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Too Few Oppressors, Too Many Victims

Not Telling the Whole Truth and Nothing but …

Some House Democrats are alleging that reservations voiced about a potential nomination of Susan Rice as secretary of State are both racist and sexist -- and do not concern the fact that on five consecutive occasions she misled the nation about the nature of the Benghazi murders of four Americans (peddling an improbable story, which both the CIA and the president of the United States were, at least now and then, on record denying).

But stop and ponder the charges of prejudice. We have not seen a proverbial white male secretary of State since the inept Warren Christopher stepped down over a decade and a half ago. How could a sexist and racist country nominate and confirm a Madeleine  Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton as consecutive secretaries? Maybe such accusers confused State with the white-male-only office of attorney general? But no -- there we have seen Janet Reno, Alberto Gonzales, and Eric Holder.  I don’t recall these congresswomen alleging racism when white males in Congress tore into Alberto Gonzales and forced him to step down from the office of attorney general.

The New Wars

We talk about a war on women. But a majority of college graduates are now female. Most fathers know that it is easier for their college-educated daughters to find good jobs than it is for their sons. When I advised graduating seniors about professional schools, it was common knowledge that the white male, A-student from Tulare was out of luck, in a way my Asian, black, Latino, or white women students were not. Stranger still was the notion of affirmative action musical chairs (as in don’t dare leave your seat) -- the white liberal guys that came up through the old-boy network were exempt from the ramifications of their own ideology.

If one truly believes in affirmative action, could not a white male, after, say, 20 years of tenure, step aside from a senior post to let someone of a different gender or race have a turn? Would that be to pay your fair share? Did you really build that professorship, that movie career, that law firm? Cannot a Chris Matthews at last call it quits and move over for those who did not have his contacts, power marriage, and insider pull? At some point in your life, haven’t you accrued enough privilege?

We Are All Minorities Now

Are there any minorities in California? In fact, everyone here is a minority. In my town, Latinos are the vast majority, as they are now in most San Joaquin Valley schools and colleges. Are they “overrepresented” here or at CSU Fresno? Should we have busing to achieve proportional “diversity” at the local grammar school two miles away that is 99% of one ethnic grouping?

Are Asians “overrepresented” at UC Berkeley -- or are the 20% of the student body who are white males the ruling establishment? Are blacks “overrepresented” at the U.S. Postal Service, but “underrepresented” at the DMV? Such are the absurd questions that arise in a tribal society where one’s primary allegiances are not to universal values or collective traditions and customs, but are first pledged to those who look most like oneself.

So many wars Barack Obama has waged -- young women against anti-abortionist old white men, Latinos against nativist old white men, blacks against racist old white men, Asians against stereotyping old white men.  But, President Obama, will there still be enough oppressors from such a fading group for so many victims? Old white men are also apparently at war with young white men. And bad, right-wing old white men are also at war with good, liberal old white men? And also at war with old white (but good) gay men?

Again, are there enough conservative old white men to go around any more?  If we lose half our oppressors by the nature of their gender, we are left with only 160 million or so suspect males. Then we must exempt another 30% as minority males (to the extent anyone is so easily stereotyped in an intermarried and integrated society).