Many critics have called Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren a "racist" for relating a family story about how her grandfather had "high cheekbones like all Indians do." But they're wrong. The comment wasn't "racist."
It was stupid.
In fact, it was childishly stupid. Really, it reminds one of the copout Bill Clinton disgorged when addressing his marijuana use: "I tried it, but I didn't inhale." And it should come as no surprise, either — leftists are childish.
As for the "racism" charge, many conservatives take that leaf out of the left's book because, they figure, turnabout is fair play. If a conservative had uttered Warren's words — stereotyping minority characteristics and using a politically incorrect term — he'd be Derbyshired.
But there is an irony here: If a bona fide rightist — such as yours truly — had made Warren's comment, it wouldn't necessarily be a sign of sheer stupidity. After all, I purposely don't use PC terms such as "native American" (unless I'm simply referring to a person native-born); I don't use inclusive language such as "he or she" or "chairperson"; I don't use "African-American" or "gay" (unless I mean "happy”). But I know I'm being politically incorrect; I do it purposely and accept the consequences. You see, I consider it a matter of principle because I know that the side that defines the vocabulary of a debate wins the debate.
Yet no such thing could be said about Hokumhontas Warren. She's defined by political correctness yet is still so oblivious to its tenets and prohibitions that she didn't even realize that using the term "Indian" and stereotyping a minority group's looks, even if the generalization is valid, are verboten. This, despite the fact that Warren had been a professor at Harvard, an institution where Political Correctness 101 figures prominently. So methinks we're dealing with a pretty dim bulb here.
Of course, there's no reason to believe that Hokumhontas was actually qualified for her Harvard position in the first place. Having listed herself as a "native American" in a directory of law professors for the decade prior to her affirmative-action hiring, it's all but certain that she was playing upon the female-minority quota daily double — and benefitted from it. And all this based on supposedly having had a great-great-great grandmother who was Cherokee, which would account for 1/32nd of Warren's heritage.
Yet Hokumhontas has an excuse: She didn't emphasize her Indian over her "cowpeople" heritage for career advancement. Perish the thought!
She did it to increase her prestige in social circles.
Now, the funny thing is that such status actually would give her a certain cachet among her ilk. Again, leftists are that childish. Race and ethnicity figure prominently in their world view (don't forget that "progressives" were eugenicists in the early 20th century). So they wouldn't necessarily exalt a person because of demonstrated virtue or ability, but ethnicity? Hey, invite her to the cocktail party. And give her that Ivy League professorship while you're at it!
If Hokumhontas had been a bit smarter, she would have realized that a cover-up is usually more damaging than the scandal, and she might have issued something akin to the following response:
Look, as Bill Buckley once said, "I long ago accepted the proposition that in a democracy you accept the will of the majority — unless it becomes tyrannical." And the fact is that we all have to suffer because of the ways in which the system is disadvantageous to us, so there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of the ways in which it benefits us. Thus, we can all change the system if we see fit, but until then I have to operate within it just like everyone else.Now, this wouldn't have allowed Warren to emerge totally unscathed, but it would have put the issue to bed. Sure, it's not the virtue displayed by black economics professor Walter Williams, who as a young man turned down a professorship at an Ivy League university because, as he told the interviewer, since he wasn't qualified on paper, it would be obvious he was a quota hire. But at least it would have seemed honest.
It would never occur to Hokumhontas to make my suggested statement, however. She genuinely believes in the discriminatory affirmative-action system, first of all, and, besides, even if she didn't, liberals' instinct is seldom to be honest.
Anyway, I guess if I'm to be thoroughly modern in an age in which even your sex can be whatever you like, I should accept Warren as an Indian. But, then, I wonder. Should her birth name perhaps have been Stands with Foot in Mouth? Or maybe Thieving Donkey? Did she have a remote ancestor named Chief Stupid Horse? As for me, don't think I'm going to give Hokumhontas a break anytime soon. Me smokem’ peace pipe, but me no inhale.