When They Take Over, We'll Be Them
By Bryan Caplan
True story: A Jewish senior complained to me, “There are hardly any regular Caucasians left.” I couldn’t resist pointing out that when he was a kid, Jews weren’t “regular Caucasians.” Everyone – Jews and Gentiles alike – saw the Jews as a separate group. Indeed, people at the time actually spoke of the “Jewish race.”
What happened? Jews were never officially invited to become “regular Caucasians.” Jews simply became less distinctive, and Gentiles more inclusive. Definitions blurred. More and more friendships and marriages crossed the boundary. People gradually stopped thinking about the distinction between Jews and Gentiles – and ultimately forgot there was anything to think about.
The same story has happened many times before. In the early years of the United States, many people drew a clear line between regular Englishmen and the motley crew of later immigrants. How did the story end? Immigration continued. The descendants of English immigrants became a small minority. But by the time that happened, the descendants of English immigrants had forgotten they were English. English-Americans avoided “foreign rule” by redefinition. You could say they were apathetic, but that’s an understatement. English-Americans had forgotten there was anything to be apathetic about.
Of course, ethnic identity and ethnic strife don’t always fade away so harmoniously. But they harmoniously fade away more frequently than people attached to their identities and strife care to admit. If Jews can become “regular Caucasians” in less than a lifetime, imagine how obsolete our current identities will be in another seventy years. Moping about demographic trends is pointless. When “they” take over, we’ll be them.