I thought of a few things while I was reading: first of all, the fact that ‘brown’ people have shifting identities, which I have experienced all my life regardless of my actual ethnic background, depends critically upon the needs and desires of the dominant class. Take, for example, the fact that Middle Eastern peoples are routinely discriminated against — essentially, treated nonwhite and forced to negotiate obstacles that many other POC”s must tolerate — yet are adamantly classified as ‘white’ by the government. The Arab American Institute has lobbied for a change in the census for almost half a century, always failing to convince the government that they aren’t white.
Note that, in this context, Arab Americans are not allowed to define themselves — that it is white people who decide for Arab Americans how they will be classified, as if they are the only ones capable of making this decision for others. This type of condescension is sewn into the fabric of our country, always operating as if it is completely normal for white people — without the experience of racism — deciding, based on their own needs, how to define others. This is a blatant exhibition of white supremacy and the fact that our (POC) identities are subject to these whims is, in my mind, not merely about societal changes but also about whatever white people want.
The other thing I thought of is that we must account for the underlying reasons for these depictions. I really like the way you break down motive on the basis of these political areas, but I truly believe that, in addition to the deliberate efforts that ‘Hobbes’ types’ may make to dominate others, many people do this subconsciously. A maintenance of that white majority exists as collective subconscious behavior — what some social scientists have called ‘herd invisibility’ — that prompts the white majority to do whatever it takes to maintain this majority.
Your suggestions are great re: the media portrayals. But what of those wealthy and powerful people who benefit from the continued derogation of Middle Eastern peoples? The motives to maintain a foot on the necks of Middle Eastern peoples typically support the status quo, and continued white supremacy.
So, I suppose what I wonder is this: if the underlying motives to change these depictions don’t change, how will the actual reality? That is, if this majority doesn’t want to change the status of the dominance, it just won’t matter how many good suggestions are made.