A white Wisconsin woman named Kay LeClaire was recently exposed as a fraud after portraying herself as a “two-spirit” Native American. After acquiring a tan and dyeing her hair, LeClaire founded a queer indigenous art collective and allegedly purchased American Indian crafts from the website Etsy to resell as her own to unsuspecting customers. In addition, the Madison resident received an artist stipend, made money delivering speeches, and was granted a paid residency by the University of Wisconsin based on the manufactured identity.
LeClaire joins a growing number of figures, like Rachel Dolezal, Shaun King, and Elizabeth Warren who have been publicly exposed for either greatly exaggerating aspects of their racial heritage or manufacturing them out of whole cloth. In America the education system, media, and federal government routinely assure the public that the threat of “white supremacy” is on the rise, but a shocking number of people seem to be willing to go to any lengths to be identified as a racial or sexual minority.
It would be easy to dismiss people like Dolezal and LeClaire as amoral sociopaths or grifters, but they are simply individuals responding to incentives, and increasingly they are not alone. Despite the insistence by mainstream media race hucksters and faux academics that the United States is built to systemically oppress minorities, those operating inside the country’s institutions understand that obtaining status as a protected minority is a critical advantage.
Astute observers like Dolezal and LeClaire understand that minority status allows an individual access to the vast patronage network the left has constructed to reward its supporters. College admission, scholarships, business start-up loans, mortgage assistance, and subsidized medical care are often tied directly to minority status. At least four California cities have joined San Francisco in its program providing a monthly cash payment to pregnant black women based on their race. San Francisco has also launched a similar program exclusively delivering cash payments to low-income individuals who identify as transgender. Simply put, qualifying for minority status pays both in opportunity and in cold hard cash.
The financial benefits for securing a position in the progressive hierarchy may be profitable, but material rewards are not the only driving factor. Much of America’s education system and entertainment industry have been turned into a never-ending fountain of revisionist history and racial animus designed to portray the country and those who founded it as uniquely villainous.
Be it the 1619 Project or critical race theory, the ideologies baked into public education are designed to cast “whiteness” as the nation’s original sin, one that many Americans are born into and can never truly absolve themselves from. College professors craft entire academic departments around the intellectualization of racial grievance, and best-selling authors make millions of dollars delivering speeches to corporate leadership seminars on how unconscious favoritism toward straight white Christian males can be purged from their organizations. The message is very clear: The people responsible for the creation of the United States were uniquely evil, and any connection to their identity or culture should be avoided at all costs.
The wokeness plays many roles in American life, but one of its functions is to mediate internecine conflicts among the progressive elite. The writer Malcom Kyeyune has correctly identified wokeness as the battlefield on which leftists meet to settle possible challenges of leadership. Every aristocracy needs a way to settle disputes over position in the hierarchy, and while the woke probably will not engage in formal duels anytime soon, they do wield cancellation as a very effective weapon.
In this battle, minority status is the ultimate currency, and if you find yourself a white straight Christian, especially if you are male, it becomes very important to acquire some form of woke identity. Faking one’s race is fraught with challenges and can have serious consequences if you are exposed, as both Dolezal and LeClaire could probably attest. Therefore, sexual and gender identities have become the favored strategy for white progressives who still want to climb the ladder.
Transitioning to another gender might allow you to climb to the highest ranks of government, like the assistant secretary for health, Admiral Levine, but that is also a very serious commitment. Hormone therapy and costly surgery cannot be in the cards for every aspiring male progressive. Many progressive climbers looking to escape the death sentence of straight male witness have opted for the non-binary identity. A little androgynous clothing and the occasional make-out session with a member of the same sex can immediately put you back in the game.
In fact, this low-effort hack of the woke hierarchy has created a squabble inside the progressive ecosystem, as people of color quickly recognized that their white counterparts were circumventing the usual stack with minimal effort and were once again allowed to climb without restriction. The question of whether non-binary should even really count as minority status continues to be debated in progressive spheres from academia all the way down to social media.
Despite the relentless propaganda pushed out by our ruling elites about “white supremacy,” which is, rather incoherently, foundational to the nation’s institutions but is now also somehow dangerously on the rise, most people seem desperate to code themselves as anything but a white straight male. In the fantastical leftist narrative, every institution in America is designed to benefit straight white males, but despite the structural advantages, people seem desperate to flee this identity.
The easily observable truth is that the left has created a woke spoils system in which individuals gain financial, moral, and social benefits by crafting a favored identity out of a constellation of preferred minority signifiers. Many, like Kay LeClaire, are willing to take large social risks and warp their personal and sexual identities around these incentives in order to reap the rewards.