ID (the other one) and “Race”

Thanks to Gary McGath for the link to Cato at Liberty on the inclusion of a race question on the proposed US ID card.

Homeland Security has proposed a standard for Real ID barcodes that would include every American’s race or ethnicity in the new “not-a-national-ID” card. ..The article notes that race information on ID cards in the past has been used to facilitate genocide. This is unlikely to happen in the USA….Homeland Security and the Bush administration howl that this tyrannical measure is necessary to keep us from being blown up by terrorists; the use of race registration to “fight terrorism” gives an idea of what they’re really after. (from Mcgath’s blog)

Excellent points.

To reinforce this point, you can’t assume that genocide is unlikely anywhere. Didn’t Rosa Parks’ refusal to abide by the segregation rules on American buses occur less than 50 years ago? So apartheid was normal, in the home of the free, less than 50 years ago. (Good job, there is no racism in the US, today, then….)

So, everyone in the USA is to carry round electronic information about their “race”, blindly trusting that this will never disadvantage them? How about our quaint little old UK electronic ID cards? Don’t tell me we’re going to miss out on this great leap forward in race relations.

How are they going to classify race? As this blog is getting bored with pointing out – there is no such thing.

So are people going to make judgements on their own hair colour/skin tone/eye colour/ body shape? American black and hispanic and asian white and whatever people are black or white according to arcane cultural rules that wouldn’t apply in the same way elsewhere. Who’s going to set these rules for the cards?

Maybe they’ll do it on the religion into which they were born – so it can identify Muslims, as that seems to be the point of the exercise? Can even American governments see Muslims as a race? What about when Seamus O’Sullivan decides to convert and becomes Ali Mohammed? Or Mohammed Baddawi deides to become an atheist?

Taking an invented classification (race) and coding it into an identifying tag, for the benefit of the government, actually goes one step beyond the Third Reich, in terms of accepting pseudo-scientific racism and applying it to human populations.

I’m not saying the consequences will be the same, but the potential is so inherent in the process, it seems about as safe as giving every American the right to bear their own nuke.