Niall Ferguson says the fracas over Elizabeth Warren reveals a deep flaw in liberal politicsHistorians in the News
tags: politics, Niall Ferguson, Elizabeth Warren
It was the week identity politics ate itself.
It was the week we learned that US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is between 1/1,024th and 1/64th Native American Indian. It was also the week that Harvard University — universally acknowledged as a bastion of American liberalism — was taken to court for discriminating against Asian-American applicants.
Savor last week. It may mean that we have reached a long overdue turning point.
Looking back, you can see why Warren was tempted to turn the family lore that her great-great-great-grandmother was part Native American into a full-blown claim to minority status. She built her career as a law professor during the 1980s and 1990s, when the first great wave of political correctness was sweeping American campuses. At that time, as liberal academia scrambled to appear more “diverse,” being both a woman and a Native American suddenly became the opposite of disadvantageous.
Similar calculations were being made by Ivy League admissions offices as they sought ways to increase the diversity of their traditionally very white student bodies. The policy of “affirmative action” essentially lowered the academic standards expected of African-American, Hispanic, and Native American applicants. The immediate and intended consequence was to deny some well-qualified white students places at Harvard and Yale they would otherwise have won. ...
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