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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 10, 2012/ 18 Iyar, 5772

Chameleon Nation

By Victor Davis Hanson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sometimes a trivial embarrassment can become a teachable moment. It was recently revealed that Harvard professor and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren had self-identified as a Native American for nearly a decade -- apparently to enhance her academic career by claiming minority status. Warren, a blond multimillionaire, could not substantiate her claim of 1/32 Cherokee heritage. (And would it have reflected any better on her if she could have?) Instead, she fell back on the stereotyped caricature that she had "high cheekbones."

Not long ago, University of Colorado academic Ward Churchill was likewise exposed as a fraud in his claims of Native American ancestry. This racial con artist was able to fabricate an entire minority identity and parlay it into an activist professorship otherwise not possible for a white male of his limited talent.

In the Trayvon Martin murder case, the media was intent on promulgating a white oppressor/black victim narrative as proof of endemic white prejudice that still haunts America and thus requires perpetual recompense.

However, a glitch arose when it was learned that Zimmerman had a Peruvian mother. By university and government diversity standards, he could be characterized as a "minority." That bothersome fact threatened to undermine the entire hyped narrative of white-on-black crime. So the panicked media coined a new hybrid term for Zimmerman: "white Hispanic."

Note that the media has so far not in commensurate fashion referred to President Obama as a "white African-American" even though he too had a white parent. In Obama's memoirs, we learn that well into his 20s he self-identified as "Barry." Only later did Obama begin using his African name, Barack, which at some key juncture offered a more valuable cachet than did the suburban-sounding "Barry."

Is there anything wrong with such chameleon-like self-identification in an age when universities are full of hyphenated careerists and newscasters awkwardly trill their names to remind us of their particular ethnicity?

In the last 50 years, massive immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America, coupled with rapid rates of integration and intermarriage, have created a truly multiracial society. So-called whites, for example, are now a minority of the population in California, and millions of people of mixed ancestry don't identify with any particular ethnic group.

Does a Joe Lopez, the son of a white mother and a Hispanic father, "count" as Hispanic while a Joe Schmidt, the son of a Hispanic mother and a white father, does not? What about a José Schmidt?

For that answer, ask George Zimmerman. Had he applied for college admission or a certain type of job, a politically correct university or an employer pressed to meet diversity quotas mostly certainly would have dubbed Zimmerman "Hispanic."

Identities, in psychodramatic fashion, are sometimes put on and taken off, like clothes, as self-interest dictates -- given that so often they are no longer ascertainable from appearance. If that sounds crass or unfair, ask Elizabeth Warren, who dropped her Native American claims as soon as she at last received tenure and found her 1/32 con suddenly superfluous -- to the apparent unconcern of her similarly cynical but now mum employer, Harvard.

Nor is race sure proof of either poverty or past oppression. Asian Americans, for example, have a median family income more than $10,000 a year higher than white Americans. And if pigmentation is proof of ongoing prejudice, why don't darker Punjabis and Arabs -- who do not qualify for special racial preferences -- deserve consideration over those lighter-skinned minorities who do?

How long after a Mexican national crossed the border would he become a Chicano eligible for affirmative action? Do Attorney General Eric Holder's children qualify? Do 1/32 (one great-great-great grandparent) or 1/16 (one great-great grandparent) Cherokees receive preferential treatment? And if so, who administers this odious Jim Crow one-drop DNA test, and how?

In truth, after a half-century in our self-created racial labyrinth, no one quite knows who qualifies as an oppressed victim or why -- only that the more one can change a name or emphasize lineage, the better the careerist edge. The real worry is that soon we will have so many recompense-seeking victims that we will run out of concession-granting oppressors.

How odd (or rather, how predictable) that something that started out as a supposedly noble lie -- that to atone for past bias we must be judged by the color of our skin rather than the content of our character -- has become utterly ignoble and beneath us.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.


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