Too Few Oppressors, Too Many Victims
Of the remaining 90 million potential oppressors, further subtract, say, forty percent who are exempt from the oppressor category due to their allegiance to liberal causes now epitomized by voting for Obama. That leaves only, say, 40 million.
Yet subtract another, say, 10 million for the good youth from the bad group, who may vote for a Republican now and then but nobly believe in climate change, gay marriage, abortion, and multiculturalism. Then there is another 3% for the even better gay adult males. We may now be down to the hard core of 20-30 million bad old white male problem-makers who need to “get over it” and give others “their turn.”
Yet are the 30 million straight, mature, politically incorrect white males enough to serve as the needed nativists, homophobes, polluters, misogynists, and racists, at least to justify the far greater number of millions of victims?
Remember that in the new tribal America, victims de facto cannot double as oppressors. Latinos cannot be really biased against blacks. Blacks cannot be cruel to gays. Asians cannot treat women unjustly. Women cannot be biased against Latinos. The Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rev. Wright cannot be racist when they express hatred for those who do not look like themselves. We are told only that Mormons, not blacks, voted against gay marriage in California.
Who Is Who?
Is the 20 year old who is one-quarter Mexican-American still a minority? And so, why is not the much-darker-to-the-eye, one-hundred percent Pakistani a victim–at least for purposes of affirmative action? The daughter of the Goldman Sachs financier counts as progress when she is enrolls at Yale Law School, in a way that the Bakersfield son of the Oklahoma diaspora would not?
So hard, this collective search of ours for victimhood. Elizabeth Warren is the ultimate expression of our anguished dilemma: when her gender did not quite land her onto the Harvard Law faculty, her self-referenced high cheek bones did -- and her further assumption that she is a victim by assertion that she is a victim. In Warren’s case, we were to believe two things: she said she was liberal and Native American and -- presto -- she was; and second, therefore, all Native Americans are discriminated against and owed proper compensatory action -- like being hired at Harvard in a manner her publications, or chance, or fate might otherwise not have ensured. I wager that those supposedly high cheek bones were worth five major scholarly books. Is she now the first Native-American woman in the Senate? If Ward Churchill said he was Native-American, he was, and he was deserving of special treatment. So was it blatant racial prejudice to fire him?
How surreal are all these Washington white talking heads pontificating on the black vote, the Latino bloc, and the Asian minority, as if their own gender (if female), politics (if liberal), or mea culpa confessionals (if conservative white male) exempt them from the logic of their own tribalism. Do I exaggerate? Read this snippet from a celebratory column in the Los Angeles Times from one Harold Meyerson about the new California Democratic congressional representatives:
There will be 38 Democrats and 15 Republicans representing California in Congress come January. Of those 38 Democrats, 18 are women, nine are Latinos, five are Asian Americans, three are African Americans, four are Jews and at least one is gay. Just 12 are white men.
Tribe is everything -- not their age, background, family, record, or individual characteristics? One wonders who the gay congressperson represents -- “just” gay people? The four Jews are always distinguishable as Jews -- not as some who are ¾ Jewish or ¼ and confused with “just” white? Is that one gay person Jewish? Are there then possible twofers -- Jewish women, an Asian-American gay? And who are those unfortunate “just 12 white men” -- those who are not gay and have not one drop of Jewish, Latino, Asian American, or African-American blood? Are they good, bad, hard-working, lazy, heroic, tragic, or nothing much at all -- or does the person matter nothing and they become blurs of “just white men.” And who does Meyerson rely on for such statistics -- a national register of blood types where our DNA is catalogued? Do we consult Elizabeth Warren? Ward Churchill? And Meyerson himself -- in his racial spoils system to come, what angle does he claim to avoid being “just” a white man?
Land of the Bad
If we are to live in a tribal society, at least get the narrative down to avoid embarrassing contradictions. America was a racist patriarchy of homophobic, intolerant nativists that exploited others -- somehow to build the Hoover dam, invent electricity, create the largest economy in the world, provide a model for globalization, and craft the most inspired constitution in the history of civilization. Do Oaxacans flock to this terrible place on the theory that it is not necessarily any better than Mexico but that it belonged to their ancestors -- in a way Oaxaca (where are they leaving from) did not?
Thus the dilemma: most in the world wish to emigrate to the one place that is held to be unfair and biased and in need of radical change. But if the United States begins to change and operate on the economic, political or cultural principles of Bolivia, Uganda, the Philippines, China, or Oaxaca, will millions still wish to come here, or will they prefer Uganda and Bolivia?
It is very American to find an “edge.” In the bad old days, that meant having an uncle who was in the butchers' union, or a cousin in the fire department, or a granddad who gave money to Yale, or a sister who was married to the dean of the law school. So perhaps the world of Elizabeth Warren’s con is long overdue.
Only in America can we be all that we wish to be -- by just declaring ourselves to be among the growing number of victims rather than among shrinking pool of oppressors.
Also read: We're Doomed! Again!
(Thumbnail on PJM homepage assembled from multiple Shutterstock.com images.)