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I recently read this post by Ed Brayton, about a statement made by Erik Rush a week ago:

Although the brothers Tsarnaev are technically “Caucasian” in the sense that their home country, Chechnya, lies in the North Caucasus mountains of Russia, they aren’t what has been considered “white” in the Western world for centuries. Generally speaking, people who fall into that category are those descended from forebears in Northern and Western Europe, Scandinavia and the British Isles, inasmuch as Southern Europeans, some Eastern Europeans, Eurasians and even the Irish have historically suffered discrimination under the former in the West.

It struck me upon reading that paragraph that Rush’s opinion almost exactly mirrors that of Justice Sutherland in the Supreme Court case, US v. Bhagat Singh Thind, in 1923.  A bit of background:  During the first half of the 1900′s, US citizenship was open only to people of the “Caucasian race.”  An Indian man (from India), Bhagat Singh Thind, argued that his ancestors descended from the Aryan, and thus, the Caucasian, race, so he should be eligible for citizenship.  The US disagreed, so the case went to the Supreme Court.

Long story short, Singh Thind lost that case, which set immigration rights for Indians back forty years.  Writing the majority opinion, Justice Sutherland argued:

It may be true that the blond Scandinavian and the brown Hindu have a common ancestor in the dim reaches of antiquity, but the average man knows perfectly well that there are unmistakable and profound differences between them today; and it is not impossible, if that common ancestor could be materialized in the flesh, we should discover that he was himself sufficiently differentiated from both of his descendants to preclude his racial classification with either.

The two positions here are almost perfectly identical.  So congratulations, Erik Rush, your racist attitude is older than my grandparents.

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