WASPs, blue-eyed greed, and...
0 comment Wednesday, August 20, 2014 |
...brown-eyed resentment.
Steve Sailer has a second post relating to Maureen Dowd's article on 'blue-eyed greed.'
Maureen Dowd's NYT column "Blue Eyed Greed?" convinced me to sit down and take a vaguely systematic stab at figuring out the ethnic backgrounds of the people whose names come up these days in relation to the universe of American finance.
I first wasted time some time squinting at pictures of Angelo Mozilo and Bernie Madoff trying to figure out what their eye colors were, but then I gave that up as hopelessly literal-minded. Obviously, Dowd (a red-haired Irish Catholic who felt undervalued because she has brown eyes) is using the code terms "blue eyed" and "white bread bankers" to refer to Northern European Protestants. So, it made more sense to look up ancestry, religion, and self-identification directly.
So, here's what I found.
- The old stereotype that the financial world is run by Northern European Protestants from the Northeast appears outmoded. I came up with six WASPs out of 40, but three were politicians (George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Phil Gramm, only one of whom grew up wealthy); one was an accused crook of working class rural origin (Sir Allen Stanford); one was a Southern army sergeant's son (Ken Lewis of Bank of America); and one was from the Northeastern media elite, Daniel Mudd of Freddie Mac, son of newscaster Roger Mudd and a descendant of the doctor who set John Wilkes Booth's broken leg, who has managed to make the family name mud again. (If you want to count Barack Obama as half-WASP, you can make it 6.5.) This 6 out of 40 feels a little low, but that's what I've got.''
(Incidentally, this relates to some of the information posted on the Race/History/Evolution blog a while back, starting with the linked post and continuing in subsequent posts.)
Sailer goes on to examine the ethnic origins of the various figures in top positions in finance, and concludes:
So, what does it add up to?
Well, first, Maureen Dowd's media stereotype about the financial world as dominated by an Old Boy's Network of blond, blue-eyed WASPs is badly out of date. Finance has evolved from an old Relationship Model to a newer Transaction Model about who can make you the most money in a New York minute.''
[Emphasis mine]
Dowd is hardly the only one spreading this popular misconception that some kind of WASP blueblood elite really runs everything; the idea is surprisingly persistent though when challenged, the people who assert this idea as fact never seem to be able to name names and be specific.
Recently when I was challenged on why I write so much on this blog about WASPs (it's divisive, don't you know; it makes others feel excluded, apparently) I gave some thought to it, and I think the main reason why I do focus more on WASPs is because nobody else seems to, at least not in a favorable way; those who do mention WASPs usually do so in a resentful way, referring to them as elites, snobs who lord it over others. How often do any of us hear anything favorable said about White Anglo-Saxon Protestants? Usually they are mentioned along with terms like 'white-bread' or along with synonyms like 'uptight', 'strait-laced', 'boring' 'bland', and so on.
WASPs are essentially the quintessential White Americans, whether that's viewed as good or as bad -- and these days it's considered mostly bad. Everybody is willing to disparage WASPs and few people even want to claim their WASP ancestry, considering it a non-heritage, an absence of a heritage, sort of a nonentity ethnicity. So who steps up to defend WASPs? I can't think of anybody, off the top of my head, who does so. So I feel compelled to step into the breach.
And the fact is, (and I know that it rankles, for some people) WASPs made this country. The overwhelming majority of the colonists of Massachusetts and Virginia were English. Most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were English. Some people insist otherwise, but they were English and Protestant for the most part. After a century or so of pro-immigrant, pro-ethnic propaganda, it's become difficult to discuss this fact because many people want it to be otherwise, but WASPs made this country, and put their stamp on it, which others now want to efface and to remove forever. And I think this is an injustice and an affront to the truth, and I won't let it go unchallenged.
The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant heritage is a kind of orphaned heritage; nobody wants to claim it or to own it. It's bland, it's empty, it's "dull" and everybody knows WASPs oppressed all those vibrant immigrants who arrived here later. They put up signs saying 'no Irish need apply', (which never happened, but millions are convinced it did in fact happen, nonetheless) or they enslaved blacks, whereas we know that no other ethnicity did so, supposedly, and so on. And of course they were wealthy and educated and snobbish and bland.
One ironic thing that occurs to me as I read the Sailer comments: in determining who is WASP and who is not, the issue is confused because many people of ethnic ancestries saw fit to adopt Anglo-Saxon surnames, and first names, obscuring their actual ethnicity. Why? I mean, if you dislike WASPs as those awful snobs who discriminated against your immigrant ancestors, why adopt a hateful WASP surname and why get cosmetic surgery to make yourself look more WASP-like?
The comments on the earlier Sailer piece on the topic were interesting as usual
One commenter quoted Camille Paglia:
I have been at war with WASPiness since I grew up in upstate New York in the 1950s and early '60s. There is no way to describe the brute social power of the WASP establishment of that period -- the smooth, bland, coded good manners; the hidden past interconnections of families and business associations; the mysterious alliance between chic sororities (overpopulated by blondes) and the most prestigious Presbyterian church in town.
"College at the State University of New York at Binghamton in the revolutionary mid-1960s was a delicious relief for me. The counterculture was booming amid a fantasia of new influences from psychedelia, African-American blues, London Mod, and Andy Warhol's glittery Factory. And at my college there were so many dynamic, super-articulate, politically activist, and screamingly funny Jewish students from downstate New York that I felt the world had changed forever.''
So sorry that Paglia and lots of other ethnics like her felt inferior to WASPs (or those they believed to be WASPy) but that's not my problem. If they were affronted by 'good manners' and 'interconnections', too bad. But that's no reason to carry grudges all these years and to codify your personal shortcomings and resentments into political agendas, as many ethnics do. I don't know whether libertarian Paglia supports open borders or not, but many of her ethnic counterparts do, with a vengeance --- literally. Half of this open borders fanaticism is fueled by people who are envious of WASPs just for being WASPs. The chip-on-the-shoulder attitude is what drives much of this multiculturalism and diversity nonsense.
The WASP continues to be the favorite bogeyman of many different groups of people in this country, and even non-WASP Whites get to feel the brunt of it; if you are White, Protestant, and generally of Western European ancestry, you are considered a kind of WASP, regardless of whether you have any English ancestry. And since the WASP has been such a handy scapegoat and whipping boy for the perceived travails of ethnic Americans, he will continue to be pilloried, even if and when the last WASP is six feet under -- unless more of us stand up for ourselves and stop accepting all the blame for whatever grievances the others are nursing.

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