You’re what you say you are, except when you aren’t

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]


“I was born a poor black child.”


The ideology of so-called Progressives  is full of contradictions.

It’s almost comical to watch them tie themselves in knots over the case of Rachel Dolezal. The Spokane, Washington NAACP leader (who resigned from her position yesterday) appears to be a pathological liar—claiming falsely to have been raised in a teepee and to have hunted her own food, to have been mistreated by her parents for being too dark-skinned, to have been the victim of a series of hate crimes that appear to have been faked. But none of that mattered until she got caught pretending to be “black.”

Actually, we are told by her estranged parents, she is “Caucasian,” although they add that she is one-quarter American Indian through two of her eight great-grandparents. The category “Caucasian,” by the way, was popularized by a scientist named Johann Friedrich Blumenbach who divided the human race into Caucasians (white), Mongolians (yellow), Malayans (brown), Ethiopians (black), and Americans (American Indians, red). His categories were absurd, of course—there is no scientific basis for the division of humans into so-called “races”—but Blumenbach’s work became the basis for the “scientific consensus” that blacks were inferior. I do not need to point out the harm that has been done by this piece of pseudoscience.

Today, many of our nation’s leaders are obsessed with putting people into imaginary categories (now defined by so-called Progressives  and their enablers as “white,” “black,” “Asian,” and “Hispanic” or “Latino”). Rather than build a society in which a person is judged by his or her talent, experience, hard work, and values, the Progressives seek to divide us all into “identities” based upon which we are to distribute jobs and government contracts, college admissions and scholarships, and political power.

[Note: Because these categories are fake, I usually put sarcastic quotes around terms like black and white when used in this context. For readability, I’ll leave those quotes off in the discussion below.]

She seems to have made up a lot of things, but her black identity appears to be sincere—that is, she seems to have sincerely thought of herself as black. She has four black siblings by adoption; she attended historically black Howard University; she married a black man; she teaches Africana in college.  NAACP officials, at least initially, stood by her, noting that leadership in that organization was never confined to blacks; the organization was 25 years old before it had its first black chairman of the board.

If anyone should be given a pass for passing, it is Rachel Dolezal.

Nevertheless, the Lefties are angry. I’d say “on the warpath,” as my supposedly Cherokee ancestors might have said, but that would be insensitive.

Rachel Dolezal is a threat to their plans for America because, if you can claim any racial identity you want, the whole system of racism will eventually fall apart. That’s why states like Virginia and Delaware had anti-“race mixing” laws before the Supreme Court struck down such laws in 1967: So-called interracial marriages would break down the barriers between the groups and create children who couldn’t easily be categorized, and people would “pass” as members of a different race.  Some 65-75 percent of the ancestors of African-Americans are from Africa—remember that Sally Hemmings was at least 75 percent white—so, given the desire to escape discrimination, “passing” was not uncommon. It’s estimated that, during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, perhaps one-fifth of African-American men “passed” at some point.

[Indeed, although the percentage of “Negroes”/blacks/”colored”/African-Americans recorded in the U.S. Census has supposedly increased from ten percent in 1900 to 12 percent today, that probably represents a real decline, because the old numbers were artificially depressed and the new numbers may be exaggerated. Today, the onetime incentive for blacks to “pass” as white (or American Indian) when answering the Census is gone. And, today, the Census Bureau, which used to miss lots of blacks, makes a special effort to count groups such as blacks that the Bureau hopes will vote Democrat.]

I should note that, although most “passing” involved blacks passing themselves off as white, there were exceptions. Some white prostitutes in New Orleans passed themselves off as octaroons, one-eighth black, in order to seem more exotic. Some whites married to blacks passed as black to get around the marriage laws and to avoid being targeted by the Klan. Some blacks or partially black people passed themselves off as American Indian in order to get a step up in the hierarchy. (For this reason, many people with, for example, “Cherokee” ancestry actually have African-American ancestry.) And then there’s Iron Eyes Cody, the iconic American Indian from TV and movies who turned out to have been a man of Italian descent named Espera DeCorti.

When it was revealed that now-Senator Elizabeth Warren had advanced in her career by claiming “two-fer” status—claiming to be an American Indian (which she wasn’t) as well as a woman (which she was)—the Left yawned. Timothy Noah of the left-wing The New Republic (at ) ridiculed the “birther-like contention that Warren isn’t really part Native American [sic] at all” and claimed that Warren is absolved from charges of hypocrisy because she supports “affirmative” racial discrimination.

. . . Warren may have used her Native American [sic] ancestry to get ahead in the cutthroat world of legal academia. We don’t know that she did, and she says she didn’t. But let’s assume she’s lying and that she did make an effort to inform potential employers that she was part Native American. That would be hypocritical if Warren were known to oppose affirmative action. But Warren, a liberal Democrat, almost certainly supports affirmative action.

See how the definition of hypocrisy is turned on its head?

It’s hypocrisy when you support a policy that benefits yourself while claiming that you support it because it benefits society. Wal-Mart supports a higher minimum wage because it would put the company’s competitors out of business, but claims that it does so for the good of the workers. Elizabeth Warren, who became a millionaire off “affirmative” discrimination, claims that she supports that policy in order to ensure fairness.

In the mind of Progressives, Elizabeth Warren, who claimed falsely to be an Indian, should be president, and Rachel Dolezal, who seems to be sincere in considering herself black, is a monster for lying about being black, but not for the other lies.  Also, Rachel Dolezal is “Caucasian” no matter what she says or thinks, but anyone who suggests that Caitlyn Jenner isn’t a woman is a bigot.

Welcome to Progressive World.



For a previous post on race, see

P.S. Jefferson said of religion, “[I]t does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” I apply that pocket-and-leg rule generally, so I’m sympathetic to Jenner, who’s clearly sincere and, as a human being, should be treated with respect.

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