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The Curious Case of Racial Shifting (Or, When Being White Isn't Enough)

(AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios, File)

If you’re like me, you might have found yourself asking: What’s up with all these white women pretending to be racial minorities?

Every now and again, we see news stories about white women getting caught masquerading as a black, Hispanic, or Native American woman. These bizarre tales are typically good for a laugh. But I think there might be an underlying issue prompting these people to try to change their ethnicity.

So far, there have been several notable examples over the years.

The latest is a professor of environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, named Elizabeth Hoover. She recently issued an apology for falsely identifying as Native American. Her apology comes after she accepted family stories about her Native American ancestry without proper research. She expressed deep remorse for the harm caused to the Native American community and the trust that was broken as a result of her misrepresentation. She joins a list of white women who have misrepresented their racial or ethnic backgrounds, often to take advantage of affirmative action or gain social status.

The trend of pretending to belong to a different ethnic group has faced scrutiny in recent years. One of the most well-known examples include Rachel Dolezal, who presented herself as a black woman but was revealed to have white parents, and Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic senator who claimed Cherokee ancestry but later apologized after a DNA test showed little Native American heritage.

Another instance involves Hilaria Baldwin, the wife of actor Alec Baldwin, who adopted a Spanish accent and claimed Spain as her native country before it was discovered that she was actually from Boston. Carrie Bourassa, a professor in Canada, resigned after it was revealed that she likely had no indigenous ancestry despite claiming to be a member of various indigenous groups.

But there are plenty of other examples that don’t make the news. A couple of years ago, I wrote about a study analyzing the seemingly impossible growth of the Native American population.

The Native American population in the United States has experienced an astonishing 86.5% growth between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Census. Demographers argue that such a rate of increase is impossible to achieve through natural birth rates alone, leading to the conclusion that individuals who previously identified as white are now claiming to be Native American.

This phenomenon, referred to as “racial shifting” or “pretendian,” reflects a growing movement where people are fleeing their white identities rather than facing political or social persecution. In essence, a significant number of white folks have begun identifying as Native Americans over the past few decades largely as a way to abandon their white identity and identify with a marginalized group.

Yes, it sounds insane, but it is not surprising considering the cultural environment that has been shaped by the hard left, which has encouraged the type of white guilt that leads to this type of behavior. So-called progressives have continually pushed the message that white folks living today are guilty for the abuses of America’s past.

But even further, the hard left has cultivated a milieu in which perceived victimhood carries a level of currency that can be quite beneficial in society. Those who can claim they are part of a marginalized or oppressed group are often viewed in a more sympathetic light. In progressive circles, their voices are amplified and given more credence because not doing so means being bigoted. In reality, it is yet another way for white progressives to signal their virtue.

Unfortunately, this means that many white folks are pressured to feel guilt or shame because of their identity. On the other hand, racial minorities are pressured to feel helplessness and victimhood because of their identity. This is the sickness the hard left has wrought.

The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.

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