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A whiter shade of pale

By Bruce Walker
web posted May 14, 2012

The seediness of Elizabeth Warren's claim to be Native American naturally follows from the lockstep leftist demand for "social justice."  The term, in fact, is an oxymoron:  social justice means simply injustice just like politically correct science means really anti-science.  It has been used by some of the creepiest characters in American politics, like Father Coughlin.  The reason this nonsense persists is because it is, like nearly everything that the left touches, a racket.  It provides payoffs for those types who play along: the brutal cadre, the union thug, the political boss or, in Warren's case, the academic dilettante. 

Social justice requires treating people the same way that bureaucrats treat regulations.  Most people resent this dehumanization.  Even Americans who have been the genuine victim of bigotry prefer to retain their individuality and take pride in true accomplishments made on merit alone.  No Jews, no Greeks, no Irish, no Armenians and no Japanese pound at the door of colleges or corporations demanding that their group be represented in numbers equal to their percentage of the population. 

Which group of Americans has historically suffered the most vicious persecution on account of their creed?  The Mormons can probably make that claim.  They were driven from one part of America to another until they finally found Utah, where they could live in peace.  Mitt Romney is not laying a claim on the presidency based upon some version of social justice (nor did Jon Huntsman make that claim when he was running for the Republican nomination.)

Catholics were persecuted throughout America and were special targets of the Ku Klux Klan.  A Catholic has won precisely one presidential election in American history, when John Kennedy won 52 years ago.  Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are both Catholics, yet neither has demanded that a Catholic ought to be the next president.  These Republicans do take licks because of their creeds, but they simply ignore the weak and clammy hand of old bigotries. 

Most Americans act this way.  Nikki Haley has been hissed at because her parents are Sikhs and she was raised in their faith.  Other narrow minds have said similar things about Bobby Jindal, whose parents are Hindu.  Eric Cantor's mail doubtless includes anti-Semites.  This is the American way:  the blessings of our nation far outweigh the liberty of some to be prejudiced fools and knaves. 

Elizabeth Warren was in no sense at all "disadvantaged" to grow up with 1/32 Native American blood in Oklahoma City, where most of her classmates had more tribal blood than she did.  She does not even claim to have been the victim of bigotry, only that she is "officially" a member of a class entitled to a big helping of "social justice" perks.  So this blonde, fair-skinned woman who looks more like the Pilgrims who landed in at Plymouth Rock than the Indians who met them there greedily included her victimhood chit which would tilt the scales in her favor when she applied for an academic position or a job.

In doing this, she placed herself above the dirt poor people of Appalachia or the white sharecroppers in rural Oklahoma, who sweated in the summer sun picking cotton while Warren perused the metropolitan libraries.  But what she did, and what so many other "official" minority members did, was even worse than that.

The competition within the allocated "Native American" college admission set aside or employment "goal" set by the EEOC is tough.  When an Ivy League selection committees is given the choice of picking a well-spoken young blonde whose name could have some out of a social register and the poor child of full-blood Indian parents on a South Dakota reservation, which one will be selected? 

Thomas Sowell has noted what happened with affirmative action for Black Americans.  Some blacks were from affluent, educated, stable families – descendents of Jamaicans who spoke the King's English and had some Scottish blood, like Colin Powell – and other were one of many unattended offspring of a welfare mom on drugs.  Which officially "black" American gets picked?   

What are we to do?  We could divide minorities into subgroups.  So Colin Powell and Barack Obama would be more like "half-blacks," but anyone familiar with Nazi racial policies or the Apartheid categories of the Union of South Africa ought to grasp how ghastly that path becomes. 

What Elizabeth Warren, who would fit seamlessly into a campus cocktail party or bridge club, did is play the game of social justice simply to benefit herself alone and she did it to secure a safe and comfortable place in the public sector.  Elizabeth Warren is not just white, but in the words of the old Procul Harem song, she is "A whiter shade of pale." ESR

Bruce Walker is the author of book Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life and a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right.

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