The Unprotected Class

Anti-white racism is tearing America apart.

Over the last six decades, America has rapidly become a multi-ethnic, multiracial, and multicultural country.

We take this for granted today, forgetting it was not always true. At the time of the American Revolution, America’s free population was not just overwhelmingly white, but overwhelmingly of British origin. Somewhat less than 2 percent were free African Americans (very few of whom could vote) and Native Americans (who were not taxed and were only counted in the first census if they were living as part of a white political community, and few were). Other groups were so small as to scarcely even be measurable.

According to one estimate, of the population of Americans on the eve of the Revolution, almost 170 years after the first European settlements in what is now the United States, an estimated 85 percent were of British origin. America’s initial political community was not simply white but, in its basic demographics, remarkably homogenous.

Over the next two centuries, American demographics went through various permutations and combinations of settlement and immigration. In 1970, the year of the first census following the 1965 Hart-Celler immigration law—which led to a rapid change in America’s demographics—America was 83 percent white non-Hispanic and 11 percent African American. Of the 4.5 percent estimated Hispanic population that made up most of those not captured in the first two groups, 80 percent were native born (as opposed to about 60 percent today).

Much of the Hispanic population of America in 1970 was therefore fairly assimilated into the white majority culture. Some, such as many residents of New Mexico, had histories in America that went back to even before the Pilgrims. Others, such as the Tejanos in Texas and Californios in California, also had settlement patterns that predated the United States, and they maintained their traditions while often marrying into prominent Anglo families over time. In other words, America in 1970, at least judged by the standards of today, was fairly demographically unified—at least in its self-conception.

In examining the racial demographics of America, we should note that while the public concept of race has a basis in shared genetic heritage, it is also a product of social convention. “Whiteness” was hardly a murky or arbitrarily invented concept (the original Nationality Act of 1790 specifically restricted American citizenship to “free white persons” without any particular lack of clarity as to who was being referred to: Jews, for example, were considered white and entitled to citizenship).

Early America had informal hierarchies within the white community, of course. One can find historical instances of “No Irish need apply” and similar insults to newly arrived or otherwise disfavored white ethnic groups. But overall, American society in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries classified the same groups of people as white that we classify as white today. That “white supremacy” is now proclaimed by the White House, Hollywood, and many major corporations to be the greatest threat to America is proof that, in fact, white supremacy no longer holds great sway in America at all and hasn’t for quite some time. You can speak of Kim Jong Un’s totalitarianism in North Korea only if you don’t live under it. 

Indeed, it is not a coincidence that the term “white privilege” originated in 1988 with Wellesley College women’s studies professor Peggy McIntosh, just as it was becoming clear that whiteness was now a legal and social disability in much of American life. In fact, denying this alleged “privilege” will inevitably result in being called a racist or being accused of defensiveness or denial—or “white fragility.” But this is mere projection. I, as with many other whites, would be happy to acknowledge that I have been the beneficiary of many unearned privileges in life, from being raised by good parents to enjoying good health to benefiting from a good education. But whiteness does not happen to be one of my privileges.

The demand for “racism” among political activists continues to increase even as the supply of racism diminishes: 93 percent of whites approve of interracial marriage, essentially identical to the 96 percent of nonwhites who approve of it, with almost all of the tiny minority who disapprove being senior citizens. (Just 4 percent approved in 1958.) At the same time, the Gallup Poll shows, record low numbers of Americans see an improvement in the civil rights of black Americans during their lifetimes (59 percent in 2020, down from the mid-to-high ’80s from the 1990s until the start of the so-called “Great Awokening” (the early 2010s rise of “woke culture”).

A recent survey of Asian Americans found that almost 80 percent did not “completely agree” that they belonged in the United States, with higher percentages feeling that way among younger cohorts who grew up in a much more diverse and accepting America. Older generations, likely to be actual immigrants with lower language skills and less engagement with American culture, are more likely to believe they belong in America.

These findings should give us pause and lead us to examine the public discourse around race in America today and why it has veered so far from reality. Instances of past racism in America were deplorable, but from a cross-cultural perspective they were also not particularly exceptional. Majority groups have discriminated against minority groups in virtually all societies from time immemorial. Indeed, what is unusual about America is, in comparison with most other countries, the incredible historical openness of many white Americans to welcoming new groups into the American family. This global migration, on a scale never before seen, is a testament to the generosity and openness of America’s historical Euro-American majority.

In civil rights law, we refer to a group as a “protected class” if they have legal protection from discrimination based on various characteristics, which can include sex, disability, veteran status, and so on. But practically speaking, the most socially important of these protected classes is race. In principle, whites are protected from legal discrimination because of their race. But in practice, they are often an unprotected class, both formally and informally.

In the culture, they are often subject to extreme attacks. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan can declare that “white people are potential humans, they haven’t evolved yet” and still meet with Barack Obama and share a stage with Bill Clinton. can print an article headlined “White Men Must Be Stopped: The Future of Mankind Depends on It.” Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times journalist and founder of the 1619 Project, a well-funded and highly-influential effort that refocuses American history around slavery, can write that “the white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world.” Her 1619 Project can still make its way into countless American schools and curricula despite its conclusions and methods being attacked by historians on the right and the left.

In principle, whites are protected from legal discrimination because of their race. But in practice, they are often an unprotected class, both formally and informally.

Hannah-Jones wasn’t even the only unrepentant white-hater on The New York Times’ staff: Sarah Jeong, once a member of the Times editorial board and later an opinion columnist, tweeted, “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.” When the Times editorial page was alerted to this and other anti-white writings of Jeong’s, they shrugged them off.

Nor do the anti-white forces believe that sitting on the sidelines is an option. Ibram X. Kendi, one of the most prominent academic supporters of Critical Race Theory, believes any federal policy can be defined as racist or anti-racist and that you are racist if you support a racist policy “through action or inaction [my emphasis].” Robin DiAngelo, author of the bestseller White Fragility, one of the central texts of Critical Race Theory, believes that today’s white people aren’t any better than their grandparents. “I am often asked if I think the younger generation is less racist,” she writes, “No, I don’t. In some ways, racism’s adaptations over time are more sinister than concrete rules such as Jim Crow.”

Yet these supposedly powerful and unreconstructedly racist whites are just 58 percent of America’s population and are rapidly declining in population share. Soon, we will be left attempting to explain why the rights of a white minority are less important than those of other minorities. This is not politically or ethically tenable long-term. 

One of the common objections to the notion that America systemically discriminates against whites is to compare some element of the social status of white Americans to Hispanics and, in particular, African Americans. Conveniently, this erases the almost 7 percent of our population that is Asian American. Yet Asian Americans do far better than whites on the vast majority of social and economic metrics, despite many of them having arrived in America with little in the way of assets.

This multiethnic success is not even limited to East and South Asian Americans. Iranians, Lebanese, and Turkish Americans have substantially higher median household incomes than the average white American. American-born Argentinian, Ecuadorian, and Cuban Americans have higher incomes than white Americans. Ghanaians, Nigerians, and Egyptians have incomes just slightly below the average white American. If we were able to split up Nigerians into particularly successful and education-focused groups like the Igbos, those Nigerians would almost certainly have substantially higher education and income profiles than white Americans. Needless to say, those who attribute racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes to racism do not have compelling answers for why these groups seem to do so well in America while other similarly hued groups do less well.

How did we get here—to a place where our discourse around race is so blatantly at odds with reality? And why does it matter? One reason it matters is that white people are increasingly struggling with social dysfunctions. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase among white Americans in what Nobel Prize–winning economist Angus Deaton and his wife and fellow economist Anne Case have categorized as “deaths of despair” (suicides, drug overdoses), concentrated particularly among middle-aged white Americans.

Whites suffer from downward economic mobility, declining fertility (excluding Asians, they have the lowest average fertility of any major ethnic group in America), rising drug addiction and depression, and narrowing opportunities, all piled onto a false presumption of privilege and combined with the general collapse of socialization that Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam describes in Bowling Alone.

Additionally, if whiteness is an advantage, it is strange that so many whites have been clamoring to obtain a nonwhite identity. Journalist and commentator Steve Sailer has referred to this as “the flight from white.” The number of Hispanics identifying solely as “white” dropped by almost 53 percent between the 2010 and 2020 censuses. Hispanics have realized that whiteness is stigmatized and disadvantaged, whereas a multicultural identity is sacralized. Likewise, the Native American population ballooned from 5.3 million to 9.7 million between 2010 and 2020. That amounted to almost 3 percent of the American population, compared to 0.4 percent in 1970. This is not due to a Native American fertility explosion but primarily to an explosion of benefits, both formal and informal, for identifying as Native American and penalties for being white. 

Some of these changes may reflect how questions on the census were asked, but much of it reflects the increasing cultural and legal advantages to being classed as an ethnic minority. As one scholar who has studied white-to-native race-shifting put it, “These people are not fleeing from political and social persecution, but from whiteness,” with race-shifters associating whiteness with “racial and cultural emptiness.” Such feelings arise from a broader cultural zeitgeist and messaging.

This has long been a trend. Identifying as Native American for purposes of education and employment is a huge advantage, regardless of the other disadvantages you might experience. And for many, obtaining that advantage is easier than it might seem. To enjoy the benefits of Cherokee tribal enrollment, for example, you need to be of only one sixty-fourth Cherokee descent. If white supremacy actually reigned in America, this would be laughable. In days when it did reign, “Aryans” from India claimed whiteness before the Supreme Court, while many light-skinned African Americans looked to “pass” as white (captured in nonfiction books and novels such as James Weldon Johnson’s 1912 Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man).

This change in racial attitudes is happening amid a breathtaking demographic transformation. As of 2020, nearly 53 percent of Americans under the age of 18 were “minorities.” Within 20 years, whites are projected to be a minority in America and one older than most other racial groups on average. America’s youth figures to be heavily multiracial and multicultural. California has long been held up as the future, and there just 23 percent of children are white. As people who, for better or worse, are soon to be just another patch in the American quilt, whites need to be able to speak up unapologetically for their own rights. 

Those such as this author who criticize America’s strategy of diversity do not hate America’s diverse populations. Accusing us of such hatred is a classic example of the composition fallacy, whereby we mistakenly generalize from the part to the whole or vice-versa.

Critical race theory, anti-white, racism

Race and ethnicity scholar Eric Kaufmann offers examples of this fallacy, such as: because I believe “immigration should be controlled for the benefit of the country,” then I believe “Raul, an immigrant, should be prevented from entering the country because he will harm it.” Or if I believe that “America’s ethnic majority should not decline too rapidly because it is part of the nation’s identity,” then I must also believe “Indira, an ethnic minority, is not fully American. Progressives thus collapse a complex discussion about collective entities into a debate about the treatment of individuals,” Kaufmann writes in City Journal.

I have lived in India and spent additional years of my life traveling in the developing world, doing everything from volunteering for weeks at a Tanzanian orphanage to hobnobbing with rural indigenous Bolivians. That I am criticizing the way America has sacralized diversity does not mean I hate the diverse groups of people who call themselves Americans. It means I hate the social dynamics we are creating through anti-white discrimination, unfettered immigration, and a declining focus on cultural assimilation.

For middle-class and working-class whites, and even for an increasing number of upper-class whites, this anti-white discrimination and racism is deadly—we might even say the problems it causes are intersectional. Anti-white racism interacts with lower incomes, unsafe neighborhoods, or an inability to send one’s kids to a good school (or all of the above) to create a toxic brew. And while confrontation around these issues is sometimes unpleasant, cowardly avoidance is far more dangerous.

If we continue to let the left engage in continuous and rampant race baiting without resistance, tensions will increase until they ultimately boil over, likely with terrible consequences. To combat anti-white discrimination is not something we should do for whites but for all Americans, because if we don’t change the course we are on, we are all going to suffer. To borrow a Cold War analogy, the only way we will achieve peace in our current era of racial strife is for people of every race to adopt a policy of mutually assured destruction. Simply put, the left must learn that when they use racist tactics, the blowback will be fierce, immediate, and extremely painful for them.

This passage is excerpted from his new book, The Unprotected Class: How Anti-White Racism is Tearing America Apart.

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