DANIEL VAUGHAN: Fear and racial loathing in the Democratic Party

October 19, 2018

It’s hard to do anything but laugh at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) after the utterly disastrous presentation of her proof of her “Native American” heritage earlier this week. As it turns out, she may have even fewer genetic markers from Native Americans than any other white American walking the streets.

Warren and her staff woke up Monday morning thinking they would have a great day. Jonah Goldberg suggested that they may have planned on using this rollout to earn an attack from President Donald Trump and the media, all in hopes of garnering more attention ahead of Nov. 6.

That may be true. But the strange part about this entire ordeal is that we’re left asking: why is another utterly white person in the Democratic Party claiming minority status?

Elizabeth Warren, one of the whitest women in Boston, has claimed to be part Cherokee. In Texas, Beto O’Rourke is using a Hispanic nickname instead of his given name, Robert, in a bid to win over Hispanic voters from rival and incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz. And similar to Warren being rejected by the Cherokee Nation, O’Rourke was dismissed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus because he “lack[ed] Hispanic heritage.”

It all reminds me of the infamous story of Rachel Dolezal, a woman who built an entire (fake) life on the premise that she was black. She even had a job with the NAACP.

But in reality, Dolezal had as much African ancestry as Elizabeth Warren has Native American. And Dolezal is still maintaining that façade.

Typically, we expect racism to show up a straightforward way. We expect racist remarks, like those from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has advocated against “mixing cultures, and Louis Farrakhan, who has compared Jews to termites.

But what Warren and her colleagues are doing is a weird, reverse version of the profoundly racist “one drop of blood” rule that was enforced in Jim Crow states several decades ago, wherein even the slightest hint of African blood made someone impure. Now, Democrats are claiming the apparently coveted minority status if they can prove just one drop of blood.

It’s like everyone is walking around in South Park’s parody of services like Ancestry and 23andMe: in a mock “DNAandMe” commercial, which appeared in a 2017 episode of the Comedy Central cartoon, white people reacted to DNA tests with quips like: “Turns out I’m not totally white! I’m also part northern Asian and even some Kurdish. I’m a victim of oppression!”

The whole point of the service, in the show, was to allow whites to claim some form of victimhood.

Meanwhile, the real Democratic Party, whose most adamant supporters increasingly believe that “whites” are to blame for every issue out there, is putting increasing pressure on its white politicians to prove themselves as something else.

Some, like Warren and O’Rourke, have nominally pretended to be another race to fit in. But when that falls flat, it’s time to redefine what it means to be in a racial group: what does it mean to be “real black” or “real Hispanic” or “real Native American”?

Of course, the left hasn’t been consistent with their answers.

When the Cherokee Nation rejected Warren’s claims, those on the left attacked the tribe for being racist. When Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t fall in line with progressive beliefs, that made him a fake black — or worse. And when Kanye West showed his support for President Trump, CNN anchors had no problem attacking him.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said during his most famous speech: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Unfortunately, we’re doing the exact opposite of his dream.

When I wrote about the age of loneliness and how mob violence being triggered by the fear of the “other,” I noted that that fear is rooted in a central racist theme: that skin color tells you the level of privilege that a person has, and in turn, how that person should be condemned.

That’s the sentiment one woman followed when she yelled at her admittedly innocent husband over the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. And that’s the sentiment followed by the anti-Semitic man who attacked multiple Jews on the streets of New York City.

Likewise, in order to avoid being condemned for her “whiteness,” Sen. Warren is trying to be something she’s not. She knows she can’t win otherwise.

And now, we’re left arguing whether one relative, way down in the family line, makes a person a member of a minority.

This is what happens when identity overtakes character, ideas, and individual personhood. Obsession with the group identity of a person consistently results in gross prejudice.

These charades aren’t good for the long-term health of the country. We need to reassert the moral superiority of Dr. King’s dream and drop the identity politics.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

Add your best email address below to start receiving news alerts.

Privacy Policy


Daniel Vaughan

Daniel Vaughan is a columnist for the Conservative Institute and lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee. He has degrees from Middle Tennessee State University and Regent University School of Law. His work can be found on the Conservative Institute's website, or you can receive his columns and free weekly newsletter at The Beltway Outsiders. Connect with him on Twitter at @dvaughanCI.