Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe for a second that these tests mean anything. If you believe that DNA patterns are so historically accurate that you can discriminate between, say, Ukrainian origins and Tatar origins—it depends on which Mongol horde in which century pillaged which village, right?—then you must also believe that the guys examining your cheek saliva in Twin Falls, Idaho, have an encyclopedic knowledge of human migration patterns that are still considered mysterious by experts at the British Museum.
But what I do believe is that something did occur several millennia ago, 59 miles southwest of Baghdad, at Babel, site of the most ostentatious tower in the world before it was surpassed by Trump Tower. Whatever happened at Babel may not be exactly what the Jewish scribes describe in Genesis 11, but some series of cataclysms caused the one race to disperse into many races, or at least appear to be many races.
But even if you do not believe this—even if you believe, like John C. Calhoun and David Duke and Louis Farrakhan and Baruch Goldstein, in the purity of certain races—aren’t we finding out that Americans are so genetically messed up that everybody is multiracial?
We’re mongrels and we know it.
It's that business about America being a melting pot - remember that from your grade school history books? Probably not; I doubt they teach anything that politically incorrect anymore. But it does seem as if so much of what we face in this country today is based on fault lines created over the centuries by what have now become artificial distinctions. What's the answer? Here, the satirist Briggs becomes provocative - and also, I think, serious:
So here’s an idea. What if we declared, by law, that all Americans are the same race? We’ll call the race “American.” It’s a nationality, it’s an ethnic group, and it’s a race.
As part of this law, we would make it illegal to subclassify or hyphenate anyone. Therefore, no more Asian-Americans, no more African-Americans, not even any Native Americans, because that word would become redundant.
Wouldn’t this be the most egalitarian thing we’ve done since 1787?
Provocative indeed. Briggs goes on to savage the ways in which current (and future) census policies not just recognize, but exacerbate, these divides, which is like prodding the lion behind bars. And what happens when it turns out the lock on the door comes free?
Read the whole thing. As is the case with the best satirists, Briggs makes some very serious points, not only about the hypocrisy of the whole thing, but about the elegy we might just as well offer, as we head for the Independence Day weekend, for the quaint notion of an American nation and an American culture, populated not by hyphens, but by - Americans.