More Thoughts On the Exclusivity of Whiteness

A few posts back I wrote on the barrier presented to immigrant Muslims (all non-whites for that matter) – the barrier to whiteness. Here are some interesting words by one of our founding fathers, Mr. Benjamin Franklin:

In 1751, Ben Franklin wanted to know why Pennsylvania, “founded by English, (should) become a colony of aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us, instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our language or customs anymore than they can aquire our complexion? The number of purley white people in the world is proportionably very small,” he lamented in this essay on human population.

Franklin continued stating,

“All Africa is black or tawny; Asia chiefly tawny; America (exclusive of the newcomers (that is, the English) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, and Swedes are generally of what we call a swarthy complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who, with the English, make the principal body of white people on the face of the earth. I could wish their numbers were increased.” [Frye 40].

Some of you may indeed be surprised to see Franklin’s expulsion of almost every other group of Europeans from the fold of “Whiteness”. So with this as a proto-concept of the Whiteamerican, how could this shape or influence the debate on the racialization of immigrants into the greater American society? Personally, I found it easy for myself to substitute German for Muslim or even Mexican in his statement above. Food for thought. And God knows best.

Source: Jacobson, Matthew Frye. Whiteness of a Different Color : European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998. Print.