It occurs to me that there’s a connection between two memetic tropes floating in rightist circles. The first is the reference to Barrack Obama as Barry. The more recent is calling Elizabeth Warren, Pocahontas. I’ve tried to get my mind around the meaning of–and in– these terms, presumably intended as insults. Then it hit me.
In both cases, the implication is that these people are trying to pass themselves off as something other. The underlying subtext, of coarse, is that the minority other is accorded a privileged–and undeserved–position and given the special treatment that goes with that. And the gripe is that these charlatans, though actually no better than or more deserving than ‘you and me’ are pretending they belong in that special victim class and therefore, in a way…act like and be treated better that the unsung and forgotten rest of us.
I don’t agree with this line of thinking as regards either of these individuals. But so long as the left pretends not to understand what the argument is, and instead tries to paint the right as just making a racist statement about Native Americans by using the term Pocahontas, we’re going to keep talking past each other.
A. Darius Kamali