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Was Elliot Rodger White? Does it Matter?

I've noticed that the media discussion (and bloggy discussion) of Rodger has been very quick to call him "white."

White male.

Young white man.

Maybe a fraction of the discussion mentions that he was half-Asian. Otherwise, he was just white. Easy, right? Not really. If he had been half-black or half-Latino (brown Latino, not white Latino, of course) he would've been black or Latino. If he were half-Muslim, he would've been Muslim. Even if he didn't practice.


But Asian? Asian is the race neuter. Nobody's "half-Asian." They're just white. This isn't a compliment, by the way— it's just as telling that we see Asian as completely neuter in someone's racial identity as how we see black as being the only identity for a half-black child.

This is actually yet another case of how racism, including toward East Asians, affects society a great deal. So much for our "post-racial" society!

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