Patterico's Pontifications


Jeb Bush – Hispanic

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:27 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is making the rounds, and depending on how you feel about Jeb Bush, it may or may not cause you to bat an eye:

There is little doubt that Jeb Bush possesses strong credentials for appealing to Hispanic voters.

He speaks fluent Spanish. His wife, Columba, was born in Mexico. For two years in his 20s, he lived in Venezuela, immersing himself in the country’s culture. He was born in Texas and is a former governor of Florida, two states with large Hispanic populations.

But on one occasion, it appears, Mr. Bush may have become a bit carried away: He listed himself as Hispanic on a 2009 voter-registration application in Miami-Dade County.

Of course, an immediate comparison was made between Señor Bush and that of Elizabeth Warren conveniently identifying as Native American during a time when top schools were desperately trying to hire minorities and diversity was all the rage. Except that while Warren clearly had much to gain from her Native American claims, Bush doesn’t appear to have had anything to gain from his claim of being Hispanic.

For his part, Bush admitted the mistake and even joked about it:

My mistake! Don’t think I’ve fooled anyone! RT @JebBushJr LOL – come on dad, think you checked the wrong box #HonoraryLatino
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) April 6, 2015

Further, Kathryn Jean Lopez spoke with Bush today:

“I have no clue what happened,” he says. “I appreciate the New York Times using all these valuable resources to point out the obvious: I am not Hispanic. Wow. That’s a Pultizer Prize–winning fact, I guess.” The former governor of Florida again added: “I have no clue how that happened . . .”

In a similar spirit, he adds on the phone today, “I guess . . . there wasn’t a little box that said WASP?” Of course, that wouldn’t quite work either, he says, since he converted to Catholicism two decades ago. “It seems pretty trivial to me,” he says.

Asked about how Hispanic culture has been a part of his life, he explains: “My wife is from Mexico. We live in Miami. I grew up in Texas. We lived in Venezuela — my two oldest children were a baby and a toddler at the time.” Honorary Latino or not, he says, “Hispanic culture has been an important part of my life.”

While some are claiming it’s possible he so identifies with Hispanics, he actually views himself as one, others are looking at it in a broader sense:

If he’d checked “Asian,” I could believe it was an error, but this was no error; it’s just another manifestation (maybe even subconscious) of his rejection of his own background and embrace of a different one. It’s his way of subscribing to the tribalism that Jay notes today has replaced color-blindness and assimilationism (on the post-American right as well as on the left).

Jeb’s fakery suggests why we should abolish government racial and ethnic categories, building a wall of separation, as it were, between race and state, as we do between church and state. No one would think of asking your religion on a voter-registration form or job application — in fact, it’s illegal. So should it be for other attributes that are irrelevant to the content of your character — hair color, say, or handedness or what country your grandparents came from.

(Bush is currently polling second at 17% to Scott Walker’s 20%.)

Politico UVA Think Piece: Why Should Facts Define the Narrative?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

Over the weekend, Rolling Stone retracted its blockbuster UVA story, and apologized to everyone involved. Nobody was fired or quit, and no changes to editorial policy have been announced. Reassuring!

But if you want to know how a narrative trumps facts in the mind of journalists, look no further than this think piece published in Politico (safe Google Cache link):

I am drained. I am confused. But I keep returning to one question. If everyone here believed Jackie’s story until yesterday — a story in which she is violently raped by seven men at a fraternity house as part of a planned initiation ritual — should we not still be concerned?

There was something in that story which stuck. And that means something.

You see where we’re headed: author Julia Horowitz is trying to sell us Fake But Accurate. It gets worse:

The University of Virginia — like most American universities — has a problem with rape. Current estimates, cited earlier this year by Vice President Joe Biden, hold that one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college.

That means that in my 200-person politics lecture, roughly a full row will be filled with survivors. In my 20-person major seminar, there are at least two. That is not a calculus I should have to work out in the margins of my Marx-Engels reader.

DIGRESSION ON THAT STATISTIC: This startling statistic is the basis for much of what follows in the piece. The statistic is also questionable. To avoid this becoming a distraction, I have created a page that discusses some of the problems with the statistic, here. Suffice it to say that it is misleading to suggest that it is ironclad, as other studies have shown far less incidence of sexual assault, or that it is representative of the experiences of women on campuses throughout the country. (END DIGRESSION)

“If we are being honest with ourselves, no matter if specifics of the article are true, …reading the article as a college student, you were thinking, ‘This could happen,’” said Rex Humphries, a second-year who pledged a fraternity last spring. Your first reaction is not, ‘This is preposterous.” I asked if he thought Jackie’s story could be true. He paused and said, “Yes.”

If Rex Humphries actually does exist, the fact that he thinks a story “could be true” when we know it isn’t seems rather beside the point, doesn’t it? Not to Horowitz:

Ultimately, though, from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake.

So who is Julia Horowitz, such that her musings get published in Politico?

Julia Horowitz is an assistant managing editor at The Cavalier Daily, the University of Virginia’s student newspaper.

She has a wonderful future in journalism.

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