The recent election marked the end of “Anglo Saxon” domination over the United States and the beginning of a possible race war between whites and Latinos, said Linda Martín Alcoff, a well-known philosopher from the City University of New York, during a lecture at Columbia University on Wednesday.
Alcoff said the presidential election results prompted the question of “how Angelo Saxon cultural domination is going to survive in the United States” as whiteness begins to “lose its place.”
Winning the Hispanic vote by 44 points over Mitt Romney was seen as the key to President Barack Obama’s reelection last week, and with one in three Americans predicted to be Latino by 2050, it’s forced both Republicans and Democrats to prioritize the major issues concerning the group in an attempt to win over the growing voting bloc, she said.
One of Alcoff’s central claims for why the Latino vote has caused such a stir in the recent election cycle is because its population growth poses a new and unique threat to whites, as the United States is largely surrounded by countries made of up Latinos whose populations could feasibly overtake that of whites.
“No other group can realistically pose a threat of ballooning numbers like we can,” Alcoff said. “It’s not like the Jews in Germany, where they were like 3 percent of the population and there was no real economic threat.”
Alcoff even went so far as to connect an increase in recent gun purchases to whites arming themselves for some sort of possible race war against Latinos.
Since Obama was elected in 2008, for example, the number of radical groups has increased hugely all across the country, while the number of guns sold in the month Obama was elected reached an all time high of 1.5 million, she noted.
While the Associated Press reported last month that rising firearm sales resulted from a fear of increased gun laws, Alcoff said this is instead evidence of the Latino community being targeted.
“These groups are not harmless,” Alcoff said. “The principle target here…is not an unspecified or abstract immigrant population, but generally Latino immigrants from Mexico or Central America.”
In fact, Alcoff is currently lobbying for more recognition of specific instances of Latino racism as hate crimes. Her talk was hosted by The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and previewed her forthcoming paper about racism.
It will argue that discrimination against Latinos should be regarded as its own category, much like the notion of anti-black racism, which she says will allow for a clearer identification of racist legislation, politicians and groups.
Obama’s victory has left the Latino population as the “it group” among political pundits, Alcoff said, adding the discussion about the group is “offensive in so many ways…I won’t even go into it.”
Fix contributor Luke Kerr-Dineen is a student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.