Last week I reviewed some rules to navigate in our race-obsessed culture. Here are three final statutes.
3) Class Is Irrelevant
In our racialist society, race always trumps class. In that sense, we do live in a classless society — at least as far as racial matters are concerned.
Eric Holder’s children, who improperly were flown to the Belmont Stakes with their dates in their father’s private government jet, would be entitled to affirmative action in a way that an impoverished grandchild of the Oklahoma diaspora is not. But at least a lower-middle-class white male is not penalized in college admissions to the degree that would be a straight-A Asian student. In today’s multiracial society of great economic fluidity, more than a half-century after the civil rights movement, the children of multimillionaire rappers would be deemed at a disadvantage in comparison to impoverished newly arrived destitute immigrants from Asia. But then again we are supposed to cry for the billionaire Oprah, who claims she was shown disrespect for gazing at some tony overpriced purse in a European millionaire boutique. Such is the bathos of the current civil rights movement.
Diversity means not multiplicity of political views or even races, but de facto efforts to ensure that groups non-designated as sanctioned minorities are not represented in jobs or education beyond their percentages in the general populations. Blacks can number far more than 11% of the work force of the U.S. Postal Service or over 70% of the players in the lucrative NBA, but by no means can the student body of UC Berkeley exceed 50% Asian. To point this out superficially without contextualizing slavery and Jim Crow is itself deemed racist, not the act of accepting or rejecting applicants on the basis of their race. But we still know the unspoken margin-of-safety rule: Asians as a group supposedly enjoy impressive per-capita incomes and education levels, and thus many in the Asian community with mere 3.9 GPAs can take a racialist hit or two from the government, without damage to their self-esteem or career trajectories. Does a Susan Lee or Harold Chung really need to go to Harvard Law, when UC Davis will do? Or is the racism worse still? Asians are assumed to be just different: they “like” studying all night. That is what they do, so why the need to reward it?
4) One-drop Nation
In our intermarried, assimilated, and integrated society in which immigration is at an all-time high, race itself has become often a meaningless construct. Liberal prognosticators warn that the “white majority” will be no more. What does that mean in today’s racially mixed family — that one’s grandkids, brother-in-law, or spouse will suddenly put down their old white patriarch? That mom will have to show more respect to her daughter? That dad will turn on his son?
We throw around imprecise terms like “white” and “black” as if they always refer to something real or ascertainable, only to be reminded occasionally by episodes of mistaken identity that they do not. Sometimes a black CNN talking head is dismissed as being typically white by a fellow black host, or the plot of a movie hinges on a professor who is in fact really black being damned as a white racist. Rich Iberian Cubans are “Latinos”; but then so are indigenous people from Oaxaca. Elite Jamaicans in the U.S. for a year are African-Americans, in a way sixth-generation blacks from Alabama are also. Dark second-generation Tunisians are not African-Americans.
In our racial dystopia, “Asian” means you can be fifth-generation Japanese or Chinese or Hmong, Thai, or Filipino, as if the government is trying to reforge some bankrupt imperial Japanese notion of a Co-Prosperity Sphere solidarity. But then again “white” means that you can be dark and are named Wilson with a Mexican mother named Hernandez — in a way that “Latino” means you can be white and are named Hernandez with a mother named Wilson.
Somewhere in the Harvard admissions office or the Ethnic Studies Department at CSU or UC, there must apparently be clerks busy at work in the basement consulting arcane racial lineage scrolls of unspoken pedigrees. To paraphrase Demades, racial polarization is now the “cement of democracy.”
My rural Punjabi neighbors are literally black; Valerie Jarrett, Jeh Johnson and Jeremiah Wright are not by any stretch of the imagination. The former do not earn affirmative action, the children of the latter would. The logic is that the Punjabis escaped the legacy of racism of Jim Crow — in the way that Barack Obama did as well? Or is the racial math that today’s racists are clever devils and can spot that dark Punjabis are distinguishable from lighter African-Americans? If you find such discussions sickening, remember that it is the silent basis for much of our current law, custom, and practice. In our ill society, there are hundreds of racist protocols that guide not just private, but government behavior, all of which if voiced publicly and honestly would boomerang on the whistle blower and earn him charges of racism. Official racist assumptions are never spelled out, only assumed — and immune from audit.
5) Good and Bad Racists
When politics is thrown into the mix, race becomes even more absurd. Or rather when the matter hinges on full-fledged support for the lavish redistributive state, exemption is extended to racists. Clarence Thomas, a real product of the Jim Crow South and unmistakably black, is periodically slurred by elite blacks as a sellout for his skepticism of big-government redistribution. Authentically black would include Barry Dunham Obama and Eric Holder, whose ancestries are mixed and not of the Old South. Joe Biden can insult Punjabis. Both Harry Reid and Joe Biden can talk sloppily and in racist fashion of “clean” and “articulate” blacks and “Negro dialects.” But we know that in their liberal hearts such disturbing language can only be harmless. Had Mitt Romney mouthed such racialism, his candidacy would have ended then and there — as would that of any black conservative who said something as insensitive about whites.
In our Lala land of diversity, Asians cannot be racially intolerant of blacks, nor blacks of Latinos nor Latinos of Asians. We have created this make-believe rubric “white” and threw into it Jews, Irish, Italians, Greeks, Germans, Armenians, Spaniards, and Portuguese, who all outnumber the old “Anglo-Saxons.” Who qualifies and who doesn’t, no one quite knows. We take it for granted that that no one knows, but that everyone is curious to find out why in the mind of the government clerk or campus diversity czar the white Castilian aristocrat on the evening news with the trilled last name and the one-quarter black woman from St. Thomas are somehow non-whites in the way a dark Armenian-American or Pakistani is white. Is the white barometer predicated on assimilation, culture, behavior, financial success, intermarriage, accent, education, or just self-invention that all trump superficial appearance?
Lies fall by their own weight.
Millions of Americans have become baffled by myths such as “hands up, don’t shoot” and “white Hispanic” — if they have not already tuned out the racial neuroses of the elite long ago. Calling someone “racist” and demands of ostracism from society for sloppy speech have almost become proof that the accuser himself is a racialist, a believer in race as the father of us. If Martin Luther King’s dream of race as incidental not essential to our characters were ever reified, millions of racialist Americans would be out of a job.