The Corner

An American Madness

Will Sarah P. be considered a woman — by the media, by the “chattering classes”? That is a question worth pondering. Possibly, she’ll be considered just a conservative Republican. Did anyone ever consider Mrs. Thatcher a woman — in a political-electoral context? Are black conservatives considered black? Are Cuban Americans considered Hispanic?

One of my favorite facts about a recent Supreme Court case had to do with this last question. The case was the University of Michigan Law School case (relating to race preferences). According to documents submitted, an admissions officer questioned whether Cubans should be counted as Hispanic, saying, “Don’t they vote Republican?”

Race, ethnicity, and “gender” are very, very screwy things. I have written about this general subject all my writing life. Years ago, there was a mayoral race in Detroit. The two top contenders were African American. One was a dark-skinned man and the other was a light-skinned woman, with freckles. The theme of the woman’s campaign was that the man wasn’t black enough. In other words, she was to his left — and he did not express sufficient grievance.

Yes, a very, very screwy country, in many ways.


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