Monday, May 14, 2012

Chameleon Nation and Victimization: We Might Soon Run Out of Concession-Granting Oppressors

From the editorial "Chameleon Nation" by historian Victor Davis Hanson (also featured in today's WSJ's Notable and Quotable):

"Identities are sometimes put on and taken off, like clothes, as self-interest dictates -- given that so often they are no longer ascertainable from appearance. If that sounds crass or unfair, ask Elizabeth Warren, who dropped her Native American claims as soon as she at last received tenure and found her 1/32 con suddenly superfluous -- to the apparent unconcern of her similarly cynical but now mum employer, Harvard.

Nor is race sure proof of either poverty or past oppression. Asian Americans, for example, have a median family income more than $10,000 a year higher than white Americans. And if pigmentation is proof of ongoing prejudice, why don't darker Punjabis and Arabs -- who do not qualify for special racial preferences -- deserve consideration over those lighter-skinned minorities who do?

How long after a Mexican national crossed the border would he become a Chicano eligible for affirmative action? Do Attorney General Eric Holder's children qualify? Do 1/32 (one great-great-great grandparent) or 1/16 (one great-great grandparent) Cherokees receive preferential treatment? And if so, who administers this odious Jim Crow one-drop DNA test, and how?

In truth, after a half-century in our self-created racial labyrinth, no one quite knows who qualifies as an oppressed victim or why -- only that the more one can change a name or emphasize lineage, the better the careerist edge. The real worry is that soon we will have so many recompense-seeking victims that we will run out of concession-granting oppressors.

How odd (or rather, how predictable) that something that started out as a supposedly noble lie -- that to atone for past bias we must be judged by the color of our skin rather than the content of our character -- has become utterly ignoble and beneath us."

8 Comments:

At 5/14/2012 10:06 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

I find the whole concept oppressive.

 
At 5/14/2012 10:11 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

never fear. as a blond haired blue eyed male of 100% northern european ancestry, i will always be there when it's time to point at the oppressor.

of course, being mostly lithuanian, my people lived under totalitarian rule far more recently than almost any of these "oppressed" folks, but hey, why let the facts get in the way of these "oppression narratives"?

i mean, just because we spent the 50 years up to the 1990's deprived of basic human rights, treated as second class citizens in our own country, and subject to relentless soviet assault on our culture, religion, freedom of expression and language while subject to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, and execution is surely no reason to think us oppressed...

funny how this little oddity seems to get left out of the calculus.

i found it endlessly interesting in college to hear others rail about the injustices heaped upon their people centuries ago and yet seem totally unaware of what had happened to some others.

i also find it interesting that the groups that seem less anxious to make a big deal out of it (the chinese, those from eastern europe and southeast asia, many persians etc) all seem to be doing so much better economically than those that seem obsessed with getting special treatment.

one could argue which direction the causality there runs, but given the horrific track record of government programs in terms of actually helping the folks they were designed to aid, i have a strong suspicion it is seeking out the aid that does much of the damage.

murray's detailed and fascinating book "losing ground" lays out in irrefutable clarity how the great society did more to harm black america than even jim crow.

 
At 5/14/2012 12:17 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

We have a full-blown culture of victimization and entitlement.

Welfare, lifetime pensions and medical care for military employees (pensions after 20 years service), subsidies for farmers, college loans etc etc etc.

Romney, who pays 13 percent of income in taxes, says taxes are too high on rich people. Food stamps.

Where does it stop?

 
At 5/14/2012 2:22 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"i also find it interesting that the groups that seem less anxious to make a big deal out of it...all seem to be doing so much better"
- Morg

We all used to joke about our corporate consultants, saying that their job was to give the impression of forward motion and keep finding things "broken" without fixing real problems. If they actually fixed problems and changed perceptions they would have worked themselves out of a job.

The groups who tend to seem anxious to tell us how wronged they were/are/will be all, coincidentally, have very powerful consultants (Sharpton, Rainbow Coalition, La Raza, etc.).

 
At 5/14/2012 7:31 PM, Blogger Marko said...

It is time to amend the constitution to eliminate all mention of race, color, national origin and maybe sex (but certainly gender) from all federal government laws and regulations. The feds should not be collecting racial information from every employer, for example, nor should it be collecting that information in the census.

 
At 5/14/2012 7:56 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Do 1/32 (one great-great-great grandparent) or 1/16 (one great-great grandparent) Cherokees receive preferential treatment?"...

I'm guessing that VDH is refering to Fauxcahontas...

 
At 5/14/2012 7:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Romney, who pays 13 percent of income in taxes, says taxes are too high on rich people. Food stamps.

Where does it stop?
"...

Well pseudo benny the socialist, it stops when YOU start paying the exact amount of tax (to the penny!) that Romney pays...

 
At 5/15/2012 8:28 AM, Blogger geoih said...

How long does your family have to live somewhere before you're considered "native"?

Does being white mean you're forever considered an invader?

Why are hispanics considered a special minority when their ancestors came from Europe?

 

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