This is the age, after all, of "whiteness studies," according to which some groups that we usually regard as white--say, the Italians and the Irish--may be regarded historically as if they were black, because they once occupied the bottom of the social scale. In such an analysis, "whiteness" is not a biological characteristic, it is a socially constructed category that serves the powerful as an instrument for maintaining their power, and also as a way for whites to maintain their distance from non-whites.
If being a graceful ballplayer can turn someone into an Anglo-Saxon, then "race" hardly matters at all. Why, then, elevate race into the explanation for nearly everything that happens in America?
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