A Puzzling Thing about American Culture and Racial Identity

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As I continue to work on my forthcoming book on racial classification law in modern America, I often notice tangential but fascinating issues.

Here's one. Consider an American who grows up with two white parents, "looks" white, always considers himself white, and assumed all his ancestors were European. He gets into genealogy and in the course of his research discovers that a great-grandfather was a light-skinned, mixed-race-by-descent African-American who "passed" as white and married a woman of European descent. This upends his entire sense of identity. He begins reading up on black history and culture and, over time, starts going out of his way to make black friends, attends a predominately African-American church, and eventually considers himself part of the African-American community and identifies himself as an African American. My sense is that while some people would find this transformation strange, few would consider his new identity fraudulent or illegitimate.

Then consider the case of Rachel Dolezal. She grew up with two white parents, looked white, and so on, but she had adopted black siblings with whom she commiserated, did not get along with her parents, and decided to adopt an identity as an African-American woman. From all accounts I've read, she adopted this identity sincerely, not to game affirmative action or otherwise take advantage of the system. Unlike my first example, she was widely denounced and mocked as a fraud.

I've been puzzling over whether there is some reason beyond racial essentialism (i.e., that your racial ancestry 'matters' in some concrete way, a view generally considered racist) why these cases are different. Is it because Dolezal hid her background? Because she worked for the NAACP and thus took a job away from a "real" black person?

If so, let's say neither of these things were true. Let's say we were talking about James McBride's (The Color of Water–an excellent book, by the way) mother, a white woman who married a black man and, judging from the book, fully integrated into the African-American community. If over time she had come to consider herself an African American, does the fact that she didn't happen to have a black ancestor important? If she discovered that she had a distant African-American ancestor, would that make things different? If so, why?

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  1. “My sense is that while some people would find this transformation strange, few would consider his new identity fraudulent or illegitimate.”

    The ones who do consider it fraudulent would be extremely vocal about it though, and if he was a person of some notoriety it would get a lot of play in the media

    The new racial essentialism is that its not ancestry that matters, per se, but rather the shared cultural experiences that come with that ancestry (just as racist IMO, but it will take us several more decades to figure that out as a society) And since your hypothetical white man grew up white, he didn’t have any of the cultural experience of growing up black

    1. Precisely, and this is why Rachel Dolezal is a fantastic litmus test for identity politics. Many people reflexively object to what she did, but identifying “why” typically uncovers an essentialist understanding of race.

      1. This discussion is getting difficult to follow without people defining what they mean by “essentialist understanding of race”. The concept has changed over time. To the extent the two examples are different, there’s a simpler explanation. The person attempting to claim identity politics tied to some racial category has the burden of proof, and fewer people feel comfortable challenging that person’s claim if they have some threadbare basis for asserting ties to a racial group.

        I think Professor Bernstein is wrong that “few would consider his new identity fraudulent or illegitimate” even in the first example. I think many people would, in fact, find the new identity fraudulent or illegitimate, especially in identity politics/culture war circles.

        1. Some years ago, UMass Amherst decided to create an “Asian-only” dormitory floor. Not just people who were interested in Asia but who were ethnically Asian — moving them there without their permission, and then refusing to let their non-Asian roommates follow them.

          This was in a more innocent time, before Massachusetts started re-issuing birth certificates — and when I asked the administrator in charge of this how she knew who was “an Asian”, she said it was on their birth certificates.

          OK, I responded, how about someone who was adopted — all that person has is an adoption certificate, the person’s birth parents and hence race are sealed.

          Her response was priceless: Initially they would take the student on his word, but if the student didn’t meet “Asian cultural norms” they would then conclude that he wasn’t Asian and kick him off the floor.

          I couldn’t believe she was that explicitly racist — I still can’t.

          1. How many is “Some years ago”? Why do you always talk so fucking cryptically. Are you talking about the Asian Cultural House? Why is “Asian-only” in quotation marks? Are you referencing a quote?

            Setting aside the fact that the entire story is made up, you’ve just made up an anecdote that purports to reveal some person as being “explicitly racist”. Yet you still don’t believe it? Is this a rare admission that even you are no longer buying Dr. Ed’s persistent bullshit?

            1. It was in the 1990s, it was the Fourth Floor of Dwight Hall, and it was well documented in media that you ought to be able to find on Nexis if you look.

              I’m sending Professor Volokh the name of the (now retired) UM Administrator and he can exercise his discretion as to if he thinks it should be posted or not. I forwarded what she said to several national organizations — and she knows that I did, which is why I honestly don’t think she’d be stupid enough to make an issue of her name being posted, but there are also ethical issues, and I defer to the Professor’s judgment.

              The fact that she actually said what she did surprised me — I knew that it was true but I just didn’t think that she’d actually admit it…

              And as to “bullshit”, that, my friend, is libelous. No, I’m not going to sue you over it, but it still is libelous and if you have a scintilla of personal integrity, the fact that I can produce the name of a real UM administrator who really said this ought to bother your conscience.

              As an aside, the United Asia Cultural Center had nothing to do with this — that was (is) a completely different entity, funded by and run by a completely different portion of Student Affairs, and — believe it or not — I was friends with the woman running it.

              Dwight was a “Residential Academic Program” coming out of Housing Services instead of the UACC which came out of the Campus Activities Office — a completely different bureaucracy.

              1. I searched and found one op-ed. That’s not “well documented”. Waiting on you to substantiate one of your endless bizarre claims.

                I don’t take personal integrity lessons from congenital bullshitters.

    2. The new racial essentialism is that its not ancestry that matters, per se, but rather the shared cultural experiences that come with that ancestry (just as racist IMO, but it will take us several more decades to figure that out as a society) And since your hypothetical white man grew up white, he didn’t have any of the cultural experience of growing up black

      Some feminists make an equivalent argument about transgender women: regardless of how the latter feel about themselves, they simply didn’t have the experience of growing up being treated the way women are treated. (Because transgender is the new pet issue of the woke, the feminists who say this are labeled TERFs and are considered to be bigots.)

  2. So we must allow people to identify as any gender, but can’t allow them to identify as any race?

    Seems as logical as a lot of stuff nowadays.

    1. “So we must allow people to identify as any gender, but can’t allow them to identify as any race?

      Seems as logical as a lot of stuff nowadays.”

      It’s due to the fact that we have many of these “cross-discipline” programs that combine things like Psychology, Literary Theory, Philosophy, and some of the nuttier parts of Linguistics.

      Gender dysphoria, for example, is a real thing and should be studied by people using rigorous methodologies.

      But it’s being largely defined by gender theorists who have convinced people that in order to treat people with this condition with respect, we have to reject the concept of biological sex and accept that someone’s sex is whatever they say it is.

      Race theorists haven’t done the same thing with race because that wouldn’t advance their agenda.

      1. “But it’s being largely defined by gender theorists who have convinced people that in order to treat people with this condition with respect, we have to reject the concept of biological sex and accept that someone’s sex is whatever they say it is.”

        I’d ask why we don’t treat other dysphorias that way, but I’m afraid that we will soon be assisting anorexics in starving themselves to death.

        1. “I’d ask why we don’t treat other dysphorias that way, but I’m afraid that we will soon be assisting anorexics in starving themselves to death.”

          It’s because the Gender Studies folks, who are openly activist-scholars, see a benefit in deconstructing gender in this manner.

          People don’t see the benefit in doing the same thing for race, or eating for that matter.

          1. You don’t have to be a Gender Studies activist-scholar to see how constructed the idea of ‘women do X, Y and Z’ and ‘men do A, B, and C’ is. And once you see that trans folk pose little problems.

            Btw, how is it going calling a co-worker Bubba today?

            1. “You don’t have to be a Gender Studies activist-scholar to see how constructed the idea of ‘women do X, Y and Z’ and ‘men do A, B, and C’ is”

              Of course not. And normal people respond to that by saying, hey, women can do A, B, and C if they want, and men can do X, Y, and Z if they want.

              You don’t respond to it by telling Kindergarteners, “Hey, if you like to do X, Y, and Z, you might be a girl even if your parents and your doctor say you’re a boy.”

              “Btw, how is it going calling a co-worker Bubba today?”

              The one co-worker I talked to didn’t notice. But maybe we can round out the experiment.

              Since you’re insisting that people get to be called whatever they prefer, regardless of the preferences of the speaker, maybe you can ask your co-workers to address you as, “Queen Mightycrotch” and let me know how that goes. It’ll be fun to compare notes!

              1. Some people don’t experience doing gender expectations as very pleasant and they think, I’m more comfortable being the other thing. That’s really no different than people who say they don’t like being brunnettes and changing their hair color or they don’t like their nose and getting rhinoplasty. It’s folks like you that seem to want to make it a big deal.

                btw, you are certainly full of shit about the experiment. You know full well you are not going to call a co-worker by a name different than they go by consistently because they will of course see you as a jerk and eventually show you the door.

                1. “Some people don’t experience doing gender expectations as very pleasant and they think, I’m more comfortable being the other thing.”

                  Sure. Same thing with race and nationality. But nobody thinks that actually makes them the other thing.

                  “You know full well you are not going to call a co-worker by a name different than they go by consistently because they will of course see you as a jerk and eventually show you the door.”

                  Prove it, Queen Mightycrotch.

                  1. Are you a follower of Confucius? You seem to be hell bent on the Rectification of Names.

                    Again, you’re totally full of shit, you’re not going to call a co-worker or friend by a name they don’t prefer because to do such is to be a complete asshole, and you’re not so autistic as to not get that. You’re trying to prove an abstract point that you would never live yourself.

                    1. “Again, you’re totally full of shit,”

                      No, you’re full of shit. You know full well that your coworkers aren’t going to be shown the door if they decline to call you “Queen Mightycrotch” on request, and people won’t think your boss is an asshole if he declines to call you “Mr. Smith” if that form of address is not conventional in your environment.

                      Your claim that people get to choose how they prefer to be called is doing way too much work. You are correct that it is customary in many US environments to call people the way they prefer to be addressed, and violating customs is frowned upon.

                      But even in those environments, that custom quickly dissipates if people feel that you are going beyond mere preference for a name and trying to get people to substantively say things they don’t wish to say.

                    2. ” You are correct that it is customary in many US environments to call people the way they prefer to be addressed, and violating customs is frowned upon.”

                      Holy shit, you actually are on the spectrum, aren’t you?

                    3. “Holy shit, you actually are on the spectrum, aren’t you?”

                      Lol. You actually are Kirkland!

                    4. Dude, you’re talking about what for most people is normal behavior like Lt. Commander Data.

                    5. “Dude, you’re talking about what for most people is normal behavior like Lt. Commander Data.”

                      If you think there is a single “normal behavior” with respect to this, you have very narrow life experience.

                      In the military, you don’t get to choose how you wish to be called. Same with law enforcement, in many situations people will call you “Officer Jones” or “Station Supervisor Johnson” whether you want to be called “Steve” or not.

                      Have you ever lived in another country that has more formal modes of interaction than we do? Ever spoken another language where using certain pronouns might indicate a level of familiarity that the speaker might not be comfortable with, even if the addressee is?

                      You’re typical leftist, you assume you’re narrow range of experience is simply universal, and anybody who has a broader range of experience must be autistic.

            2. Yeah, my wife likes shooting, and I enjoy cooking, but neither of us is confused about our gender, or interested in surgically faking the opposite gender.

              Nobody calls themselves “trans” because of their choice of hobbies, or profession.

              1. It’s more of a culmination of that kind of thing. Have you actually talked to a trans person about why they made the decision?

                1. Have you talked to an anorexic about why they’re dieting?

                  1. You’re begging the question. Being trans is only ‘unhealthy’ because people like you treat it as such.

                    1. “Being trans is only ‘unhealthy’ because people like you treat it as such.”

                      Being in distress over the configuration of your genitals to the point where you want to surgically alter them, affecting reproductive function any many other things, is only unhealthy if people treat is as such?

                    2. Do you feel the same intense feelings about Rhinoplasty?

                    3. “affecting reproductive function ”

                      Jesus, biology is destiny type here.

                    4. No, the clinical evidence is that, even when “passing”, the gender dysphoric have a terrifyingly high rate of suicide and depression.

                      The problem here is that dyphorias, the tendency to perceive yourself as something you objectively aren’t, are not cured by altering the body to conform to the disturbed perceptions. Dieting doesn’t cure anorexia, anorexics are perfectly capable of starving themselves to the point of organ failure while remaining convinced that they are obese. BID, similarly, is not cured by amputating your leg.

                      So it should come as no shock that the symptoms and adverse consequences of gender dysphoria do not go away as a result of surgery, hormone treatments, or cross dressing.

                    5. ““affecting reproductive function ”

                      Jesus, biology is destiny type here.”

                      I don’t know what they told you in Gender Studies class, but a sex-change operation involves biology and affects your ability to reproduce.

                    6. “Jesus, biology is destiny type here.”

                      Some times biology IS destiny. Sucks, I know, but it’s the truth.

                      Maybe someday they’ll be able to do whole-body gene surgery, nanotech cell herding, and neurological rewiring, and genuinely turn a guy into a girl, or visa versa. Can’t do that now, that’s for sure.

                    7. “Do you feel the same intense feelings about Rhinoplasty?”

                      In a case where Rhinoplasty was medically necessary due to body dysphoria? Absolutely.

                      And if someone were very distressed because she felt her breasts were too small, I certainly wouldn’t tell her that she was a big-breasted woman in the wrong body and encourage her to get a boob job.

                      And I certainly wouldn’t want people asking Kindergarteners if they thought that their nose was too big, and telling them that they were were a small nosed-person in a big-nosed person’s body.

                    8. “the clinical evidence is that, even when “passing”, the gender dysphoric have a terrifyingly high rate of suicide and depression.”

                      This reminds me of the argument against gay marriage-those people are so promiscuous!

                      Do you feel similarly worked up when brunnettes pass as blondes or when people get nose jobs?

                    9. “but a sex-change operation involves biology and affects your ability to reproduce.”

                      I guess I’m not surprised that you miss the point, but who cares if your ability to reproduce is affected, unless you think we have to follow our biology to be happy. We’re fairly beyond that, and you would think a *liber*tarian would be happy about that.

                    10. “And if someone were very distressed because she felt her breasts were too small, I certainly wouldn’t tell her that she was a big-breasted woman in the wrong body and encourage her to get a boob job. ”

                      So, if your friend gets a boob job, will you refuse to put up any pictures of her with the new boobs, insisting that her *real* boobs are small?

                    11. “So, if your friend gets a boob job, will you refuse to put up any pictures of her with the new boobs, insisting that her *real* boobs are small?”

                      I’d put up all sorts of pictures, but I doubt it would be controversial to say that her boobs weren’t real.

                    12. “…but who cares if your ability to reproduce is affected…”

                      Uh, this may come as a shock to you, but some people care about their ability to reproduce.

                    13. Uh, this may come as a shock to you, but some people care about their ability to reproduce.

                      And some don’t, or care about other things more. So what?

                    14. “I’d put up all sorts of pictures, but I doubt it would be controversial to say that her boobs weren’t real.”

                      Would you insist on saying this with her around? How about with the Rhinoplasty person, you’re going to insist when on putting up only pictures of her with the old nose? Sarah, that’s not your *real* nose, you know?

                    15. “Do you feel similarly worked up when brunettes pass as blondes…”

                      I don’t think people have a hair color identity that can differ from their biological hair color, if that’s what you’re asking.

                      And of course, when a blonde changes her hair color to brown, the white-out on her monitor doesn’t magically disappear.

                    16. “And some don’t, or care about other things more. So what?”

                      You asked if it was healthy that someone was so distressed about their genitals that it was medically necessary to change them, which has all sorts of repercussions.

                      You’re treating a sex change operation as if it were simply elective surgery to change one’s genitals, something that, I think, people with gender dysphoria would be the first to tell you is not true.

                    17. “I don’t think people have a hair color identity that can differ from their biological hair color,”

                      I hope you don’t work at the DMV (“What’s your hair color?” “Blonde” “Nu-uh honey, I see them roots, mark it brown!”).

                      “You’re treating a sex change operation as if it were simply elective surgery to change one’s genitals”

                      I think it’s similar in that 1. it’s the persons choice and 2. I’d respect that choice rather than oddly insisting the change didn’t happen.

                    18. “begging the question”
                      QA,
                      Please don’t perpetuate the ignorance of the actual meaning of this phrase.
                      You meant, “avoiding the question”. Use the conventional English understood world over.

            3. You don’t have to be a Gender Studies activist-scholar to see how constructed the idea of ‘women do X, Y and Z’ and ‘men do A, B, and C’ is. And once you see that trans folk pose little problems.

              But that’s backwards. It’s the transgender ideology that buys into those constructions. Pre-transgender feminism said, “Those notions are wrong. Women can do A, B, and C too.” Transgender ideology says, “No, if you do those things you might ‘really’ be a man.”

              1. If you have no problem with a man doing X, Y and Z that are associated with women then it’s just a hop skip and a jump to having no problem with a man presenting entirely as a woman.

                My point is, why should I or you care about either situation? The answer is often, well it’s when they want me to….refer to them as women or let them have the options women have and, absent a few situations (sports for example) I just see no harm in that.

                1. A man presenting as a woman (by doing X, Y, or Z) is not the same thing as a man insisting he really is a woman, needs hormone therapy and reconstructive surgery.

                  I hate the whole idea of masculinity vs femininity, pink is for girls and blue is for boys, girls are clean and boys are dirty… They are cultural stereotypes that differ geographically. That’s enough that most people should be given pause in discussing what men and women should be/do.

                  Should a man in a culture where dresses are things men wear conform to your idea that only women can wear dresses, and therefore he should really be a woman?

                  It’s amazing how close-minded you are.

                2. My point is, why should I or you care about either situation? The answer is often, well it’s when they want me to….refer to them as women or let them have the options women have and, absent a few situations (sports for example) I just see no harm in that.

                  I mean, you acknowledge there are a few situations where it’s an issue. There are obviously some people who have religious objections, but I think for most people in most situations, it’s generally not a problem. But at the same time, people don’t want to be denounced as bigots because they used the wrong pronoun or used someone’s birth name or because they rolled their eyes at ridiculous arguments that saying “women” rather than “people who can get pregnant” is “transphobic.”

    2. I self identify as a dragon and a demigod.

      My preferred pronoun is “his imperial majesty, absolute ruler of the known universe”.

      🙂

      1. I heard of an undergrad who actually did that — entering something like that into the student database and his professors HAD TO call him it.

        1. No, you didn’t.

      2. Well I identify as supreme dictator of the universe, known or not.

        1. And just how do you get your imperial decrees to the unknown parts of the universe?

          1. Radio signals. Once they’ve propagated that far, obedience is expected.

      3. Not to be rebellious or anything, but one tiny problem. That’s not a pronoun.

        1. Hey, if the LGBTQ crowd can make up their own pronouns, so can I.

  3. It depends on why you care whether or not the person is black. I don’t think that what Rachel Dolezal did was a big deal, but I don’t really care what race she is. As a bigot, I try to be more or less colorblind.

    But if someone for whatever reasons feels that a shared black experience is important, due to a sense of solidarity, etc. that person probably won’t feel a sense of solidarity with either individuals, but would at least view the gene guy as doing it for understandable reasons.

    And of course if someone cares about someone else being black due to the view that black people share common genetics, the question answers itself.

      1. Lol. Of course, we’ve known since the Barrett hearings who controls the dictionaries.

      2. Not Orwellian at all…

        1. JFC stop watering down the brand.

          1. I dunno, man. I political dispute erupts over whether or not “sexual preference” is offensive, and the next day they change the dictionary? That’s pretty Orwellian.

            1. Also, the dictionary changes the meaning of a term for treating people equally so that it has racist connotations? That’s almost on a par with changing the definition of freedom to “slavery”.

            2. We agree that you don’t know. Language does not change in a day. The incorporated definition of colorblind, now recognized by Merriam, has been in use for decades. The New Jim Crow is in its 10th anniversary edition. The mere note, which certainly does not change the definition of colorblind, is consistent with two usages that remain, including “Insensitive, oblivious” (which is also included in my 1969 dictionary, although back then the phrase “race” was not included anywhere).

              This is no different than chauvinism slowly meaning something to do with gender aggression, just because some wave of feminists though male chauvinism sounded better than sexist, or something. It may be unfortunate, or imprecise, but it’s not Orwellian.

          2. This is akin to Webster’s adding to the definition of “guarantee” language to the effect that “the person making the guarantee to you may be lying, and therefore you should suspect anyone making a guarantee as a potential, or likely, liar.” In your world that may not be Orwellian. Don’t know what to tell you.

            1. Not really. Even before race was included in the definition of colorblind, it referred to people who were indifferent (“not noticing or considering”) to colors. So for decades popular authors, using english, have used color-blindness to refer not to egalitarian treatment of races, but to the intentional indifference of people to structural or systematic racism (however defined). It’s not some new fucking thing.

              The better example is how one day not long from now, Merriam will include a definition of “triplicate” that means something like excessively bureaucratic, because that’s how it is sometimes use, and dictionaries, to the surprise of nobody, change with common usage.

              1. You believe that! Wow. “Triplicate” meaning “excessively bureaucratic” is in no way equivalent to the “A=A… but sometimes its antithesis” that the shift in “colorblind” entails. Forget the pre-racial eyesight terminology for a minute and realize that they are now saying “color blind means race-neutral… but sometimes is used to falsely conceal race-non-neutrality.”

                1. For decades, “colorblind” has already meant indifferent or oblivious to.

              2. It’s the same way that “right” can mean “correct” or “not left” or “those inalienable things,” and that’s just fine. And you could also say “riiiiight” ironically to mean “yeah, sure man, whatever.” But this is changing the definition to say “not left… but potentially also left.”

  4. Brings the movie “The Jerk” to mind.

    Both of those people are mentally ill. The former, to learn he is perhaps 1/16th, probably less, African-American, to follow that course is sick in the head. The latter even more so.

    Who cares? I only care WRT all the concessions made regarding race, concessions I see as fundamentally wrong.

    What of Elizabeth Warren? No mentally ill, but an affirmative action grifter. There’s a difference.

    1. “The former, to learn he is perhaps 1/16th, probably less, African-American, to follow that course is sick in the head.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMgaQfv2Xo8

      1. The Globe, are you kidding? They are ass-licking apologists for Warren. She has been lying about this for professional gain for over 35 years, and has lied about other things as well, and has plagiarized recipes for her contributions to “Pow Wow Chow.”

        Do your homework.

        1. Ah, so you got nothing, thanks.

          1. Don’t believe me, hear Warren’s own words:

            Elizabeth Warren Apologizes at Native American Forum: ‘I Have Listened and I Have Learned’

            SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, speaking at a presidential forum on Native American issues on Monday, offered a direct, public apology for the “harm” she caused with her past claims of Native American ancestry and pledged to uplift Native people as president.

            “Like anyone who’s being honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes,” said Ms. Warren, who was met with a standing ovation when she took the stage. “I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations that we’ve had together.”

            1. Sorry, that clearly doesn’t confirm your claim. Keep trying.

          2. New evidence has emerged Elizabeth Warren claimed American Indian heritage in 1986
            Warren identified as “American Indian” on a registration card for the State Bar of Texas, according to a Washington Post report.

            “Warren wrote she was American Indian in a 1986 registration card she filled out for the State Bar of Texas, according to a report from the Washington Post’s Annie Linskey and Amy Gardner. Gardner tweeted out a picture of the original form. Warren filled out the card after she was admitted to the bar, the Post reported. “

          3. Elizabeth Warren Entries in Pow Wow Chow Cookbook

            Boston Radio host Howie Carr discovered that three of Warren’s recipes appeared to be plagiarized[12]:

            The two recipes, “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat” and “Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing,” appear in an article titled “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat,” written by Pierre Franey of the New York Times News Service that was published in the August 22, 1979 edition of the Virgin Islands Daily News, a copy of which can be seen here.

            Ms. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing is a word-for-word copy of Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe.

            Mrs. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Cold Omelets with Crab Meat contains all four of the ingredients listed in Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe in the exact same portion but lists five additional ingredients. More significantly, her instructions are virtually a word for word copy of Mr. Franey’s instructions from this 1979 article. Both instructions specify the use of a “seven inch Teflon pan.” …

            Ms. Warren’s instructions are word-for-word copies of Mr. Franey’s 1979 instructions for this recipe, with one exception. Ms. Warren says, “Let cook until firm and lightly brown…” and Mr. Franey says “Let cook until firm and lightly browned…” [emphasis added] …

            The third potentially plagiarized recipe, “Herbed Tomatoes,” appears to be copied from this 1959 recipe from Better Homes and Garden.

            1. Again, what does this have to do with your claim that she was an affirmative action grifter?

            2. The strange think is, it looks like her husband also claimed to be Cherokee.

      2. If you look back at Warren’s university records, you will see that he has a pattern of falsifying her background just so that he employers can (for example, Harvard Law) can make false clams to EEO about the diversity of their faculty. I have not seen evidence that she attained positions by her “exaggeration” or “lie” (pick your poison), but she knowingly contributed to a false narrative from her university employers. No matter what she may have heard as a kid, she was brought up as and acted the part of an Oakie on the make.

    2. I am curious where you live. In what I will generally describe as “real America” (outside the Northeast and California) it is pretty common for people, particularly generic white (or black) Americans who can’t point to the village in Italy/Ireland/wherever whence their ancestors immigrated to believe they have an American Indian ancestor from some time in the nineteenth century. You can supposedly see it in the nose, cheekbones, tendency to tan deeply, etc. and there is usually an accompanying family tradition. Sociologists will tell you it’s also an attempt to graft oneself into history.

      I am from Virginia. My undifferentiated white mom, of the Baby Boom generation, believed this about her own ancestry. She eventually did one of those DNA tests–no dice!

      My sister married her high school sweetheart whose parents are from Oklahoma. Everybody in that family believed my brother-in-law’s mother had an Indian ancestor. Here the supporting evidence was her height. DNA test–no dice!

      This belief also used to be common among black people. Zora Neale Hurston wrote that she was the only black woman who was not the descendant of an Indian chief.

      As far as anyone has shown, Warren was among the millions of Americans who, before the ubiquity of DNA tests, genuinely believed she had Indian ancestry because that is what her family told her.

  5. The fact that one is a living, breathing human being is insufficient to confer respect, whether in America, Israel or The Vatican.

    First, you must reveal whether you are one of Us, or one of Them. Second, the jury will decide whether your statement is genuine.

    There are limited appeals, sorry.

  6. Reality is that most American Blacks are at least part Irish — in many cases, more Irish than African.

    1. O’Bama?

      1. No, dating back to slavery. Lots of slaves were raped, with pregnancies resulting. Then situations like Sally Hemmings.

  7. I personally don’t care what someone identifies themselves as or why; what I’d object to is any notion that I am obligated to treat them differently based on that identification. To give their opinion greater or lesser weight; to defer to their views and opinions despite contrary evidence. If, for example, the assertion is made that I could argue matters of race relations with white Rachel Dolezal, but the very blackness of her counterpart would immediately trump anything that I’d say on the topic. This would appear to be an “appropriated appeal to authority” in a way, no? If one assumes that one’s identity is a useful arbiter of truth.

  8. ” From all accounts I’ve read, she adopted this identity sincerely, not to game affirmative action or otherwise take advantage of the system.”

    I think you may be taking deliberately sympathetic accounts too credulously. In addition to modifying her appearance, she lied about who her father was, showing people pictures of this black guy, not her real father.

    I suppose it’s possible that she’s mentally ill, rather than defrauding people. But that’s about the only way she could “sincerely” think she was black.

    I personally find the whole episode hilarious.

    1. she could “sincerely” think she was black

      There is no objective definition of Black in post-modernism. So if you construct an identity, and you believe you are honestly living within the general accepted boundaries of that identity, then that’s being “sincere”. Even presenting an objectively false image of one’s father doesn’t impact the “sincerity”, since the identity is yours to define.

      It’s all so awfully illogical and self-serving.

  9. I don’t think this limited to race, either. Imagine someone who is adopted, and later in life finds out that both his biological parents were from Italy. So he starts telling people he is Italian-American, maybe researches his genetic roots in Italy, and Italian culture.

    Most people wouldn’t think that this is strange at all, but it would be very strange if someone did that without the genetic link.

    1. I’m on some Jewish genealogy Facebook groups. Many people on these lists have discovered they have Jewish ancestry they didn’t know about and are trying to fill in the family tree. A different phenomenon is that every once in a while someone “discovers” they “are Jewish” which in practice usually means that they are 1/4 or 1/8 Jewish by ancestry. They aren’t Jewish by Jewish law, weren’t raised Jewish, have no ties to the Jewish community, aren’t mostly Jewish by ancestry, but somehow feel like they are now Jewish, and choose to pursue it. Some of these people were Jewish-curious before, and the discovery of ancestry validates that they have some incohate connection. Some not, but I suppose there is a human urge to have connection and be part of something bigger than oneself. I think if I discovered that I had a great-grandparent who was, say, Moravian Baptist before marrying a Jew, that would make me much more curious about Moravian Baptists, but wouldn’t incline me to want to be one.

      1. Madeline Albright and John Kerry both learned late in life that they had Jewish ancestors, in both cases not all that long ago. While interesting, I don’t think either considered themselves to be Jewish or claimed any sort of Jewish identity. And, Thersa Heinz, Kerry’s wife, was born in Africa, (Mozambique) daughter of Europeans, who came to the US after finishing school in Europe in the 60’s, married two different US Senators, and I believe is now a US citizen. Is she, African, European, African-American, or something else.

        1. I have a friend who was born in Africa, and immigrated here. But somehow Afrikaners aren’t allowed to call themselves “African Americans”.

          1. Afrikaners (like everybody else) are allowed to call themselves whatever they want. It’s a free country.

          2. African American has a standard legal definition, for example on the census, which is “A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.” So Afrikaners are by government definitional fiat not African Americans, nor are Arabs, Berbers and other non-“Black” Africans.

            1. Pursuant to our Nuremburg Laws…

            2. Geez, and I always thought that Charlize Theron was my favorite African American

      2. I am pretty sure they are just doing it for the jokes.

        Gimme a schtickl of fluoride.

  10. As a fairly typical American whose family have been in the west for generations I would fail any genetic beauty contest. Part Mexican, Chileno, German, English, and Klickitat. My family would lose out in the first round of the Heinrich Himmler Racial Beauty contest as well for BIA funding.
    In my family, as in most others, it has been the women who establish customs, from food to when Christmas presents are opened. We are who we always were unless we yearn for the purity of being some sort of victim.

  11. “Would that make things different? If so, why”

    Here’s the issue. Historically, those people who had darker colored skin faced racism. Those whom could “pass” as white (or another ethnicity) typically did to the extent possible, because it was advantageous.

    Now, there is a lot of resentment/guilt/anger about past racism. Moreover, there are certain advantages to claiming minority status at certain points…whether they be monetary/fiscal advantages or social/cultural advantages. Because of this, some groups feel particularly irritated if a person who has no connection to the past racism is now “passing” (in one way or another) as an African American in order to gain some advantage. They feel it is essentially “stealing” what is due to them.

    1. Yeah, people did find Obama’s pretense of being an African American a bit tiresome, given that the closest any of his ancestors got to American slavery was selling their neighbors to slave traders to be shipped East.

      1. The funniest thing to come out of that episode in our history, is when Obama took the Churchill bust out of the Oval Office, the Brits responded by giving him a statue carved from the wood of a ship of the British Navy that patrolled the oceans to prevent the slave trade. It was a very British way to insult someone.

        1. None of this is true. The President did not move the Churchill bust from the Oval Office. The Curator’s Office removes all art lent specifically to the prior administration (as was the one lent by Prime Minister Blair to former President HW Bush). It was not President Obama’s to keep. However the idea that President Obama had some special antipathy for Britain or Churchill is also ludicrous. There’s a separate bust of Churchill in the White House Residence, or at least there was when President Obama was in office. He didn’t move that one to the Oval Office, but that’s hardly an attack on England.

  12. There are three separate issues here.

    First, race does not exist except as a social construct.

    Second, because the social construct does exist, and because people have been treated differently because of it, the law can’t just ignore that reality.

    Third, because race only exists as a social construct, there’s really no reason to not allow people to self identify as whatever they like, so long as the intention isn’t fraudulent. If someone with white skin was raised by people with black skin, and assimilated black culture, and came to identify with other black people, what’s the problem in allowing them to self identify as black?

    1. Second, because the social construct does exist, and because people have been treated differently because of it, the law can’t just ignore that reality.

      Letting the law pay attention to the social construct perpetuates and reinforces the social construct, which perpetuates and reinforces bigotry on the basis of the construct. Any law that classifies people on the basis of race is inherently and automatically a Jim Crow law, whatever the intent behind it.

      1. And not paying attention to the social construct means you’ve locked in the injustices that happened, and their consequences. It’s the equivalent of saying, “OK, so I’ve been stealing from you all these years. I promise to stop.”

        1. Except for the “I’ve” and “you” parts, yeah.

          I understand that, “OK, somebody long dead who looked a bit like me was, many years ago, stealing from somebody else long dead who looked a bit like you, but I promise not to suddenly start doing the same thing to you.” doesn’t really do it for you.

          It would be enough, though, for anybody who wasn’t at their heart a racist.

          1. Brett, I don’t know where you got the idea that the actions of one’s ancestors don’t have collateral consequences for the descendants, but they do. And candidly, you’re willing to take the benefits of what your ancestors did, so you get to take the bad with the good.

            Tell you what: Just as soon as you give up the advantages your ancestors provided you, I’ll agree to ignore the collateral consequences of the bad things they did. Deal?

            1. Tell you what: Just as soon as you give up the advantages your ancestors provided you…

              I left home with nothing but a couple of paychecks from my not-high-paying job, some clothes and an old single bed I bought at a yard sale. What advantages did my ancestors provide to me that I need to give up in order to not be saddled with the sins of my fathers?

              1. Well, Wuz, I’d need to know a lot more about your life (and your ancestors) before I can answer that question, probably a lot more than you’d be willing to share.

                As a general proposition, I get it that what is generally true of a particular group may or may not be true of an individual within that group. A white meth orphan from Appalachia is in far worse shape than the child of a black investment banker. And just in case you missed it, I’m not entirely sold on either reparations or affirmative action; I’m basically arguing in favor of them to play devil’s advocate.

                But you can’t set public policy based on individual cases. If indeed reparations and affirmative action are necessary, then the fact that it’s not a perfect fit for everybody isn’t relevant, otherwise we could have no law at all since no law is ever a 100% perfect fit for everyone.

                But you can’t make public policy based on

                1. But you can’t set public policy based on individual cases.

                  You can if it’s a rational public policy. Exactly what type(s) of “policy” were you referring to when you spoke of Brett giving up “the advantages [his] ancestors provided”?

                  1. No, you can’t set public policy based on individual cases. If you could, rather than have a bright line age of consent for sex, we would instead require the courts to decide, case by case, if this or that specific adolescent has the necessary maturity to have sex with an adult. Or, instead of setting a bright line speed limit, we would leave it up to the police and traffic courts to decide, given specific weather and traffic conditions, whether 30 is a safe speed on one day whereas 50 is safe on another. And that’s not the way law works. You set policy based on what is generally a good idea, recognizing that there will be individual cases in which it isn’t a good fit.

                    So, if reparations were actually going to happen, the theory behind them would be that opportunities, money and land were taken from blacks, in the absence of which they would be much further ahead than they are, and that they are entitled to compensation. That doesn’t mean that every white is descended from someone who exploited blacks, or that every living black is descended from someone who was exploited. However, a lot of German taxpayers who did not vote for Hitler ended up paying reparations for him too.

                    The individualistic idea that you don’t pay for collateral damage done by someone else is just not how things work.

                    1. No, you can’t set public policy based on individual cases. If you could, rather than have a bright line age of consent for sex, we would instead require the courts to decide, case by case, if this or that specific adolescent has the necessary maturity to have sex with an adult.

                      You misunderstand. What you can do is set objective, measurable criteria that individuals either satisfy or not. Things that are easier to quantify and more meaningful than their relative melanin levels.

                      And you didn’t answer my question about what it is you’re expecting Brett to give up, and to what proposed policies those relate.

                    2. You set a public policy of treating people as individuals.

                      We understand the theory here. We reject it as racist.

                      “The individualistic idea that you don’t pay for collateral damage done by someone else is just not how things work.”

                      Your collectivist notions are not how things work in a society that isn’t deeply corrupted by racist thinking, to the point where the people who style themselves “anti-racists” become as racist as any KKK member.

                      If it reaches the point in the US where reparations are viable, I’m taking my family and moving to another country.

                    3. Wuz, I agree with you (who thought I would ever type those words?) that one of the problems with reparations is figuring out an objective standard for who gets them. But that’s not the point I was addressing, which is whether it is inherently unjust to ask one group to make restitution for the damage their ancestors did to another group.

                      What I would be expecting Brett to give up, if reparations did happen, is some tax dollars to compensate the descendants of people who suffered the loss.

                      Brett, yes, I know you define it as racist, and quite frankly it’s because you’re being completely dishonest about what racism means. You smear the idea of reparations by calling it a bad name, which saves you having to do the hard work of analyzing whether it’s actually good policy.

                      And the point that you are still missing — whether or not intentionally — is that it is a law of nature that people benefit or suffer from what their parents and grandparents did. It has nothing to do with collectivism. If your grandparents worked hard and saved money which they then left you, you’re going to do better than someone whose parents left them with nothing. Right or wrong, justice or injustice, collectivist or individualist, has nothing to do with it. The kind of individualism you’re promoting, in which the laws of cause and effect have been repealed, is a fantasy.

                      That we’re even having this discussion is a function of the sins of slave traders centuries ago who brought blacks over here as slaves. They did the crime, we’re paying for it with the racial unrest that we still have.

                    4. inherently unjust to ask one group to make restitution for the damage their ancestors did to another group

                      But that’s the problem. The groups you’re identifying are not groups of individuals whose ancestors harmed the ancestors of another group of individuals. You’re rewarding and penalizing people based not on any injustices perpetrated by the forebearers of one group upon the forebearers of another, but rather based solely on their memberships in groups that are defined by the relative amounts of melanin in their skin.

                      What I would be expecting Brett to give up, if reparations did happen, is some tax dollars to compensate the descendants of people who suffered the loss.

                      But you said you expected him to give up “the advantages your ancestors provided you”. What makes you think that the tax dollars you’re proposing to rob him of are substantially the result of any ancestrally-passed-down advantages? And what of my own example that I offered? I left home with very little, and inherited nothing in the way of material wealth from my parents (only funeral expenses), and worked my arse off over the decades that followed for everything I have, just as did many of the black individuals in my field. So what advantages are you suggesting I inherited from slavery that was implemented by those who were likely not even my ancestors (slave owners were hardly a majority among white Americans during slavery)?

                    5. “is that it is a law of nature that people benefit or suffer from what their parents and grandparents did.”

                      Well, some do and some don’t. Not everyone gets a fat inheritance from the family dynasty. Some people, of all races, have parents or grandparents who are spendthrifts or addicts or whatever.

                      “It has nothing to do with collectivism.”

                      It has everything to do with viewing people not as who they are, but whether they are in some group.

                      “If your grandparents worked hard and saved money which they then left you, you’re going to do better than someone whose parents left them with nothing.”

                      If you want to propose a retroactive estate tax, then propose one – and apply it to everyone equally.

                    6. Wuz, sorry, I thought you were asking a different question than the one you actually were asking. You were referring back to my earlier comment about Brett giving up ancestral advantage; I thought you were asking what his contribution to reparations would look like. So, on the subject of ancestral advantage:

                      I was homeless from age 14 to age 16, so I didn’t get a lot of direct support from my ancestors either. But, because I’m white, neither was I subject to the vicious harassment from the police that black homeless people were, which allowed me to expend resources on getting ahead that I might otherwise have had to spend on survival. So that’s one advantage based on my skin color.

                      I had a better education than I likely would have gotten had I been black, and I dealt with teachers and counselors who, based partly on my skin color expected me to succeed and treated me accordingly, which may not have been true had I been black.

                      And I think white people tend not to notice it, but even for a white Appalachian meth orphan, things are even worse for minorities. Sure, people beat the statistical odds in both directions, but we’re talking about overall trends. If you honestly look at your life, you’ll most likely find that there were times when having white skin helped, or at least mitigated what could have been worse. Though since I don’t know either of you, I may be wrong about that.

                      So now let’s go back to reparations, which I continue to not be sold on, but since I’m playing devil’s advocate I’ll run with it: Suppose Congress passed an act saying that every black person who can demonstrate that his ancestors were here during or before Jim Crow will receive $10,000 in reparations. That’s not going to make anyone rich, but it would be a token acknowledgment that wrongs were committed, and an apology for it. Your taxes will probably go up all of a buck fifty to pay for that, but it would go a huge way toward alleviating the entirely justifiable anger that many black people feel about how their ancestors were treated. It would go a long way toward racial reconciliation. And even if it didn’t, at least the issue of reparations would then be behind us. So maybe it’s not such a terrible idea.

            2. I don’t know where YOU get the idea that long dead people can be assumed to be my ancestors based on my being unable to develop a good tan. (The freckles do multiply, though, given enough sun.)

              I don’t know about YOU, but all my ancestors entered this country (And the free state of Michigan!) after the Civil war, from countries where slavery had long been illegal. I’m a mix of French Canadian, Irish, and German. I’ve got no ancestors implicated in slavery at all, for a lot further back than Obama, or for that matter, Kamala Harris.

              Even the people in the US who had ancestors here before the Civil war, are as like to have had them on the Union side as the Confederate. Why should they owe anything, even if the US did recognize corruption of the blood? (Which it doesn’t.)

              Do you not understand that attributing guilt on the basis of race and assumed ancestry, is root stock of the very evil you’re purporting to fight? “He who hunts monsters must beware, lest he become a monster himself.” You’re looking pretty monstrous to me, Kyrcheck.

              1. It’s not “guilt”.

                Suppose your grandfather stole my grandfather’s coin collection, you inherited it, and now I’d like it back. Ignoring statute of limitations issues, if I do get it back, it’s not a matter of you being guilty of anything. Rather, it’s a matter of it rightfully belonged to my family all along.

                Plus, here’s what you’re overlooking: Suppose Congress did decide to pay reparations. Those reparations will be paid by — the taxpayers. Including any wealthy and middle class black taxpayers. So I fully expect that some upper class blacks would actually lose money on the deal.

                1. That’s a very lawyerly move from the general to the particular, an actual tangible thing compared to what what Brett is talking about. A piss poor analogy in fact. So poor, it shows that you’re against the charging of interest if you apply it to other issues.

                  1. It’s an example of the particular used to illustrate the general. Do you dispute that blacks were collectively robbed of opportunity, of wealth and of land? Unless you’re claiming it didn’t happen, it’s not that huge a leap to saying their descendants are entitled to have it back.

                    1. Sure, I dispute it. They were individually robbed, but that opportunity didn’t end up handed to anybody else, it just vanished.

                      There’s no buried opportunity you can dig up and give them, all you can do is rob different people of opportunity today.

                2. “Suppose your grandfather…”

                  I’ve already explained that my grandfather did no such thing, and your only basis of accusing me of any complicity is my race. Really, that’s about the only basis you have for accusing anybody, at this remove.

                  But, going with the hypothetical: The statute of limitations applies to the person who actually committed the crime. Again I say this: We don’t have corruption of the blood in the US!

                  ” Suppose Congress did decide to pay reparations. ”

                  It would, at this point, be a violation of the 14th amendment.

                  1. It’s not corruption of blood. It’s more like replevin.

                    1. Now, try to get a court to apply that principle to property you claim was stolen 100 years ago by somebody who looked like the person you’re demanding it from. They’ll laugh at you.

                3. “Suppose your grandfather stole my grandfather’s coin collection, you inherited it, and now I’d like it back. Ignoring statute of limitations issues, if I do get it back, it’s not a matter of you being guilty of anything. Rather, it’s a matter of it rightfully belonged to my family all along.”

                  Now explain why someone who immigrated from Russia last year owes reparations to someone who immigrated from Nigeria last year.

                  Or why an American whose ancestors belonged to one of the slave trading tribes doesn’t owe them to an American whose ancestors were captured and sold by that tribe.

                  1. They personally don’t, but if Congress decides the taxpayers should cover the loss, then it will come out of the pot into which their taxes go.

                    1. The money your hypothetical white meth orphan from Appalachia has personally managed to scrape together is going to end up being given to the child of a black investment banker to personally spend.

                    2. Absaroka, probably not since child of the investment banker is likely to pay far more in taxes than they get in reparations.

                    3. Krycheck, you seem to think that ‘construct a tax scheme that effects a net transfer from group A to group B’ is somehow a moral laundering that makes it better than telling individual members of A to physically hand dollar bills to individual members of group B. I don’t see that laundry coming out as clean as you do.

                      If you want a color blind transfer from the haves to the have-nots, that’s a different story – we already do a lot of that.

                    4. “since child of the investment banker is likely to pay far more in taxes than they get in reparations.”

                      Forgot to mention … the meth orphan was determined to not make the mistakes she saw being made around her. She enlisted, then used her GI benefits to get a nursing degree and ended up in the middle class. The son of the investment banker, alas, got used to the easy life, partied his way out of college and spends the time between cashing trust fund checks getting stoned out of his mind.

                      Your aversion to treating people as individuals still has the government taking her money to give to him.

              2. I think it works in two ways.

                One, as a *general* matter white folks are going to have advantages blacks are not. For example, a major predictor of whether you go to college is whether your parents went. Well, if you go back just two generations many blacks didn’t have that option, so it’s less likely their grandparents went to college, which means it’s less likely their parents did, which means it’s less likely they will.

                Second, you’re son is half Asian, right? I bet if you talk to him he could tell you that at times people have assumed things about him because he’s Asian. Luckily most (but certainly not all) the things people tend to assume about Asians these days are not that awful. But it’s different with blacks.

                1. Sure, as a statistical matter, on average, white people tend to have advantages black people don’t. But most of those ‘advantages’ aren’t a result of bias, they’e cultural, being raised to do things that are successful, to value learning and diligent effort. They’re not being handed success, they’re being raised to work for it.

                  Yeah, people assume things about my son. Aside from assuming he’s into martial arts, they tend to be right about them: He IS a high performing nerd with an engineer father and a Phi Beta Kappa tiger mom, who reads technical manuals for fun, and was reading at 3. Just like Dad, only with darker skin and epicanthal folds.

                  In a just world doesn’t that lead to success? Does justice require making that less successful, to raise up the people who sleep through class, or don’t even bother showing up, whose parents don’t insist they do their homework or reward academic success?

                  Does justice demand abolishing the effects of merit? I don’t think so, and I think a society that sets out to reduce the benefit of merit, ceases to gain the benefits of merit.

            3. “Brett, I don’t know where you got the idea that the actions of one’s ancestors don’t have collateral consequences for the descendants, but they do. And candidly, you’re willing to take the benefits of what your ancestors did, so you get to take the bad with the good.”

              Wow…. Just Wow…. I never guessed Krycheck would be so literally Exodus-type religious-ish here.

              1. Just to remind you Krychek, this is what you’re actually talking about, but on a multi-generational, race-wide level.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_punishment

      2. Ah, so surely you agree that the law should pay no attention to religion, either? And that all of these religious freedom bills that state legislatures are passing are actually the cause of the anti-Christian animus that their proponents assert they are trying to protect against?

    2. “race does not exist except as a social construct”

      Everybody can stop reading after that whopper, whatever else you say, that poisons it as false.

      1. Part of the theme of these Bernstein pieces is just how constructed the social construct of race really is. What’s your theory of race that takes it outside of a social construct?

        1. Our responses to race and how we define it are socially constructed, but “race” itself is not.

          1. Holy shit, you really believe that. Might want to step back and try defining this thing you believe objectively exists.

          2. You’ve made the statement that race is not a social construct with no supporting evidence.

            The burden of proof is on the person claiming that something exists. Where’s the evidence for race?

          3. Ok, so what’s your definition of “race”?

          4. Except of course that the physiological traits by which the races are supposedly define do not actually occur together in the few discreet groups that we have labeled as “races”, but vary continuously over space (and in ways that are generally independent of each other).

      2. Well, the biologists and anthropologists mostly agree with me. What’s your evidence that race exists?

        1. Argumentum ad populum. Moreover, that’s not true as well.

          There is much debate as to what is “race” and where to draw the line, if any, and are we talking DNA or what? It’s admittedly a charged subject. Some people want to deny race exists because there is obviously a continuum. However, others disagree, because denying race is a way of trying to erase differences for political reasons.

          “Race” used to define a group of people with certain common inherited features that distinguish them from other groups of people certainly does exist. Is it a useful heuristic, if not 100% accurate because of the continuum? Yes, pretty much, which is why it still exists.

          1. No, it’s not argumentum ad populum. It’s an acknowledgment that people who actually work in the field know more about it than you or I do.

            The problem is not just that it’s a continuum, although that is a problem. Rather, the problem is that it’s not even well defined. People from India have dark skin but are Aryans, so technically they’re Caucasian. What is the principled reason for why a person with dark skin of African descent is Negroid whereas a person with dark skin from the Cush is Caucasian? And there’s also the tiny problem that there are very few purebreds anyway; between the Mongol Invasion and simple inter-breeding, most of us are of mixed blood. Some more than others.

            And beyond that, even if you do sort it out and find a taxonomy without exceptions and that properly accounts for everyone, it’s not even a useful classification. A person’s race tells us nothing about his character, he work ethic, how he treats other people. It might be useful for certain diseases more likely to be found in certain populations, but other than that, what point does it serve?

          2. “…are we talking DNA or what?”

            Yes. If “‘Race’ used to define a group of people with certain common inherited features that distinguish them from other groups” it would be strange indeed if this definition was not dependent on DNA, since that’s from where “inherited features” derive.

            But you’ve accidentally made an important concession. Your definition of “Race” is taxonomy. Taxonomy is just scientists attempting to create a common language. It is by definition constructed. There is not some essential truth about taxonomy. While it is true that an echidna cannot mate with a mule, there’s no inherent reason why we have to lump old world monkeys and new world monkeys into separate parvorders. We did so because it’s useful for scientists to talk with each other about the differences (generally) between old world and new world monkeys. And like all taxonomies (including race) they often breakdown arbitrarily (because the taxonomy itself is arbitrary). Spider and howler monkeys–both new world–have fingernails, like their old world counterparts. Rather than the claws typical of other new world monkeys. Where these lines are drawn is a social construct. There is no “Phylum” in the real world.

        2. “What’s your evidence that race exists?”

          My eyes.

          Every biologists and anthropologist before current revisionism fads agreed.

          People all have certain universal characteristics, two eyes, hair on top of head, two arms, two legs. Beyond that, Asians, Africans, American Indians and Europeans all have different physical characteristics. Put a Chinese man next to an Ethiopian man for instance.

          You know this but for social construct reasons deny realty.

          1. All it tells you is that there are regional genetic variances. That doesn’t give you a definition of “race” as a concretely definable thing. It’s an abstract human constructed categorization mechanism, something that humans do naturally. But that doesn’t give it strongly proscribed boundaries and meaning.

            Looking at someone’s physical characteristics which may give some clues about possible genetic ancestry shouldn’t be a thing that you give weight to and then immediately box that individual into a group called a “race”. Why put them in that box?

            The exercise of putting them in that box is what makes “race” a social construct.

            1. “regional genetic variances” and “group level differences”

              Its all euphemisms with you.

          2. Your eyes also tell you that the sun revolves around the earth. Just look at the sky. The sun was in one place early this morning and is now in a completely different place this afternoon. Obviously, the sun is moving around the earth. What, you don’t trust your eyes?

          3. Now put the Ethiopian man next to a pygmy from the Congo.

            Looking at skin color, though Europe and Africa, you don’t have one skin tone in Europe and one in Africa, rather it varies continuously going from north to south or south to north, with many different discrete skin tones found in different African tribes.

      3. Sarcasm? ’cause race is objectively a social construct. There are clearly genetic lineages that have impacts on individual existence. But the “race” aggregates of those lineages is purely social.

        1. Right now, we have scientists who are specifically engaging in medical research to find out why certain meds and treatments and such affect races differently.

          1. That’s incorrect. There have been some observed group level differences. They’re looking to fine the objective reason for those group level differences. These groups have incredibly imprecise scientific boundaries. So they’re looking for very specific things. And that doesn’t make the groups themselves anything but a social construct.

            1. So…these group differences, based on admittedly imprecise boundaries, are a proxy for what, exactly?

              1. They’re a proxy for jack shit since from an objective perspective they have no clear meaning.

                1. You can say that, but at the end of the day, some people are black, and some people are white…and certain meds act differently on either…because of inherited group characteristics stemming from untold millennia in geographic isolation from each other.

                  Why are you so intent on erasing black history and culture? You a white supremacist or something?

                  1. Because clearly genetic based medical diagnosis/prescriptions are best done by judging where someone fits on the color bar.

                    1. I’ll take that snarky non-reply reply as a concession of the point.

                  2. “Why are you so intent on erasing black history and culture? You a white supremacist or something?”

                    What a fucking strange response. MP was pointing out that race is a social construct, and that objectively speaking race was just something people invented. Like sports. That’s not the same thing as saying sports don’t exist, or that anyone who likes sports is wrong for doing so.

                    What concession could anyone make to you abruptly changing the subject?

                    1. Maybe this was so much for your processers and they shorted out.

                      If race doesn’t exist, you’re denying the accomplishments of black Americans. I bet you’re in support of black history month, eh?

                      Get it? It’s a sort of doublethink the leftist who says “race doesn’t exist” but “yay black people” engages in.

                    2. @mad_kalak,

                      “If race doesn’t exist, you’re denying the accomplishments of black Americans.”

                      Saying that race is a social construct is not the same thing as saying race does not exist. The person who said the thing you objected to in the first place, said race exists. (Recall: “First, race does not exist except as a social construct.”) You’ve gotten mixed up and have been chasing your shadow this entire discussion.

              2. “group level differences”

                No races, just group levels

              3. They are not a proxy but a convenient categorization of people with a higher than average propensity to share certin inherited characteristics.

    3. There is a bit of a disagreement between your second and third points

      People treat you different not because of the race you identify, but rather they race THEY identify you as. Many will treat you differently still if they perceive a disparity between the race you claim and the race they ascribe to you. Imagine if Rachel Dolezhal had blonde hair, blue eyes, and freckles. No one would have believed she was black and she would have been treated even worse because of it. You can see it from the other side when black students who try to do well in school are berated for trying to “be white”

      Because of those it’s not so simple to say theres no reason not to allow people to identify as the race of their choosing, because that too ignores the reality of your second point

      1. Race, like citizenship, veteran status, or entitlement to sit in the first-class section, is not entirely a self-chosen identity.

    4. “Race” exists in the same way that “species”, “sub-species” and the other taxonomical designations exist. Their all constructs of the human mind developed as convenient ways to categorize living things, albeit for different purposes.

      1. “They’re”.

    5. K_2,
      No problem whatsoever

  13. Given that the human species does not have biological races, it is inevitable that the social construct of race will fall apart when poked hard, as there is no underlying reality to serve as a foundation.

    1. Hey, look here folks, a science-denier.

      1. “Species” is also not tied to any underlying reality (other than observable physical characteristics that have been grouped based not on anything dictated by biology, but they those groupings’ utility to science).

        1. “Species” at one time was based on the objective observable fact of populations that didn’t viably interbreed. They’ve since relaxed that strict criteria, in order to create more opportunities to claim a “species” is on the verge of going extinct, and needs protection. But the original concept was fairly objective.

          1. “Species” at one time was based on the objective observable fact of populations that didn’t viably interbreed.

            While the term has been used that was at some times for some purposes, it was never generally true, nor has there ever been a single notion of “species” that was accepted by all of biology. First off, how do you use a sexual reproduction-based definition to categorize lifeforms that reproduce asexually (like unicellular organisms)?

      2. I guess that you are looking in a mirror DRG

  14. Good Lord, it’s like Civil Rights never happened. Racism is back.

    Here’s how I would answer all your hypotheticals:

    “Race” is a completely made-up concept. There is no biologically-meaningful definition of race. It was a concept invented solely to justify the elites biases.

    It was on its way on to the “ash heap of history” but now it’s back, bigger, badder, and stronger than ever. It deserves the same fate we gave it back in the 1950s and 60s: complete and utter rejection.

    1. I blame it on the 1960s Civil Rights legislation, which kicked the pendulum the wrong way. State-sponsored slavery was bad, state-sponsored degregation was bad, yet somehow state-sponsored forced integration was good. It seems so typical of government, which, when it can be forced to admit it has done something wrong, reacts not by undoing the wrong, but by doing new wrong rationalized as counteracting the previous wrong.

      1. When you say, state or government , you are referring to the most toxic occupation in the nation the lawyer profession. Madison, a lawyer, allowed slavery. Lincoln, a lawyer, killed 600000 people to end it. The KKK was founded by lawyers and judges. Lawyers and judges immunized their genocidal maniac extra-judicial mass murders in front of hundreds of witnesses. Lawyers unable to read the simple language of the constitution, wrote and allowed Jim Crow laws. OK that was bad.

        The lawyer rights the laws of the 1960’s. The black family had survived the above stresses. It did not survive the 1960’s feminist lawyer attack on the patriarchal family. The KKK took 100 years to lynch 4000 black people. Today the excess rate due to Democrat policies orchestrates an excess of 4000 murders a year, 100 times more toxic than the KKK. All other social pathologies were 10% higher in black throughout those years. Today, they are 400%, higher thanks to the policies of the Democrat lawyer.

        1. ” Madison, a lawyer, allowed slavery. Lincoln, a lawyer, killed 600000 people to end it.”

          Neither of these is accurate. Madison had no power to end slavery, nor did Lincoln start a war over slavery.

        2. Holy shit, it’s KillAllRednecks from the Roundup, but for lawyers instead of Mormons.

      2. Jesus Christ.

        1. You need to find him, yes.

          1. He’s dead, Jim.

      3. I don’t think it’s hard to construct a case that the remedy was worthwhile in spite of its heavy-handedness. The problem is that the remedy had no end-game designed into it. People were focused on the immediate effects and not the ultimate goal. I’ll admit that I still struggle to see if the long term cost/benefit is there, given how Civil Rights legislation is almost solely responsible for baking Race into our legal system, which makes it
        nearly impossible to get beyond Race. Codifying Race into law is such an evil thing that it alone might be enough to object to the CRA.

        And I’m sure no one foresaw that the ultimate goal would be twisted into this gross thing being labeled as “Equity”.

        1. Here’s what we know: minorities were treated horribly for the *vast majority* of US history. I mean, horribly. Today the white people on this blog will bitch and moan because they have to wear a mask when they go into a store, the HORROR of their LIBERTY TRAMPLED! Well, minorities had that times a thousand every day for most of our history. Most black college age students today have grandparents who lived during that. So of *course* they are *very* sensitive about that stuff. It amazes me for white persons to say ‘hey, why are they so focused on this?’ Jesus Christ.

          1. Not sure what an individual’s sensitivity has anything to do with the argument regarding codifying Race into law and creating legally enforceable penalties based on Race.

            1. It has to do with repairing things and policing things. Acknowledging there are racists in order to police them is not racism.

              1. It depends on your endgame. If your endgame isn’t a race-neutral society, but rather a race-conscious one, then certainly you wouldn’t object to making race a legal construct.

                But if race-consciousness is your end game, then you’re a racist, in that you embrace race as a legitimate concept and that you believe different groups should have different legal treatment based on this concept.

                1. Again, policing racists is not racism. You cannot fight de facto racism by being ‘color blind.’

                  Interestingly, conservatives totally get this when it comes to areas where they are traditionally under-represented (like academe).

                  1. When you police “racists”, you give weight to them. You reify them and their concept of race. Is that what you really want? For everyone to think about this bullshit thing called “race” forever?

                    That’s why the endgame matters. What is the society you’re trying to build?

                    1. That’s silly. If there are 100 job positions and 99 of them are filled with whites even if 100 black persons applied, what, you’re going to say ‘I see nothing going on here because I don’t see race!’

                      The society I’m trying to build is one that polices racists.

                    2. If there are 100 job positions and 99 of them are filled with whites even if 100 black persons applied, what, you’re going to say ‘I see nothing going on here because I don’t see race!’

                      That depends. What were the qualifications of those 100 black applicants compared with the 99 white employees?

                    3. “What were the qualifications of those 100 black applicants compared with the 99 white employees?”

                      Sure, it could be that all 100 were less qualified than all 99, but in that case that kind of points to some serious structural disadvantages for blacks that you don’t want to accept either.

                      Also, I’m betting you don’t think this way about, say, conservatives in faculty hiring. If 100 conservatives applied for 100 faculty jobs and got only 1 of them I doubt you’d say ‘well, that’s probably because they were all less qualified!’

                      It’s also pedantic in that the overall point that *if* something were up re discrimination you wouldn’t be much able to recognize it if you ‘don’t see color.’

                    4. “That depends. What were the qualifications of those 100 black applicants compared with the 99 white employees?”

                      I will quote what a black co-worker told me about hiring:
                      Blacks have to be qualified; whites have to be qualifyable.
                      In my experience that is true. Unfortunately many who make hiring decisions know little about how to hire for potential

                    5. Spoiler: The job was for testing the effectiveness of sunscreen.

                    6. I will quote what a black co-worker told me about hiring:
                      Blacks have to be qualified; whites have to be qualifyable.
                      In my experience that is true.

                      I don’t know what sorts of shitty companies you and your co-worker have been employed by, but in my experience the claim above is complete and utter nonsense.

                  2. “You cannot fight de facto racism by being ‘color blind.’”

                    If you are not “color blind”, then you are a a racist.

                    1. If you’re ‘color blind’ in a way that keeps you from acknowledging when racism happens then you are assisting racism.

                    2. If you’re ‘color blind’ in a way that keeps you from acknowledging when racism happens then you are assisting racism.

                      You’re using “Color blind” to mean something that no other rational person is.

                    3. Sure Bob is, I agree!

                    4. “If you are not ‘color blind’, then you are a a racist.”

                      How does having trouble sorting reds and greens help you with blacks and whites?

                  3. Sure, it could be that all 100 were less qualified than all 99, but in that case that kind of points to some serious structural disadvantages for blacks that you don’t want to accept either.

                    Perhaps you should try actually coming up with some facts to support your arguments rather than pretending to know what I or anyone else want to “accept”. What if there were 2,000 white applicants who also were not hired?

                    Also, I’m betting you don’t think this way about, say, conservatives in faculty hiring. If 100 conservatives applied for 100 faculty jobs and got only 1 of them I doubt you’d say ‘well, that’s probably because they were all less qualified!’

                    One of your biggest problems (I say “one of” because your major cognitive problems are many in number) is that you rely so heavily on ignorance-based assumptions. You’re also mischaracterizing my argument. I didn’t say that in your example that the 100 who applied were not hired “probably because” anything. I simply asked that as the sort of question that needs to be asked rather than simply accepting your knee-jerk conclusion.

                    It’s also pedantic in that the overall point that *if* something were up re discrimination you wouldn’t be much able to recognize it if you ‘don’t see color.’

                    And again you’re demonstrating your ignorance of what it means top be “color blind” with regard to race. It does NOT mean that you’re unaware of it or the potential for discrimination based on it. It means that skin color is not a characteristic upon which you base your treatment or opinions of someone.

                    Your extreme simple-mindedness would be a lot less objectionable were you not also so self-assured that you’re a lot smarter than you have any reason to think you are.

        2. It’s worse than not having an end game built in. The remedy undermined the logic behind finding racial discrimination wrongful in the first place.

          It’s like an Appalachian hill feud: You can’t ever end it by evening up the score.

          1. Again, you’re seeing policing the evil as ‘evening the score.’

            And, btw, to not ‘even the score’ at all is to let the racists efforts of the past win, as they have put the victims at a massive disadvantage.

            1. You’re not policing any evil here. You’re imposing evil on innocent people, using evils committed by and against long dead people as an excuse.

              1. Making more lebensraum, that’s all. Why so upset about that?

              2. What are you talking about? I’m talking about non-discrimination law. That’s not imposing any evil on anyone, it’s policing racism.

              3. ” You’re imposing evil on innocent people, using evils committed by and against long dead people as an excuse.”

                So once something is stolen from someone (or some group of someones) they don’t get to complain about having something stolen? It’s swiped all fair and square, finders keepers?

                1. So once something is stolen from someone (or some group of someones) they don’t get to complain about having something stolen? It’s swiped all fair and square, finders keepers?

                  You don’t get to force people who didn’t steal anything from you to give you free stuff because someone else who is long dead stole something from one of your ancestors who is also long dead…especially when their descendent does not have anything that was stolen from anyone you’re descended from.

                  1. You’ve inserted a number of details there that didn’t used to be there.

          2. “It’s like an Appalachian hill feud: You can’t ever end it by evening up the score.”

            We should resolve it by telling one group “run out the clock,you guys won”?

    2. “It was a concept invented solely to justify the elites biases. ”

      Sure, sure, an African and a Chinese have identical skin tone and facial structure and hair type.

      1. Stupid comeback to an equally stupid comment.

  15. All race whores must provide the mtDNA haplogroup analysis.

    1. What is a “race whore”?

      1. Race whores are people who make money calling others, racist.

        1. Ah. Thanks. I thought it was a “you burn the coal, you pay the toll” thing.

    2. You’re a raving loon.

      1. Slow your roll, Pot.

  16. “A Puzzling Thing about American Culture and Racial Identity”

    -“There’s one thing which puzzles me.”

    -“ONE thing?”

    1. “racial identity” is a term used for political power.
      How is that at all puzzling?

  17. You are looking for reasoning in matters of religious doctrine. The race religion that is being pushed these days is too new and too cynical and transparently phony to have developed a coherent philosophy.

    Writing a book explains your attitude over the last few months though: David Bernstein is no threat to Marxism and totalitarianism. We can publish his book for a tiny audience of vain academics to read.

  18. It’s funny to see al these people here with the ‘I don’t care/see race/ethnicity.’ Bernstein finds his ethnic identity *extremely* important (you think he writes so much pro-Israel stuff out of randomness? He’s said he does so because he wants to be accountable when his kids ask ‘where were you’ during the Infintida).

    1. “It’s funny…”

      Completely unprincipled, evil people are often amused at principed individuals explaining the thoughts behind their principles.

      1. Wave those hands faster Ben.

      2. “Completely unprincipled, evil people are often amused at principed individuals explaining the thoughts behind their principles.”

        Who cares what amuses you?

    2. “It’s funny to see al these people here with the ‘I don’t care/see race/ethnicity.’ Bernstein finds his ethnic identity *extremely* important (you think he writes so much pro-Israel stuff out of randomness? He’s said he does so because he wants to be accountable when his kids ask ‘where were you’ during the Infintida).”

      It’s also funny to see people say, “I don’t care what consenting adults do in private, or with who.” And then those people care very much about what they themselves do in private, and with who.

      1. Do people care about that? If you want to insult trans people or races with your transphobic or racists friends at your house, go nuts. What people care about is what you do commercially or as a government actor.

        1. your transphobic or racists friends

          And you wonder why you’re not taken seriously by anyone with any integrity and an IQ north of room temperature?

          1. Oh, Wuzzies feelings are hurt! I’m not specifically saying you (or 12″‘s) are racists or transphobic but making a general point about what anti-racists are concerned about, so don’t get so upset.

            1. Oh, Wuzzies feelings are hurt!

              What a great way to emphasize my point. Grow up.

          2. “And you wonder why you’re not taken seriously by anyone with any integrity and an IQ north of room temperature?”

            … or WuzYoungOnceToo’s sub-freezing IQ, either?

  19. Only at Volokh, a website in which about 80% (or more?) of the writers just happen to be from a group which makes up 2% of the US population could we get these comment threads about how ethnicity doesn’t matter…

    1. “80% (or more?) of the writers just happen to be from a group which makes up 2% of the US population”

      A lie. Maybe its just you that sees Jews everywhere.

      1. The content of this blog is furnished — to striking and archaic degree — by White males. And even the ‘there was a time when relatively few lawyers were women’ argument capsizes: How many Volokh Conspirators graduated with law school classes that were 95 percent male?

      2. Is it? Which are not Jews Bobbie?

        And, let’s not be pedantic. Are 2% of the writers here Jewish?

        1. Dale Carpenter, SMU.
          David Bernstein, George Mason University.
          David Hyman, Georgetown University.
          David Kopel, Independence Institute.
          David Post, Temple University (ret.) & Cato Institute (e-mail address).
          Eugene Kontorovich, George Mason University.
          Eugene Volokh, UCLA.
          Gail Heriot, University of San Diego.
          Ilya Somin, George Mason University.
          Irina Manta, Hofstra University.
          Jim Lindgren, Northwestern University.
          John Elwood, Arnold & Porter.
          Jonathan H. Adler, Case Western Reserve University.
          Josh Blackman, South Texas College of Law.
          Keith Whittington, Princeton University.
          Ken Anderson, American University.
          Mark Movsesian, St. Johns University.
          Nick Rosenkranz, Georgetown University.
          Nita Farahany, Duke University.
          Orin Kerr, UC Berkeley.
          Paul Cassell, University of Utah.
          Randy Barnett, Georgetown University.
          Sam Bray, University of Notre Dame.
          Sasha (Alexander) Volokh, Emory University.
          Stephen Sachs, Duke University.
          Stewart Baker, Steptoe & Johnson.
          Stuart Benjamin, Duke University.
          Todd Zywicki, George Mason University.
          Will Baude, University of Chicago.

          1. Again, Are 2% of the writers here Jewish?

            1. “Are 2% of the writers here Jewish?”

              Why does it matter to you?

              1. Why can’t you answer the question? Because you know you are wrong, right?

                1. “Because you know you are wrong, right”

                  Wrong about what?

                  You said 80%+ are Jewish. A lie.

                  If me calling out a lie distresses you, don’t lie.

                  1. Pedantic Bob.

                    1. Lying queenie

                    2. Bob here NEVER lies. Makes stuff up, but it’s stuff he desperately WANTS to believe is true, so as far as he’s concerned it IS. Like magic.

                  2. Perhaps focusing on volume of content and frequency of participation, rather than on whether someone’s name is still listed on a roster, could resolve at least some of this issue?

      3. More anti-semitism comes the Left than from the Right, as Bernstein always notes.

        1. Hmm, why does he care about it so much?

          1. He’s read some history books?

            1. No, it’s because it especially matters to him because it involves him, his kids, many of his friends, etc., (this is an answer to Bobbie above as well).

              The same way other minorities think about bigotry towards them.

              1. If you’re going trying to point out that Jews in Israel are perfectly fine having an ethnostate, while Jews everywhere else in the world push for “diversity” then yes, I agree.

                Ask yourself the why for both, eh? Still, that doesn’t discount that Jews are particular about discrimination against them. I don’t blame them, and wish we applied the same standards to every group.

                Oh that’s right, race doesn’t exist, so we can’t.

                Or does it when it comes to gibs?

                I can see why Bernstein has a point.

                1. Queenie constantly moves his goalposts.

                  1. A disingenuous leftist?
                    —————————
                    “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in the back room”

                    “Your winnings, sir.”

                    “Thank you.”

                2. For conservatives only Jews and conservatives can be discriminated against.

                3. ” I don’t blame them, and wish we applied the same standards to every group.”

                  What standard, that it’s ok when they complain about being discriminated against and also ok when they discriminate?

        2. “More anti-semitism comes the Left than from the Right, as Bernstein always notes.”

          Even if he does have to make it up from time to time to get the results he wants.

    2. Nobody is saying anything as broadly sweeping as “ethnicity doesn’t matter”. What I see people saying is that we shouldn’t be basing our treatment (or opinions) of individuals on their membership in any particular ethnic group(s). That strikes me as a particularly worthy goal. I seem to recall that also being the state goal of a rather famous man who was murdered for espousing it.

      1. For conservatives MLK was a man who gave one speech one time, and only part of it at that, and then died.

        In reality, MLK explicitly called for non-discrimination law and government efforts to ameliorate the lingering harms of slavery and discrimination, which is what I’m talking about.

        1. MLK also came out against the Vietnam War, which wasn’t popular among the powerful Democrat politicians of the time. (The Republicans of the day were still trying to figure out why we didn’t just pave the who country of Vietnam, paint parking strips on it, and come home)

          1. pave the WHOLE country.

        2. For conservatives MLK was a man who gave one speech one time, and only part of it at that, and then died.

          Stop pretending to know what others think. You can’t even manage to do any thinking for yourself let alone anyone else.

          1. Stop pretending to think.

  20. I’m no longer certain it is worth trying to reason with people who can say “shut up, my lived experience as a ____ trumps your logic or ability to opine as a rational human on this topic” without embarrassment. Ridicule is probably the better response.

    1. This is a very strange position for so-called rational people to take. Do you think, for example, you know more than a woman what it is like to live as a woman? I think this is about how some people think they know everything and must express it and hate listening.

      1. The issue at hand is people who use their individual “lived experience” to extrapolate across an entire sub-group of humanity and then use their individual experience as a bludgeon to counter anyone who has a comment regarding to the sug-group.

        1. Uh, it’s about people who are *members* of a sub-group telling people who are not that they don’t know so much about being a member of said sub-group.

          1. That’s right…implying that “membership” allows an individual to speak for the group. And that any opinions regarding the group from those who aren’t “members” are inherently invalid and are not only undeserving of airtime, the attempt to air them can only be interpreted as “violence” against he group since the attempt was morally invalid.

            1. They surely know more about life in the group they are in than someone who is not a member does. I mean, it’s amazing that this is debated!

              1. It’s possible. But that’s not the question. The question is if they have exclusive rights as individuals of that group to both define the group experience and ultimately group membership.

                1. That’s the question you’re focused on. The question in society has to do with whether you, as an out-group member, know more about what life in a group is about than an in-group member. And you don’t.

                  I mean, do you seriously want to argue, for example, that you, as a dude, know more about what it’s like to, say, get a period than any woman? When there is a conversation that involves what it’s like to get a period you, as a dude, should listen more to a person who gets them and not tell them what it’s about and means.

                  1. So you’re making the claim that the only people who can accumulate specialized knowledge about a topic that may have human group boundaries is one within that group? Regardless of the level of research/study/effort they put into their knowledge accumulation?

                    1. No, no, you go first.
                      I mean, do you seriously want to argue, for example, that you, as a dude, know more about what it’s like to, say, get a period than any woman?

                    2. How a period feels? No. What causes them, the totality of their effects on the female anatomy and how best to mitigate the negative once? Yes, there are quite a few “dudes” who know far more about those aspects of a period than the vast majority of women.

                    3. “How a period feels? No.”

                      That was my point though. But thanks for the other stuff.

                    4. “So you’re making the claim that the only people who can accumulate specialized knowledge about a topic that may have human group boundaries is one within that group?”

                      Can I, a non-partisan, really understand your undefinable angst at the oppression you feel as a Republican?

                    5. That was my point though. But thanks for the other stuff.

                      I don’t know why you’re thanking me for it, given that the point of it completely eluded your grasp.

          2. Its about power. Racial minorities now have some and are pushing for more.

          3. Much like you with your claims about Prof Bernstein. Or your varied claims or assertions about any group of which you are not a member. Or your claim that ‘it’ is about people telling others about the others’ life experience. You have no idea what people are thinking, so you appear to do what you do in these comments: carry on a conversation with yourself, assign motives, determine basis for beliefs, all based on your bias. And then have the temerity to claim the high ground of rational thought.

    2. Ridicule doesn’t fit either, unless they are trying to appeal to you in some way. Ridicule counters foolishness but is inadequate against evil.

  21. Immediately after Georgia Republicans enact a race-targeting voter suppression bill (targeting the “Souls to Polls” program and prohibiting provision of a drink of water to voters standing in lines that tend to be longer for Black voters), a conservative blog voluntarily precipitates a discussion of race — and it is this one?

    Sometimes I think this isn’t so much a matter of conservatives losing the culture war as it is a case in which they decline to participate in the contest, particularly with respect to young people.

    1. ” . . . and prohibiting provision of a drink of water to voters standing in lines . . . ”

      This is a deliberate lie.

      1. Thanks for calling him out for a lie, but you know, honesty is not exactly a quality that the faker, our dear beloved Rev, possesses in any quantity.

        1. I know he knows, that was just for others who only use facebook and this site – – – – – –

        2. I believe the law criminalizes my handing a bottle of water on a hot day (or providing a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day) to someone standing in a polling line in Georgia. In what way is that wrong?

          You’re not fooling anyone, Republicans.

          Not with respect to the motivation underlying this Georgia legislation. Not with respect to your racist, gay-bashing, misogynistic, xenophobic bigotry, either. That’s why you are getting stomped in the culture war. By your betters.

          1. Dumb and Dumber, Tony and Rev, or is it the reverse?

            1. Are any of the right-wingers here willing to try to defend (1) the Georgia law regarding provision of water to voters or (2) the Georgia law that targets “Souls to the Polls” (Sunday voting)?

              Any Conspirator? Any Conspiracy fan? Anyone with the courage to try to defend what the Republican Party is doing?

              I ask mainly because I enjoy watching conservative bigots squirm as they await replacement. By their betters.

              1. I defended the Georgia law below: It doesn’t prohibit giving water to people in line. It prohibits giving ANYTHING to people in line, and then creates an exception for water provided by poll workers.

                Perhaps you’re suggesting that the poll workers in black precincts are particularly cruel, and would deny people water just for the lutz?

                1. You know, there was a time before absentee balloting make fraud easier, that they’d hand out packs of cigs to get people to vote, and precinct committeemen with “walking around money” would get folks to the polls on election day with simple and often small bribes.

                  1. The little town of Antelope, OR became Rajneeshpuram through the simple expedient of busing homeless people from Portland streets to vote the way the Bhagwan wanted.

                  2. “walking around money”

                    Still used in Philly among other places.

                2. “Perhaps you’re suggesting that the poll workers in black precincts are particularly cruel, and would deny people water just for the lutz?”

                  Nah. They just underprovide polling places, and equipment for them. “If you REALLY wanted to vote, you’d wait all day if you had to.”

                  1. “They just underprovide polling places, and equipment for them.”

                    Who is “they”?

                    Democrats run every major city. Many of the have Black democrats in charge [SF, DC, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Baltimore among others].

                    If resources are not allocated properly, its on the local authorities.

                    1. Who is “they”?

                      Everybody other than those who are actually in charge and responsible.

                    2. It’s a good bit more complicated than that. Atlanta is in Fulton County, and polling locations have increased there since Shelby County. A lot of the consolidation/shrinking of polling places that has occurred since Shelby is in rural counties, many of which are not run at all or exclusively by democrats.

                    3. “Democrats run every major city.”

                      Which might be relevant, if elections were run by the cities. But they aren’t. They’re run by the state.

                      “If resources are not allocated properly, its on the local authorities.”

                      That’s what the voters get, for not voting reliably Republican.

                3. “It prohibits giving ANYTHING to people in line, and then creates an exception for water provided by poll workers.”

                  What about slate cards? Directions? The time?

                  1. I never cease to be amazed that you can out-stupid yourself, Artie. Bravo.

                    1. What is stupid about inquiring with respect to slate cards in the context of this discussion and this legislation?

                      Are you a lawyer? Any experience with respect to election law or administration of polling place operations? Have you ever visited or worked at a polling place on a day of election?

              2. You’ve reached a new level, dumbest

              3. Their betters certainly do not include you, troll.

                1. This blog’s troll is society’s mainstream and the culture war’s victor.

                  This must be depressing for clingers.

                  1. The trolls here? I don’t think that vehement anti-semitism is mainstream, but good for you for being so open about your bigotry.

                    1. Vehement anti-Semitism? By the few people who leaven the consistent right-wing nuttery with some mainstream perspective? I have observed little of that. Are you just repeated something you think you heard on Hannity or Limbaugh, or something you observed at Stormfront or Instapundit?

      2. “This is a deliberate lie.”

        By which you of course mean that it’s true but it’s not supposed to be talked about.

        1. Dang, your dictionary is the worst.

          1. No, that would go to the guy who thinks “deliberate lie” is a term that should be applied to things that are true.

  22. One of the DNA testing companies has an ad campaign with different people discovering that their DNA is not what they were brought up to be (shades of Elizabeth Fauxahontas Warren!)…and therefore, their life and lifestyle must CHANGE!

    A guy who starts wearing lederhosen. People from the ‘wrong’ side of Africa….

    It’s all insanity – and shows that nurture is at least equal to nature.

    1. They got some pushback on that and redesigned the campaign. It was ham-handed.

    2. Warren was brought up to believe she had native American Ancestry. She took the test and it confirmed she had Native American ancestry.

      She wasn’t raised in the Native American culture, but neither was her ancestry unknown to her. Neither a surprise nor “faux” in any sense.

      From the same sort of people that brought us the “one drop” rule, we now have outrage that someone with at least that much Native American blood made a point of mentioning it.

  23. “Consider an American who grows up with two white parents, ‘look’ white, always considers himself white, and assumed all his ancestors were European. He gets into genealogy and in the course of his research discovers that a great-grandfather was a light-skinned, mixed-race-by-descent African-American who ‘passed’ as white and married a woman of European descent. This upends his entire sense of identity. He begins reading up on black history and culture and, over time, starts going out of his way to make black friends, attends a predominately African-American church, and eventually considers himself part of the African-American community and identifies himself as an African American.”

    Wasn’t this a Family Guy episode?

  24. What would the left do if the federal government stopped tracking citizens by biometric indicators? Any chance they could sell their policies on an ‘equal for all’ basis?

    How about if we can’t tell sex by DNA, we can’t tell race by DNA; and we treat everyone the same? You know, honor Dr. King by following his ideals.

    1. No, we need a law that provides for genitalia inspections outside public restrooms. Because if we don’t, one of those trans people might try to sneak in and pee in the wrong place! Which is somehow of earth-shattering importance.

  25. “and prohibiting provision of a drink of water to voters standing in lines”

    I guess I could understand you thinking it does that, because virtually all news accounts make that false claim, and then avoid linking to the actual text of the bill, SB 202.

    This claim is based on,

    “(a) No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribut or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector…”

    But the reports always omit what follows shortly after:

    “(e) This Code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer from …making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.”

    IOW, there is a general prohibition on third parties giving people in line ANY thing of value, including foods and beverages, but poll workers are free to establish watering stations along the line.

    1. Wouldn’t you have to leave the line to go to the receptacle?

      Here’s the thing: shouldn’t the rush to pass an election law be one that eliminates the lines?

      1. Why would you need to leave the line, if the watering station was next to the line? I suppose you must live someplace less polite, where nobody will hold a space for you in the line if you need to get a drink or use the bathroom. Around here standing in line to vote is a friendly social occasion.

        Anyway, the point is that the law does not specifically prohibit giving water to people in the line, rather, the prohibition, (Long standing, and just re-enacted here.) is against giving ANYTHING of value to people in the line. Anything whatsoever.

        The only mention of water is a clause permitting providing water, but only by elections officials. It would have actually been more accurate to report that Georgia had changed their law to permit giving water to people in line!

        1. You’re missing that water is often given out free even at commercial establishments and this law does prohibit that. But, mainly, I notice you didn’t answer the point about trying to get rid of the lines. But you’re disdain for making voting easier is fairly well documented.

          1. QA,
            The law prohibits distribution of things of value. It does prohibit handing out sandwiches or a bottle of beer. And yes, even a bottle of water
            Saying that the prohibition targets blacks is not credible. Even African-Americans have been know to carry water in bottles.

            That I would not have included that provision in a law makes no difference. It is is race, creed, gender, lifestyle, heritage neutral on its face.

            1. ” Saying that the prohibition targets blacks is not credible. ”

              This is where your bigotry and conservatism create a blind spot. Fortunately, others in our society will correct the problems associated with your blind spot. You will not like this. Tough.

        2. ” Around here standing in line to vote is a friendly social occasion.”

          So is a sign that says “no electioneering past this point” with nothing on one side, and people rushing to whisper into your ear on the other side. The last election, it included a bozo ranting just outside the “no electioneering” zone about how the Democrats inside wouldn’t let him vote, with approximately zero verifiable details. I have a fairly effective “fuck off” manner, so I was able to run the gauntlet fairly easily. I understand 100% why someone might choose to become a permanent absentee voter.

    2. Under this law, I can’t provide a glass of water to a person waiting in line to vote. This is because bigoted conservatives know that suppressing the vote is perhaps they sole way Republicans can continue to remain competitive (for a few more elections, anyway), in districts outside our can’t-keep-up backwaters.

      Carry on, clingers . . . although not for much longer.

      1. “I can’t provide ”
        Will you provide water to ALL in line?
        And if so how will you do it without appearing to be electioneering?
        Keep clinging to your lunacy

        1. When I provide water to voters in a line (or, often more accurate, arrange to have others provide water to voters in line), I always provide it to everyone who wants water.

          I have never encountered anyone conditioning water (or food) on anything; were I to learn that anyone so much as asked a question about voter intent, identification, or anything else in this context, I would stop that practice immediately and (1) remove that person from the polling place immediately, if I could or (2) do whatever I could to cause someone with the relevant authority to remove that person from the polling place.

          Do you consider distributing slate cards to constitute electioneering? Do you have any experience with respect to election law or election day operations?

          You seem unfamiliar with polling place operations.

          1. For a blog with a legal and academic veneer, this one seems to attract a remarkable number of people who are belligerently ignorant.

    3. Their willingness to lie and repeat lies is consistent then.

      Also they apparently think their voters, already having been declared too helpless to get any form of ID, are also not competent to locate water.

      1. This is a silly game conservatives like Ben play, anything done to help anyone is actually low expectations for the person helped because if you really respected them you’d believe they’d take care of themselves. It’s really that they have trouble understanding why anyone would do anything to help anyone else, it’s mysterious to them.

        1. Conservatives are the ones who actually help people.

          Leftists purposely keep people helpless to justify stealing from everyone. Then leftists pocket the money themselves and point to the helpless people who received none of the stolen loot to justify yet another round of stealing even more.

          Repeat over and over. Leftists get rich, people who need help get no help, and the ones who might once have been able to help are drained of resources. The people who need help can then never get any help from anyone.

      2. Ben, you right-wing bigot:

        Where, in your racist judgment, should voters find water while waiting in a polling place line? Should they ask their chauffeurs to deliver it?

        Consider those questions while better Americans continue to stomp your stale, ugly preferences in the culture war.

        Thank you for being a right-winger, Ben. It is guys like you that have made it so easy for the liberal-libertarian mainstream to prevail against conservatives in America during my lifetime.

        1. “Where, in your racist judgment, should voters find water while waiting in a polling place line? Should they ask their chauffeurs to deliver it?”

          I’ve been doing it all wrong my whole life. Who hands out the chauffeurs? I must’ve missed the memo.

          Cling on.

    4. is a general prohibition on third parties giving people in line ANY thing of value, including foods and beverages,

      IOW, yes, there is a prohibition on giving people in line food or water.

      Maybe, maybe, a poll worker sets up a water fountain somewhere, for which there will again be a wait. But heaven forbid someone comes along and just hands out bottles of water to those voting. Because if they do, it might make it easier to wait, which is exactly what the GA GOP racist scum don’t want. Because we all know exactly where the lines will be long, by design.

      And what does any of that have to do with “election security?”

      The media aren’t lying. You and your pals are.

      1. First, this law appears to forbid a glass of water or a bottle of water. (The Republican bigots of Georgia might overlook a parent providing a bottle of water to a child in the line, but it seems unreasonable to rely on the decisions of conservative racists, desperately clinging to electoral relevance in modern America, in this regard.)

        Second, we will overcome the bigotry and backwardness exhibited by these right-wingers soon enough, bernard11. They don’t stand a chance against their betters in the American culture war. I direct you to the most recent half-century of American progress, shaped against conservatives’ efforts, for illumination of this point.

      2. “And what does any of that have to do with ‘election security?’ ”

        Start with the assumption that an election is “secure” if it reliably produces Republican winners, and it’s “insecure” if someone who is not a Republican can win if enough people come to the polls and vote for not-the-Republican. If you’re using these terms to mean something else, no wonder you and the Republicans differ on the need to assure “election security”.

    5. “IOW, there is a general prohibition on third parties giving people in line ANY thing of value”

      Because the number of people just looking for an opportunity to sell their vote for some water number in the uncountable millions.

  26. Elizabeth Warren is an example of a someone who claimed to be part American Indian, and genetic analysis showed that she really was did have some distant American Indian ancestors. Opinions differ on whether what she did was reasonable.

    1. Criticism of Senator Warren falls on predictable partisan lines.

      1. Because she lied in a visible way to assist her employer to deceive the US Government.

        1. I think we’re long past the point where the GOP can legitimately present outrage at someone lying to deceive the US government. At this point, that’s a pre-requisite for the GOP nomination.

  27. Rachel Dolezal fetishized being black, she wanted to be black so badly, she told everyone she was. I don’t see that as a sincere attempt at anything.

    And that begs the question – if white privilege was a thing, then why would so many white people want to identify as an oppressed minority?

    1. Do ‘so many’ white people want to pass as black?

      1. That’s a empirical question, that we don’t have an answer for at the moment. However, given media reports at least, it appears that more whites try to pass off as minorities than vice versa. Yea, historically, this wasn’t the case. Ask yourself why I suppose.

    2. ” if white privilege was a thing, then why would so many white people want to identify as an oppressed minority?”

      Because white men can’t jump, and white rappers are just lame.

    3. “And that begs the question”
      No, it does not assume the answer to any question

      1. Bro, the most common usage of begging the question is suggesting/raising the question. See here. Most humans do not use it in the formal logic sense (assuming the conclusion).

    4. I don’t think anyone but Dolezal and maybe her therapist knows if she actually fetishized being black. There is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest she had a legitimate connection there and she volunteered her time in civil rights and other causes important to that community. Regardless of one’s opinion on whether that was “blackface” or not, it isn’t as simple as you make it out to be.

      The thing about being black–born black– (or Asian, or LGBT, or Jewish, etc.) is that you can’t not be that thing when it’s no longer convenient. But someone like Dolezal could decide one day that she wasn’t interested in the price she was paying to be a part of that community and stop perming her hair and resume life as a white woman. That makes her and folks like her seem like “tourists.” And the thing with white privilege is that it’s unearned; you merely need to be white. So these “tourists” aren’t really giving it up as much as setting it aside. Sort of like living abroad in a less developed country for a while knowing you could always go back to the US when you got tired of it and resume life with A/C and Starbucks on every corner.

  28. It comes down to whether or not the adopted/new-found identity is a way of life or used for personal and professional advantage.

    If example A decides to use his discovered blackness to claim an affirmative action slot then he deserves to be thought of as a fraud of some sort, or at least of gaming the system.

    Had Rachel chosen to simply lived her life as a Black woman with two kids no one would have thought twice about her; however, she chose to use her “identity” as the basis and definition of her career.

    1. If someone is legitimately Black and they legally qualify for an affirmative action benefit based on their race, then it’s legit to do so.

      One would have to know an awful lot of personal detail regarding someone’s life in order to make a reliable judgement that they didn’t qualify legitimately.

  29. Which answer makes leftists feel better about themselves?

  30. You are over thinking it. There is no rational thought on this stuff.

    So we’ve now established that your gender is fluid. It just “is” because enough woke-tards have decided so. You an pretend to be the other gender and we must all pretend along with you.

    To be Black is the ultimate privilege. Oops I mean non-privilege. Therefore no one can pretend to be black. Hmm even though it seems that many if not most mixed race folks identify as black, just black.

    Wonder why given the choice they would identify as the lesser priveleged race? PS: because its not true. The only legal discrimination is pro-black.

    It makes no sense people are retards.

    1. These are your peeps, conservatives.

      Good luck with your side of the culture war.

      1. And here’s the woke-tard

        1. Open wider, wreckingball.

          Or not. The comfort of our vestigial bigots is a receding concern for modern America’s liberal-libertarian mainstream.

          1. Yea, recognizing that a man is a man and a woman is a woman is not bigoted.

            Also recognizing that Affirmative Action, legalized discrimination that provides racial preferences for University admissions and the award of government contracts is legalized discriminations that favors black is not bigoted.

            The truth just is. Get a new schtick this one is getting old.,

            1. “The truth just is. Get a new schtick this one is getting old.,”

              Indeed it is.

            2. What is the Volokh Conspiracy, other than a never-ending plea for affirmative action favoring right-wing law professors? Relatively soon, affirmative action may be just about all clingers have going for them in modern America.

    2. “Wonder why given the choice they would identify as the lesser priveleged race? PS: because its not true”

      Because, for the most part, they aren’t given a choice.

      1. Because, for the most part, they aren’t given a choice.

        Uh…he was referring to those who “choose” to identify as a racial minority, even though they are not (the Rachel Dolezals of the world).

        You’re not very bright, are you?

  31. all humans are descended from early hominids who lived in Africa. So everybody has African ancestors.

    1. There you go. Liz Warren and I are both African Americans.

      1. The difference is that Warren actually has a DNA test which shows she was telling the truth, whereas you have nothing except your own unfounded assertions. As usual.

        1. Well, a DNA test showing she was telling one thousandth of the truth, anyway. Like as not I’ve got as much Indian blood in me, though it would be a more Northern tribe. Might be amusing to get that test.

        2. No. Warren is full of shit.

          Unlike her, I actually have Cherokee lineage in my background. Not based on a bullshit DNA test (those things are not terribly accurate) but proven by two centuries of birth and death records, land records, wills, etc. The famous Cherokee Chief Doublehead is my 7x great uncle if anybody cares.

          When I was young there was the family legend about Cherokee back there somewhere. My great grandfather on my father’s father’s side looked indigenous. If you saw him on the street you’d think he was an “Indian” (back then). And despite the rumors, none of my dad’s poor rural family did anything to try to make financial hay from it. Because at the time it was only an unproven story.

          Warren had no such scruples. She should be completely ashamed of what she did, unfortunately she’s not capable of feeling that emotion.

  32. “Here’s one. Consider an American who grows up with two white parents, “looks” white, always considers himself white, and assumed all his ancestors were European. He gets into genealogy and in the course of his research discovers that a great-grandfather was a light-skinned, mixed-race-by-descent African-American who “passed” as white and married a woman of European descent. This upends his entire sense of identity.”

    While I’m part American Indian and mostly of European descent, I went through precisely this. I got the 23 And Me test and discovered that I was part African American. When I asked (out of curiosity) my father observed that the reason why he and my grandfather were so hard core anti-racist (with my father joining in protests in Memphis in the early 60’s) was because my grandfather had a grandparent who was a quarter black.

    Which caused me to rethink my sense of identity.

    But in the end I concluded that my identity was driven by my upbringing, and not my genetics. That is, while I’m a member of an Indian tribe, the reality is I’m a child from Fresno, raised in the local culture in the 1970’s and early 80’s, and my exposure to my tribe came from my mother’s side, in part from a maternal grandfather who disliked “white people” (my father excepted). Meaning as a child of Fresno in the early 80’s I like the band Journey, have memories of driving through farm land and visiting Sequoia National Park every summer and swimming at Millerton Lake, growing up surrounded by “Reagan Democrats.”

    The fact that I’m “part black” has no bearing in defining my identity. Except, of course, having a very strong sense that racism is wrong, which I got from my grandfather, who had a more personal reason than I did for his feelings.

    Which means I would be uncomfortable with your hypothetical person who discovers he is “part black” as similarly as I am with Rachel Dolezal.

  33. 23 comments- wow, haven’t read them all.
    1. Why is the government in the business anymore of tracking people’s racial identity?
    2. People who obsess over race, whether theirs or someone elses, have problems. I’ve never once come to the conclusion “Hey! I’m white!” Always been a family story we have Indian blood. If we do, it’s from the Powhatan tribe, and they’re DNA is so mixed in with settler DNA no one knows it’s there… But so what? I’ve also never thought “Gee, I’m Irish, or Scottish, or English, or Welsh, or French, or Spanish, or Italian, or German, or any of the other places my traceable ancestors came from. I was born in America, E Pluribus Unum, I’m American, as were all my ancestors who came here or the purpose of being American. Or were transported her- I have a bunch of those. Wasn’t just Blacks who got here involuntarily. Georgia was a penal colony.

    1. ” People who obsess over race, whether theirs or someone elses, have problems. ”

      What is your opinion with respect to the Volokh Conspiracy’s choices of contributors from the perspective of race and gender? Is it White enough for you? Male enough for you?

      1. I’ve never looked at their color or sex. Beautiful thing about the internet- you have to judge what’s written on the basis of what’s written, not the color, religion, or sex of who wrote it- which apparently you’re obsessed with. Should we all include pictures so Arthur L. Kirkland can judge whether or not our opinions are valid?

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