In selecting Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, former Vice President Joe Biden has drawn attention AGAIN to the issue of race in America. (I did not say “racism.” I said “race” – as what we are biologically and genetically – and most importantly, politically.)
In these times of Covid-19 pandemic, we are often advised to “follow the science.” Assumedly, that means we should not pay attention to the politicians and the reporters. It seems reasonable that we should preface our thinking on race with the same admonition – since biology and genetics are key sciences.
That reminder is necessary because we are dealing in the left’s brave new world in which race, ethnicity and national heritage are to be determined politically – even self-determined. This even includes gender.
Most of us common sense Americans see biological males or females based on the gender of which they were born and equipped. We see diversity based on a person’s national ancestry more than their racial classification. If you or your parents came from Italy, you are an Italian American. Same with China, Ghana, Sweden. Nigeria, Vietnam, Cuba, Colombia, Canada and on and on.
But that is not how the radical left sees things. They see us only as massive – and manageable – political interest groups based on imprecise regional or racial designations. They homogenize the world into Asian, European, African and Latin – juxtaposed to those they call White people. Today, they advance that notion even further – declaring that the nation – nay, the world — is divided into two amorphous groups – those awful White folks (basically of European extraction) and people-of-color. Forget the fact that there is no rational basis by which such broad designations can be determined. The human race is far too complex for such simplistic categorization.
But then again, radical progressives do not deal with the real world. Their entire philosophy is based on an irrational “belief” system. What you believe you are is more determinant than your genitalia or your nation of origin. If you are Swedish but believe you are Black, so be it. If you believe that Asians, Africans, Hispanics and Native Americans are all the same monotone people-of-color, then it is politically so.
We can recall Rachel Dolezal, the Caucasian-born lady who changed her appearance and passed for Black — and served as president of the Spokane, Washington NAACP. Rather than view her action as a form of racial fraud, many on the left – including a number of Black leaders — said that she was legitimately Black because she took on the role – sort of an acceptable real-life blackface. That is left-wing logic.
You might also recall how some Black Democrat leaders declared that President Clinton was the first Black president because he lived a Black-experience life – essentially raised in poverty by a single mother. A lot of Black leaders embraced that notion even as they contrarily claim that NO White person can possibly know what it is to be Black. That is more left-wing logic.
In the 1960s, Jesse Jackson declared that anyone who looks black enough – or can claim some Negro ancestor in the family tree – should be henceforth known as an African American. No more Ghanaians, Ethiopians and no more Negroes. No more colored people – as was the informal polite designation at the time (just think National Association of Colored People). No more Jamaican Americans, like my adopted daughter – and Harris’ father. No more Haitian Americans. No More dark-skinned Cuban or Mexican Americans. No more assimilated Americans. If you look Negro or have a Negro ancestry – as I do (1 percent) – you can be African American. That’s it! No need to comply with any biological or genetic realities – or cultural realities.
If you think it is illogical to automatically call anyone with 50 percent possible Negro ancestry (President Obama) an African American — or someone with even as little as 25 percent possible Negro ancestry (Senator Harris) an African American – you have to understand that this is not anything new with the Democratic Party. In those terrible days when Democrats held hegemony over the old south, they believed that even one drop of Negro blood made the person a sub-specie to be enslaved and oppressed by their self-proclaimed higher forms of humanity. Back then, I would have been one of those sub-species.
That was more than just a matter of prejudicial social attitude. In the early years of the 1900s – even after slavery had been long abolished – the Democrat leaders in the south actually passed laws that declared anyone with one percent Negro blood is to be (politically) designated as a Negro. Folks like me were said to have a “n****r in the woodpile.”
Jackson was terribly – and I mean terribly – successful in creating a new political culture – a political interest group parading as an ethnic group. Jackson stopped assimilation – the melting pot – dead in its tracks, just as his fellow Democrats had been doing for hundreds of years through the oppressive segregation and systemic racism that we still see in our major cities. Suddenly, Negro Americans started taking on African clothing styles, hairdos, names, holidays and even a “national” anthem. It was the birth of neo-tribalism that we see today in the political correctness and identity politics that form the foundation of the modern left and the Democratic Party they control.
The politically correct elite have imposed the same cultural amalgamation on our brothers and sisters from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia and all points south. They are all Hispanics according to the left-wingers. And the left even wants to erase the gender distinctions No more Latinos and Latinas. No more señor or señora. They are now all Latinx.
(I must digress. If I were from one of those Spanish-speaking nations, I would really hate the term “Latinx.” “X” commonly denotes something eradicated. Something that no longer has meaning. Oh! Maybe that is exactly what the radical left means. Your real nationality and gender no longer matter. Okay. I now get it.)
Oh, wait! Those folks south of the border are not even Hispanic anymore according to the radical left. They are people-of-color – part of the great not-White world. No more Chinese, Vietnamese or Indians. No more Egyptians or Iranians. Just a huge mass of cultureless people who are not White.
We had a President who was half Caucasian and half Negro, so he is politically declared to be an African American. The once proper term was Mulatto or Mulatta. (There we go again with recognizing gender differences.) Those expressions of reality ran afoul of political correctness many years ago. Even mixed ancestry is no longer applied even though that is the most appropriate designation.
So, what about Senator Harris?
In fact, she is predominantly Indian. She is at least one-quarter Caucasian and likely less than one-quarter Negro – although her paternal side is more correctly defined as Jamaican. Like my Jamaican daughter, Harris’ ancestral ties to Africa were severed hundreds of years ago. Interestingly, Harris’ father is the descendent of Hamilton Brown, an Irish slave owner in Jamaica. Therefore, his percentage of African Negro DNA is uncertain.
For all intents and purposes, Harris is half Indian and half Jamaican. She is in no meaningful way African American. She is mixed ancestry and basically an assimilated American.
In the media, Harris is also routinely described as Black – a designation that has no specific national origin or real culture. Like Hispanics, Asians or Whites, Black covers a multitude of African nationalities and cultures – quite different nationalities and cultures. Harris – and the Democrats – are incorrectly and crassly misidentifying Harris for political purposes. She is marginally African if you go back centuries. If you rely on biology and genetics rather than politics, Harris is mixed culture.
For more than 200 years, the designation “Black” in America referred to folks with predominant Negro ancestry – unless you consider the Democrats’ racist one-percent laws as having any scientific or genetic validity. But during years of American slavery, the national origins and different cultures were lost. Though denied the freedom and the rights of citizenship, those enslaved and later segregated were Americanized. They were generations away from their African roots. They became more and more assimilated over the years despite Democrat efforts to lock them into an arbitrary political culture of inferior status.
The left advances another politically divisive concept known as “cultural appropriation” – taking on the fashions or even cooking the foods of other ethnic groups. No more dressing up like a Native American for Halloween or serving chop suey if you are not Chinese. Participating and sharing are taboo to the crazies on the left.
As Jenni Avins wrote in The Atlantic magazine, cultural appropriation had “Jumped from academia into the realm of Internet outrage and oversensitivity.”
She added: “Self-appointed guardians of culture have proclaimed that Miley Cyrus shouldn’t twerk, white girls shouldn’t wear cornrows, and Selena Gomez should take off that bindi. Personally, I could happily live without ever seeing Cyrus twerk again, but I still find many of these accusations alarming.”
(If you are not familiar with this latest bit of left-wing lunacy, look up “cultural appropriation” on Google.)
Now many of these same left-wingers are supporting a candidate that is culturally appropriating the African culture even though her membership – and her personal history – are incompatible with the Negro genetics or the Black experience. Her most significant association with the American Black culture arguably is the sending of more young Black men to prison than virtually any other attorney general since Democrats controlled Dixie.
First of all, we should not be focused on skin color – or these politically concocted racial groupings. Harris is a politician with a record and a progressive viewpoint. THAT is what matters. And we should especially not be creating a false ethnic identity for any purpose – especially for cynical political advantage. As Martin Luther King so wisely admonished, we should not judge on the skin color, but on the content of character.
My approach to diversity is to recognize and respect people for who and what they really are. I love sharing the food, music, history and traditions of real SPECIFIC cultures. I do not believe it is diversity when you cobble together masses of people into large amorphous interest groups based on skin color – groupings that eradicate their more important distinctive cultures, ethnic backgrounds or ancestral heritages. People-of-color have no distinctive language, food, clothing or history – and they do not even look remotely alike.
None of these homogenized racial divisions make any sense – culturally or scientifically. But of course, the only relationship between liberals and logic is that they both begin with “L.” To my mind, Harris is a basic American of mixed ancestry who should be judged only on her resume, her record and her policies by everyone of every background.
So, there ‘tis.