Most people on what is broadly called the political ‘right’ in America laugh at the liberal proclamation that ‘race is a social construct’, just as we ridicule (rightly) the idea that ‘gender’ is not a fixed biological reality.
In a post the other day I wrote about people like Elizabeth Warren, the daffy college professor/politician who believes she is “Native American”. Then there was another college professor, Ward Churchill, who claimed to be (what else?) Cherokee — but lacking any proof of that assertion, just as with Warren.
We tend to think of this kind of thing as being peculiar to liberals/progressives, with their Rousseauian “noble savage” admiration, their reverence for all things nonwhite and Third World and primitive. But it isn’t just liberals who somehow feel the need to claim some kind of ‘diverse’ ancestry; there are plenty of people around the right-wing blogs who also insist that they have some vague, remote nonwhite ancestry, usually American Indian, most often Cherokee, via the ubiquitous Cherokee princess great-great grandmother. Were there that many Cherokees several generations back, and that many Cherokee ‘princesses’ who married White men? If you believe all the anecdotal claims, the Cherokee must have been a very numerous tribe and most of their women (princesses or otherwise) must have married White men.
See the list on this blog of just some of the many celebrities who claim to be partly Cherokee. I am sure there are many more who are not listed.
I wonder why these oral traditions (most of which prove to be legends, or at least cannot be proven true) persist, and more importantly, why so many White Americans cherish these fables? Why is this so important, even to ‘conservative’ Whites who are somewhat less in awe of nonwhites?
For what it’s worth, many Southrons believe they are ‘part Cherokee’ and I am not sure why that story is so common, and so cherished, among White Southrons who are supposedly so ”racist.”
I notice that on the list linked above, there are many Southron celebrities (like Johnny Cash) among those who believed they had Cherokee blood. I did read that Cash, when his family tree or DNA were checked, found no Indian blood, but British Isles ancestry.
I think that most Southrons do not see American Indians as really so much nonwhite, as there seems to be little stigma against Indian-White unions, at least several generations back in the family tree. Even now, many race-realists seem to think Asian-White pairings are not only all right, but desirable, as also with Filipino-White unions. It seems there is a ‘race-realist’ hierarchy of which groups are more Other, and which are appropriate to mix with. Which proves that many race-realists are not as much pro-White as anti-black.
The South used to hold to the one-drop rule, but I see a lot of confusion these days, with some people saying that ‘half-black is not black.’ Things have changed; the left has confused a lot of us about racial identity, and that is their goal: to create so much doubt and confusion that we will all eventually buy the idea that race does not really exist, as there are no “pure” races. We are all mixed-up, so they say. Well, yes, we are, in the sense of being confused.
If you read the comments at that blog I linked in this post, you will find a few White Americans who are incensed that their claim to Cherokee blood is being questioned, despite their lack of proof. So it’s obviously important to them and to their sense of identity. This is sad.
Can we blame this racial confusion on just the recent years of propaganda or is it something much deeper-rooted than that? Is it that White Americans have been so stripped of a sense of identity, in an ethnic and racial sense, and now so vilified for it, that we would rather borrow somebody else’s identity and heritage to feel important? To feel as if we actually have an identity? Or do we, like most liberals, find races and cultures distant from ours to be especially appealing because they are so exotic, so ”other”? Do we want to return, in our minds at least, to an idyllic ‘noble savagery‘ of the kind idealized (falsely) by Rousseau, Gauguin, and so many others?
We have been fed so much glamorized fiction about primitive cultures, and today, about their ‘vibrancy’, that we have been made to feel that our heritage and culture is bland and colorless by comparison. “White bread”, “pale and stale”.
Pride in who we are, who our ancestors were, is all but banned these days. Cultural envy and ‘cultural appropriation’ — and now, racial appropriation, is a consequence.
This writer, writing a dozen years ago, may be onto something, in his essay about the allure of the ‘noble savage’ ideal:
“This powerful and diabolical enchantment has cast its spell over the liberal imagination. We have pagans in our midst. Our culture war masks a deeper struggle against spiritual darkness. Until the spell which Rousseau and Gauguin cast over the west is broken, the imaginary noble savage will be exalted. As long as the savage reigns in the liberal imagination, western civilization in general and America in particular as the leader of the west will be blamed for every human evil. The savage heart of faux primitivism hates civilization.”