“Whiteness is not a genetic category; it’s a social and political construct that relies on perception and prejudice. A century ago, Irish, Italians, and Jews were not seen as whites. ‘This town has 8,000,000 people,’ a young Harry Truman wrote his cousin upon visiting New York City in 1918. ‘7,500,000 of ’em are of Israelish extraction. (400,000 wops and the rest are white people.)’ But by the time Truman became president, all those immigrant groups were considered ‘white.’ There’s no reason to imagine that Latinos and Asians won’t follow much the same pattern.”

Foreigners is, perhaps, a uniquely British word.”

Daniel Dennett: “It is fortunate for us that philosophy is largely ignored by the rest of the society, since otherwise we would have to conduct our business much more cautiously […]. Philosophers can take a hard look at anything—whether pornography is good for people, whether capital punishment should be extended to white-collar crimes, whether money or numbers or chairs or people exist, whether there might be zombies, whether the universe was created exactly six minutes ago complete with all the bogus fossils and photons streaming in from imaginary stars—and this is quite innocuous because there is a sort of quarantine barrier between philosophers’ discourses and the general run of conversation and discovery.”


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