the path which is not only popular, but advantageous to them personally. Of course I understand their fears, yes fears. How many wonderful men and women representing what America is supposed to stand for, has been ridiculed and shamed at the cost of their careers, their reputation and negative effects on their family and loved ones. Yes, standing for something you really don’t believe in or support is easier if you can live with it, and as we see, most can.
    Once again, I appreciate your sincere comment on some very hot topics.

  12. Dan

    As I have NEVER seen a person with out ANY color.Therefor EVERYONE is a person of color! you are right since we are persons of color and need to be judged on our actions not skin tone.

  13. Joseph Stelly sr

    Please tell me why do Negros (Blacks)vote Democrat?Is it because of the hand-outs the party issues?I am very upset with my race, and embarrassed to say the least.

  14. Brian

    The hyphen is a symbol used to divide a compound word or a single word. When used to denote that a person is an (insert Country here)-American, it shows a divided allegiance to America, even if the person calling themselves a whatever-American is hundreds of years separated from that country. You can celebrate your heritage, but you are either an American or not. If you want things to be like the country your ancestors came from, why don’t you just load up and go there? If you like it here and all the things you enjoy here, then shut up and be an American. United as Americans we can stand anything. Divided, we self destruct and fall.

  15. Stanley Steamer

    If you’re not white, you’re a person of color.

    Love it or hate it, it’s always been this way.

  16. John Acord

    The Democrats in the South had the “one drop rule.” Have any known African ancestry and you were considered “colored” and outside the white community. Nothing has changed, at least with the Democrats.