These rather striking photos of retired baseball slugger Sammy Sosa Before and After he began using one of those lotions so popular in the Third World for bleaching skin got me to thinking (as usual) about the future of American politics
These amusing Sosa pictures are particularly ironic. I have been involved in dozens of discussions where some naive newcomer has asked, reasonably enough, "On what grounds do Hispanics get racial preferences? Are they a race?" Then, somebody familiar with the federal categories of legally protected groups will explain that, officially, Hispanics can be any race, such as, say, black.
And the most frequently cited example of a black Hispanic has been, in my experience, Sammy Sosa.
Yet Sammy himself apparently isn't too happy about being the face of black Hispanicity. (Hey, powerful chemicals worked for Sammy before in challenging Mark McGwire for the home run record. So why not try some new ones?)
Weird and painful as it looks, this kind of thing happens all the time all over the world, although it's usually women expensively bleaching their skin.
None of these commercials could be shown on American television.
"A strong majority of Indians view themselves as fair and just 2% perceive themselves as dark, according to a Little India analysis of nearly 1.67 million profiles on India's largest matrimonial site. An examination of Bharat Matrimony determined that 57% of the profiles were self-classified as fair or very fair and another 33% as wheatish or wheatish brown."
[Fair and Ugly - Indian Americans and Skin Color Politics, Achal Mehra, Little India, March 1, 2010]
Similarly, I've noticed that Asian golfers of both sexes in Pasadena, California have recently started using giant parasols to keep themselves from getting darker.
Fairer people tend to be of higher social rank in India, Mexico, the Philippines, the Middle East, and so forth. Even Papa Doc Duvalier, the Black Power dictator of Haiti, once baffled an American reporter by explaining that 96 percent of Haitians are white—in Haiti, the one-drop rule is that one drop of white blood gives you an excuse to claim to be white.
Why this near universal prejudice in favor of fairness in non-Europeans?
Some of it has to do with indoor jobs typically being of higher prestige. And of course there are deeper roots, such as the prestige associated with whites in Latin America and India by their conquests. It's not just the British influence on India. The Indian caste system, with its color prejudices, reflects, in part, the prehistoric conquest of South Asia by northerners.
In general, over the course of human history, northerners have conquered southerners more often than vice-versa.
Yet why is fairness associated with higher social class even in countries never-colonized countries such as Japan? As anthropologist Peter Frost has documented, the "fair sex" actually is about ten percent fairer on average than their own brothers. Thus, lighter skin registers subconsciously as a slightly feminine trait. (That's why Sluggin' Sammy looks so creepy above.)
Sexual selection then comes into play. Men of higher class are more able to choose wives they view as attractive. And thus the children of higher-class men and fairer women tend to be lighter-skinned than average.
For example, young George P. Bush, whom his grandfather, the President, called "my little brown one", is a rare upper class man of quite dark complexion. His bride, however, is as blonde as you would expect, so their descendants will tend to be fairer than George P.
Meanwhile, darker women and less successful men tend to find each other, and their children tend to be darker and lower down the social scale.
There are of course endless individual exceptions to this pattern. But this general tendency appears to be part of the deep structure of human nature.
Let's keep that in mind as we review the American conventional wisdom about the future of politics:
Unless the Republican Party leadership becomes even more obsessive than it already is about amnesty and racial preferences, the GOP is doomed by immigration-driven diversity! (In fact, the GOP is probably doomed anyway no matter how many Bushes and McCains it runs for President, unless it purges, or at least silences, all its voters who don't agree with its elites.)!
After all, the GOP is the Party of White People. And, as countless American TV commercials inform us, what could be more shameful than being white? Voting is aspirational, and who would ever aspire to associate themselves with anybody as uncool as white people? Surely, nobody in Latin America, Asia, or Africa would ever aspire to be considered whiter! It's a tribute to the nobility of spirit of immigrants that they deign to immigrate to a country built by whites at all!
However, when seen from a global perspective, this assumption that the Republican Party is doomed because immigrants view it as The White Party in an increasingly nonwhite America seems … parochial.
Amazingly, this policy was to a significant extent invented by appeasement-minded Republicans (see below). In effect, Republicans have been practicing a long-term strategy that is the opposite of Divide and Conquer—namely, Unify and Surrender.
As a result, the immigrant ethnicities reason that, sure, their parents may have wanted them to present themselves as light-skinned as possible. But in this crazy country, the government pays them to claim on official documents to be less white. So why not?
And, under the current system, the primary job of Hispanic and Asian leaders has become to defend and extend their groups' racial/ethnic privileges (including immigration policies that de facto favors them).
Not surprisingly, these leaders overwhelmingly identify with the Democrats, who are always going to be more enthusiastic than the Republicans about defending and extending affirmative action, disparate impact law and swamping the historic American nation with non-traditional immigrants
Case in point: while the percentage of Latinos who vote Democratic fluctuates over time, politically ambitious Latinos (with the exception of Cubans) are almost unanimously Democratic. A National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials study found that 91 percent of Latino officeholders in 2007 who had been elected in partisan races were Democrats.
For example, in Texas the Hispanophilic Bush dynasty has dominated the GOP since the 1960s. Nevertheless, there are now three dozen Hispanic Democrats in the state legislature and zero (0) Hispanic Republicans.
To coin a phrase: Bushies, you are doing a heck of a job!
This reflex among Republican elites like the Bush dynasty to treat as many immigrant groups as possible as Blacks Lite—bribing them with various legal privileges—has been evident for many years.
For example, as long ago as 1969, it was the Nixon Administration that actually invented racial quotas (the Philadelphia Plan) on the brilliant theory that it would punish a nepotistic white craft union. That would drive a wedge between blacks and Democratic unions!
Notice how that worked out?
And in 1973, following the Supreme Court's 1971 Griggs decision inventing the doctrine of disparate impact to benefit blacks via de facto quotas, the second Nixon Administration decided to count Asians (virtually all of them immigrants) as a separate race.
The Nixon Administration's invention of the entire concept of Hispanic "ethnicity", has been particularly conceptually bewildering. For years, the Office of Management and Budget only allowed two ethnicities to exist: "Hispanic" and "Non-Hispanic." But in the 2010 Census questionnaire dropped the word "ethnicity" entirely, and merely asked "8. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish Origin?" The Census Bureau gave up attempting to justify the Hispanic question with any sort of anthropological theory, merely asserting that this is "needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions …" The Census also made the nonsensical claim "State and local governments may use the data to help plan and administer bilingual programs for people of Hispanic origin". This makes no sense whatsoever because the Census did not ask about languages spoken.
These rationalizations are mere bureaucratic bafflegab designed to justify interest group politics. The power resides in the numbers.
In 1982, the Reagan Administration switched Indian immigrants from Caucasian to Asian so they could benefit from nonwhite privileges in government contracting and SBA lending. In 1991, the first President Bush signed the 1991 Civil Rights Act overriding the Supreme Court's decision against disparate treatment. The second President Bush let Alberto Gonzales undermine the Supreme Court case against quotas in 2003.
Have these stratagems made blacks, East Asians, Hispanics, and Asian Indians eternally grateful to the GOP?
Not so far as anyone can tell. Instead, each move helped push the legally privileged groups into the arms of the Democrats.
Note also that, for the purposes of quotas and disparate impact, black immigrants and their children were privileged even if they were descendants of slave traders rather than American slaves—like, for example, Barack Obama, And preferences were extended to people of mixed white-black background as long as they were willing to call themselves black.
Yo, Republican Brain Trust! How did racially empowering Barack Obama work out for you in 2008?
The rules for interest group counting, mostly originating with the Nixon Administration, have had far-reaching consequences: if the government doesn't ask, then disparate impact discrimination lawsuits can't tell.
Thus the Census Bureau decided never to ask about religion during the 1950s. As a result of this decision, while there are occasional disparate treatment lawsuits over religion, there are no disparate impact lawsuits over religion. Why not? Because the government doesn't count people by religion—so there is no way to calculate whether the EEOC's Four-Fifth's Rule is being violated.
In a much-noted article last week Senator Jim Webb called on Friday for the ending of racial quotas for immigrant groups:
"Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end." [Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2010]
My take: I agree with Webb's implication that it may be inevitable that African-Americans, as the descendants of slaves, will get special privileges in America forever.
(Fortunately, Indian nations jealously guard who gets on their rolls—because the chief pecuniary benefit of being a registered member of an American Indian tribe, the profits from a single casino, is finite. In 2007, for instance, the AP reported:
"Cherokee Nation members have voted to revoke the tribal citizenship of an estimated 2,800 descendants of the people the Cherokee Indians once owned as slaves."
So the ranks of official American Indians aren't likely to expand vastly—in contrast to the numbers of privileged Hispanics, who are currently forecast by the government to reach 132,000,000 in four decades.)
One weakness in Webb's suggestion: most "diversity programs" are only indirectly (or covertly) "government-directed." For example, Bush AG Gonzales filed the 2007 Vulcan Society discrimination suit against the Fire Department of New York for using an objective hiring test on which whites did better than blacks and Hispanics. The Bush Administration's demanded outcome was not an overt "government-directed diversity program," but the replacement of a good test with randomly bad hiring.
My view: The absolute key to getting immigrant ethnic elites to side with economic liberty is to take away, once and for all, the legal preferences that the government currently gives them.
Here's what I think the GOP needs to do to as soon as it gets back into power save economic liberty (and itself): Eliminate all government racial and ethnic designations except African American and American Indian. The government must stop counting all categories other than the two main historical victims.
Get rid of the "Are you Hispanic?" question.
And, just as the Census Bureau has dispensed with asking about ethnicity in general, it should dispense with asking about race. Merely ask:
Are you on the official rolls of a federally recognized American Indian nation? If so, which one?
Everybody else should be legally equal.
After the government stops paying members of immigrant groups to think of themselves as Blacks Lite, their fundamental Sammy Sosaish racial attitudes will have more chance to operate politically. Their natural leaders will ask, "What are we doing in the Party of Obama—the Black Party?"
Will it be politically easy to strip Hispanics and Asians of legal privileges?
But once their ability to carve out legal privileges is gone, they will rapidly become less relevant. After the government stops bribing immigrant groups to declare themselves nonwhite, they will have less need of the Democrats. The Sammy Sosa Solution will begin to work.
My question to the GOP "leadership": if not now, when?
[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]