Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

What Does the Modern Malleability of Gender and Race Mean for the Future of Affirmative Action?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

 

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

22 Thoughts on “What Does the Modern Malleability of Gender and Race Mean for the Future of Affirmative Action?

  1. When I was young, people who thought they were Napoleon or Jesus or Hitler were thought to be crazy. They weren’t?

  2. Since the 1970s, there has been a concerted effort among liberal social scientists to deny any biological validity to the concept of race. Likewise, these scientists worked hard to deny that humans had any genetic predispositions as individuals, and thus to deny that gender, racial, or even personal differences could have any genetic basis. Modern findings show that genes do influence us individually and by gender.

    Sex can be politically relevant, but it frequently turns out to be less important than feminist activists hope. As Henry Kissinger supposedly said, “No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there`s too much fraternizing with the enemy.”

    Relatedness or race is typically the single most common dimension along which people align themselves politically.

    Sharing relatives gives people more reason to trust each other—for instance, Jared Diamond notes that when two strangers meet on a lonely and lawless jungle path in New Guinea, they immediately start a far-reaching discussion of who all their relatives are, looking for overlap so they can be more confident the other person won`t kill them. Similarly, organized crime families typically have real extended families as their nuclei because relatives can trust each other more when outside the law.

    Further, blood relatives are more likely to share other potent “ethnic” identity markers, such as language and religion.

  3. Roy Digliani on August 27, 2015 at 10:55 am said:

    You get It 99.99% right as usual but in reality Rachel Dolezal IS an African American as we all are.
    It’s a genetic reality no matter where our distant ancestors migrated to or from in the past or recent past but your point is well taken anyway.
    Please no more pictures of Ms. TransJenner
    I’d seriously rather see those Planned Parenthood fetus pictures and those are pretty horrifying.
    Nothing against the person at all really….it just creeps me out.

    • Jeff Stanley on August 28, 2015 at 4:39 pm said:

      Dittos on the “creeps me out” sentiment.

    • The common scheme that divides humans into roughly five continental groups is reflected in the genes and in physical structure, especially of the skeleton. Based on random changes to DNA, we can identify how many ancient populations there were and which population (or populations) an individual is descended from. Genetically, humans fall naturally into five continental groups, each representing a relatively isolated population. These are Africans, Indo-Europeans, (East) Asians, Australians, and Americans. Based on physical features, a forensic scientists can identify which continental group a skeleton comes from. These continental groups correspond roughly with the common categories of black, white, Asian, Australian aborigine, and Native American. Genetically, Indians (from India) are Indo-European, which would make them “white,” if our racial terminology actually matched our underlying genetics.

    • It creeps me out too, but the mainstream popular culture today keeps telling me I’m either a bad person or evil for feeling that way. I choose to believe it is THEY who are wrong.

  4. Empress Trudy on August 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm said:

    That’s not the half of it. Men are men and women are women because of extremely crucial hormonal differences which drive not only behavioral differences but actual structural differences in the brain. Men and women think and feel differently because their biochemistry forces them to. Its not magic. A man who decides to outwardly adopt the accouterments of appearing female in middle age has a middle aged mans brain and biochemisty. He becoming a she won’t change at that point for instance her likelihood to die from heart disease in a man’s body. Nor will it change the chemical and structural differences in a middle aged man’s brain.

    • dupere on August 27, 2015 at 2:16 pm said:

      Forgive if the following is too much.The Soul is neither male nor female, but it’s fun to engage in the playthings of the mind, or become entangled in the cravings of the body. The body is a vehicle for the Soul to transcend the things of the Earth. Wisdom wedded to devotion.

  5. zygote314 on August 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm said:

    Is it not apropos that a phony civil rights group like Black Lives Matter would have a phony black guy leading it? LOL!

    Bruce, ahem, Caitlyn Jenner will always be a man, no matter how much reconstructive surgery he has. This is because every cell in his body will always have the XX chromosome.

    Ward Churchill and Elizabeth Warren are both dispicable frauds. And, with any luck, the academic world will never hear from Churchill again. Unfortunately for the rest of Society, the people of Massachusetts have chosen to elevate “Chief” Warren to the U.S. Senate, which may also lead to the WH. Just as a Lena Horne was forced to cover up her slight African American heritage in order that her incredible talents were not wasted, we’ve now come to the point where the untalented are claiming minority status in order to advance themselves.

    How will a society based on such fraud and mediocrity survive?

  6. dupere on August 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm said:

    ” We are still fighting the old battle between nature and culture.” Corrupt,godless minds are in key power positions around the world, pushing coarseness—pitting Brother against Brother. One man in Germany with a small band of followers, the poison grew,engulfing the entire Nation………

  7. John Lewis on August 27, 2015 at 6:29 pm said:

    really, isn’t this the solution to the gender problem? If someone is unhappy with his treatment as a male, he can simply become a she. And versa vice. Or whatever.

    The ideas of race which are currently bedevilling the US are to some extent obsolescent. I spent a year at PSU in central Pennsylvania, and certainly there white was white and black was black and never the twain would mice except in athletics, But I noticed on a trip to San Francisco that assigning race was not at all easy, in most cases, especially with younger people. And until the recent outbreak of radical misgovernment, San Francisco appeared much more the shape of things to come than central Pennsyvania!

  8. John Lewis on August 27, 2015 at 6:30 pm said:

    “mix” not “mice”

  9. 2FacebookFriends4JustKeepItSimple
    Pronouns had been taught me in grammar school to be straightforward and simple. Male is referred to as he. Female gets a she. If you are neither, you are referred to as an it. Then in the name of diversity the language police muddled it all up. In their heels promptly followed the diversity enforcement brigade, sanctioned and fortified by government bureaucracy at every conceivable level.

    http://acelilacs.webs.com/apps/blog/show/43484258-gender-distinctive-humanity

  10. David Park on August 28, 2015 at 7:34 am said:

    We seem to have arrived at the present with two genders as a probable product of one of two paths. One path might be a possibly omnipotent deity deciding that male and female were to be the basic choice of assuring mankind and its offspring a stabile future. The other path might be Mother Nature or Evolution which experimented over millions of years and trillions of trials and errors with possibilities that eventually settled on the male and female model as best for mankind’s survival. Even with imperfections and mistakes in both paths, either path could have created a being that reproduced itself with no gender at all or even multiple genders, but that did not happen. Even allowing for present imperfections in gender design, we have a new type of thinking that tosses out both the wisdom of a possible omnipotent being and the vast timeline and history of evolution in favor of mere social opinions and self gratifying convenience which proves that the vastness of creation presently observed by man is surpassed only by his overriding arrogance.

  11. Anthony Mxyzptlk on August 28, 2015 at 11:05 am said:

    “Our 21st-century postmodern culture says that we can become whatever we declare ourselves to be. But age-old realities suggest that only nature determines our gender and race.”

    The truth remains that there is no sex-change clinic that can install a functioning uterus and ovaries in a male body, nor functioning testicles in a female body.

    It is possible for a man to live like a woman, or even fancy himself to be a woman, but there still remains a yawning abyss between the inner emotional state and the outer physiological state.

    It seems unlikely that modern medical science will make any serious attempt to change this, given the plentiful supply of existing people of both sexes. We may see research into whether men who take high doses of female hormones are at higher risk of developing cancer, but that may be about it, unless some well-heeled transies finance such research out of their own pockets. .

  12. sirs:

    all this means nothing. it is fashion, borne by luxury, and plenty of time to waste.

    it comes. it goes.

    john jay

  13. Roy Digliani on August 28, 2015 at 6:35 pm said:

    After digesting your well delineated assessment of progressive identity concepts I’ve concluded that according to their precepts mine is what I’ve always felt it was; That of a well intentioned, kind , generous, thoughtful and caring man with zero racial or gender bias or prejudice and not that which it’s suggested is inescapable and has been put forth as the genetic inheritance of every middle aged Caucasian male.
    That of a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, white privileged, patriarchal bigot.
    I appreciate you clarifying that for me.

  14. On the sunny side of this very American problem I urge the author to kneel down and thank God that German is not the language in the US and neither is French.

    If it was the distinction between feminine and masculine articles in either language would launch fierce fights about gender discrimination attached to words. On a sunny day like today would it be “die Sonne” the feminine German sun and would that be discriminating against the male gender – or even the feminine for being too hot. Would the argument translate to the opposite for “le soleil” is the masculine sun in French?

    Just imagine that you would vote in the next Presidential-slash-Presidentricial (or whatever is right here) elections. Would it be Hillary for president, presidentrice, presidentresse or what?

    I conclude English needs a second article in the future to complement the tradional “the”. I suggest an article, say “pee”, to indicate the “politcally correct gender”, or rather “pee politically correct gender”. I say in this in memory of George Orwell who invented the word “newspeak” but did not invent today’s world of nonsense.

  15. dupere on August 30, 2015 at 11:32 pm said:

    Quoting the following–” Paradigm shift is when a significant change happens—–how a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions, caused one conceptual world view to be replaced by another view.” The view has shifted on China— centrally planned thievery on a scale never witnessed, never to be witnessed again. 16 more months of a golfing presidency—-The conceptual view that the USA is a master of its own destiny may be tested. The centrally planned behemoth of theft and capital destruction is sinking, 1.4 billion people, along with every country on the planet that fed it. Another paradigm shift may result from all this, when it’s all said and done.

  16. Jared Carter on August 31, 2015 at 12:32 am said:

    vdh,
    I disagree with your thesis of Modern Malleability of Gender and Race and what it means for Affirmative Action. Transgender people experience a mix match, yes it is true that it has happened in the annuals of classical history. One must recognize that transgender is also an umbrella term that decrees a cryptology of Affrimative Action today. There is significance differences between what occured in the past in Greece and Rome, compared to what occurs today. Essentially, we see a Transgener association and a transexual association as well. Drag kings and queens are very different today then they were in ancient Greece or Rome. It is better to look at past the Romans and Greeks and instead at the 1950s. Christine Jorgensen beacame the first widely publicized person to have undergone sex reassigment surgery (in this case male to female) like Jenner. Around 1966 the Transsexual Phenomenon really caused an explosion in America. The transgender role and as it relates to Affirmative Action seems far fetched. A historian must examine with the persmision of the participant the oral histories of transsexuals in order to arrive at in-dept study. Oral history is very important and oral history projects on Transsexual Phenomenon’s offer insightful evidence. I have contacted Jenner’s agent to begin a project. It is my hope that he will work with me on understanding this subject matter more. Dully noted, transgender and affirmative action connection is only significant as it relates to people of color who experience unemployment at four times the national average. I think it best to examine laws that are based on the discrimination that arrives from your thesis and the acknowledgement of the importance of understanding the indivudual in history by looking at the written oral record.
    J.W. Carter
    Caruthers, Ca

  17. Watashi on August 31, 2015 at 4:48 am said:

    I am the legal owner of planet Earth.
    I am initiating eviction proceedings to all Democrats/Liberals/Progressives.
    There are many other planets suitable for you to contaminate.
    You have been warned.

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