Mixed-race People With the ‘Wrong Mix’ in a Mixed-up Identity-politics Time – JP


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Here’s a thought exercise: Ask yourself whether historians 100 years hence might write the following lines about a late, great United States:

“The U.S. was a society obsessed with racial identity. Racial categories influenced whether a person could get or retain a job in the civil service, become a member or a leader in certain organizations, or an officer in the army.”

Now consider that this line was written by a historian, at Oxford Academic — while talking about Nazi Germany. I just altered it somewhat, substituting “The U.S.” for “Nazi Germany,” “identity” for “purity,” “influenced” for “determined,” and “certain organizations” for “Nazi organizations.”

If that doesn’t give you pause about the identity-politics road we now tread, ponder a Friday article titled “What happens when mixed-race people don’t have the right mix.” Published at AsAmNews, it tells the story of Hawaii resident Taylor Miyashiro, whose “ethnicities include Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Portuguese, Filipino, Chinese and Irish,” relates author Allyson Pang.

Yet Miyashiro finds that, Pang continues, “she is disqualified from benefitting from scholarships meant to uplift those communities because she isn’t the right mix.”

Pang then provides an example:

Organizations like the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) filter through over 200 scholarships to match and award eligible students, often based on their ethnicity.

When preparing to fill out a scholarship specific to being Filipino, she felt stumped about what to write because it asked for personal experiences from within the culture. Miyashiro said she grew up closer to her Native Hawaiian ancestry than her other ethnicities, including Filipino.

“There’s also an expectation,” Miyashiro said to AsAmNews. “If you’re this race, you also have to know a hundred percent of the culture…and have it apply to you in some way.”

Miyashiro said that the application questions couldn’t be answered by doing research, it had to be lived experience.

(“Lived experience” is another one of those odd modern terms, a bit like “biological male.” Is there such a thing as “un-lived experience”?)

Pang then presents a second example, writing that another “program is the Hawaiian Home Lands Homestead Lease, which is a 99-year housing lease with an annual rent of one dollar per year.” Great deal, huh?

Except that to “be accepted, applicants are required to have 50% or more of Native Hawaiian blood; a rule that has gone unchanged since 1921,” adds Pang. “For the family of the applicant to keep the house, depending on the relation, they must have 25% to 50% Hawaiian blood. Otherwise, the lease cannot be succeeded.”

Now, one could wonder how the above Homestead requirements are constitutional (14th Amendment?) and could withstand civil-rights lawsuits. It seems likely that few want to question them because of political correctness relating to Hawaii’s “unique history” (some indigenous Hawaiians complain of “stolen land”). But would this neither-fish-nor-fowl standard make sense? Hawaii is either part of the U.S. or it isn’t. Hawaiians apparently desire statehood, too, as only about six percent of them want independence.

Yet less cut-and-dried is racial/ethnic identity. If a person is “only” 49.9 percent “of Native Hawaiian blood,” he apparently doesn’t qualify for Homestead preferential treatment. Or maybe he will if the arbiter is feeling generous or likes the individual, or if the applicant knows somebody.

So perhaps those future historians will also be able to write about today’s America that “genealogical practices assumed an unprecedented importance” and that “the regulations and requirements for a satisfactory proof of ancestry changed and varied depending on a person’s individual circumstances.”

Oh, if you guessed that the above quotations also came from that Oxford Nazi history article, you’re right.

Our identity politics’ intense racialism was noted by many commenting on Pang’s article, too. “That is the inherent flaw in selecting by race, which is totally racist,” reads one top-rated remark. “Many bright young folks ended up being excluded from their dreams.” “If we aren’t supposed to be racist any longer,” asks another respondent, “why is anything still based on race?”

Yet another commenter responded to Pang’s observation that Hawaii’s mixed-race nature gives its kids a more “nuanced and complicated” conception of race. “Hawaii may be multiracial but it’s one of the most racist society’s [sic] around,” the person wrote. “If you’re not a native Hawaiian, you don’t count.”

Radio-show giant Michael Savage once noted likewise. While he finds Hawaii beautiful, he said he left the state because he didn’t want his son enduring its all-too-common anti-white prejudice. This sometimes involves hurling the word haole, which can be a pejorative for white people and translates into “no breath.” There even once was an issue with a “Kill Haole Day” in some Hawaiian schools.

This brings us to the larger matter of “white privilege.” In the little-known but well-done 1960 film I Passed for White, a young woman takes great pains to hide her half-black racial background from the man of her dreams and his family. This doesn’t happen anymore — but the reverse does.

We often mock people such as Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King, who claimed to be black; and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kay LeClaire, and Ward Churchill, who masqueraded as American Indian. First, however, this puts the lie to “white privilege” theory: Whites wouldn’t pretend to be non-white unless the latter status brought benefits.

Second, odious though some of these individuals are, they’re products of the time. After all, what you reward, you get more of — including racial statuses.

There will also be much arguing about them. This means we’ll need a really big government to sort it all out because of the tremendous “bureaucratic work involved.” And, yes, that last phrase is from the Nazi article, too.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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