The Problem of ‘Tokenism’

 

“Tokenism” is the practice of choosing people for roles based on superficial qualities rather than intrinsic worthiness for the positions. Because it prioritizes identity over merit, it risks placing less qualified, underperforming individuals in positions of responsibility.

We have a particularly glaring example of tokenism in our current Vice President, Kamala Harris.

Then-candidate Biden announced in August of 2019 that he would “prefer” “someone who was of color and/or a different gender,” for his running mate, should he get the nomination. He claimed at the time that this wouldn’t be his primary consideration, and that the most important consideration would be that he choose someone who was “authentic and on the same page.”

He then chose a running mate who, as was obvious then even to Democrat voters who dumped her from the Presidential primaries as fast as they could, has nothing to recommend her save her sex and pigmentation. But that was enough: she ticked the two boxes guaranteed to get Joe a much-needed pat on the back from the left fringe of his party. She’s the first woman Vice President, and the first black Vice President, and a truly terrible Vice President.

Extraordinary people come in both sexes and all colors. One extraordinary black woman is currently the director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Another extraordinary black woman is an outspoken champion of women and their rights, a brave and tireless critic of Islamic oppression of women, and the founder of a foundation dedicated to those ends.

Unfortunately, the woman the Biden campaign chose is entirely bereft of qualification — even of the meager qualification of bland avuncular inconsequence that, with the assist of some rapidly-reinvented election laws, ushered President Biden into the Oval Office.

Vice President Harris’s cackling incompetence should not reflect on women in general, nor on black people of either sex — any more than President Biden’s shuffling incompetence, corruption, and encroaching senility is representative of men in general or of white people of either sex. It reflects only on the Vice President and the irresponsible people who put her one tired heartbeat away from the most powerful seat on the planet.

But the problem with tokenism — beyond tending to place people in positions for which they’re poorly suited — is that it achieves the opposite of the outcome its practitioners claim they want. Rather than furthering the interests of whichever demographic to which they’ve chosen to pander, it undermines — unfairly — individuals of that demographic. The next black woman to seek the Presidency or Vice Presidency will have to overcome the stain of the current one. There’s no justice in that, merely reality.

Tokenism is one of the most insidious and destructive aspects of identity politics. It rarely has the potential to be as catastrophic as a President Harris could be. Usually it merely hurts the institutions and individuals and identity groups involved. But the left’s obsession with tokenism and identity, and its relentless war against merit, will drag us all down — and most particularly those it claims to be helping.

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 36 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Amen.

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Just like Affirmative Action led to more blacks dropping out of high-end colleges. The Law of Unintended Consequences is out there for all, even those who don’t believe in it.

    • #2
  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Both Joe and Kamala are international embarrassments. The late, great Mel Brooks couldn’t have written a more unlikely script.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    The late, great Mel Brooks couldn’t have written a more unlikely script.

    I was going to go for one of the governor scenes in Blazing Saddles, but considering your characterization of Brooks, perhaps this is more appropriate:

    • #4
  5. James Salerno Inactive
    James Salerno
    @JamesSalerno

    This isn’t funny anymore. The woman knows nothing. She’s incredibly ignorant to world events and I doubt she could even pass a high school history class.

    Imagine her dictating foreign policy. Imagine her pretending to be tough in front of Putin or Kim Jong-un. What an embarrassment.

    • #5
  6. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    You know her ascendency points out two things is striking relief.  Biden isn’t capable of even reading his way through a choreographed negotiation with a friendly president of an allied country, and Harris is literally a babbling fool.

    When she was directly asked a fairly complex (but not too complex) question by a reporter at a news conference about what all the US was doing to help Ukrainian refugees flooding into Poland (and Duda was asked if he was going to ask for US help) she turned to Duda quoted, cackling, “a friend in need…” and pushed the question off on Duda to answer his first.  This gave her time to fabricate nonsensical words that sounded like an answer.

    I’m saying this for the first time.  We are screwed.

    Pray for wisdom in dealing with Iran’s missile strike on US forces today.

    • #6
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Flicker (View Comment):
    I’m saying this for the first time.  We are screwed.

    We have always been screwed. Ben Franklin knew this. The only question was “when?”

    • #7
  8. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    James Salerno (View Comment):

    This isn’t funny anymore. The woman knows nothing. She’s incredibly ignorant to world events and I doubt she could even pass a high school history class.

    Imagine her dictating foreign policy. Imagine her pretending to be tough in front of Putin or Kim Jong-un. What an embarrassment.

    Given that most of today’s high school history classes are probably fully infused with race, gender, and equity, she’d probably be able to get a D-minus.

    • #8
  9. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Kamala Harris owes her entire career, such as it is, to Willie Brown and his brown willy.

    • #9
  10. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    James Salerno (View Comment):

    This isn’t funny anymore. The woman knows nothing. She’s incredibly ignorant to world events and I doubt she could even pass a high school history class.

    Imagine her dictating foreign policy. Imagine her pretending to be tough in front of Putin or Kim Jong-un. What an embarrassment.

    If she had the brains and self-awareness to feel humiliated, I’d feel sorry for her, but as it is, she and the bimbos on The View are yelling racism and misogyny. 

    • #10
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Both Joe and Kamala are international embarrassments. The late, great Mel Brooks couldn’t have written a more unlikely script.

    It is not they that are the embarrassment 

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The only thing she’s good at is arrogantly attacking a highly reputable individual with malicious and ugly lies. Even then she lost.

    • #12
  13. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Has there been a worse President/VP combination since this one? 

     

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Henry Racette: She’s the first woman Vice President, and the first black Vice President, and a truly terrible Vice President.

    Biden doesn’t realize my picking a black, female nincompoop for Veep, he’s tarnished the image of accomplished black, female women everywhere.  The last thing he needed to do was give bigots out there proof of their beliefs . . .

    • #14
  15. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Speaking of tokens, guess who is the left’s token moron?

    • #15
  16. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    Has there been a worse President/VP combination since this one?

    I think that Kamala could pass my (very) minimum competency test. Would you trust him/her with a short grocery list and the keys to your car? Joe doesn’t.

    • #16
  17. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: She’s the first woman Vice President, and the first black Vice President, and a truly terrible Vice President.

    Biden doesn’t realize my picking a black, female nincompoop for Veep, he’s tarnished the image of accomplished black, female women everywhere. The last thing he needed to do was give bigots out there proof of their beliefs . . .

    And if you’re going to engage in tokenism, at least do it right. If you want an African American, maybe pick someone with an African American heritage in her family. Neither of her parents were African American. (Just like Obama come to think of it.)

    In other words, Biden’s choice was superficial even by the standards of tokenism.

    • #17
  18. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    Flicker (View Comment):

    You know her ascendency points out two things is striking relief. Biden isn’t capable of even reading his way through a choreographed negotiation with a friendly president of an allied country, and Harris is literally a babbling fool.

    When she was directly asked a fairly complex (but not too complex) question by a reporter at a news conference about what all the US was doing to help Ukrainian refugees flooding into Poland (and Duda was asked if he was going to ask for US help) she turned to Duda quoted, cackling, “a friend in need…” and pushed the question off on Duda to answer his first. This gave her time to fabricate nonsensical words that sounded like an answer.

    I’m saying this for the first time. We are screwed.

    Pray for wisdom in dealing with Iran’s missile strike on US forces today.

    Still, I’d vote to remove Biden if I was in his cabinet. Harris is horrible but at least she has a working brain, in the medical sense of the term at least. Either way you look at it, that’s less dangerous than Biden. 

    • #18
  19. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    W Bob (View Comment):
    she has a working brain

    Maybe it “works,” but it has a pretty effective restrictor plate.

    • #19
  20. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    I don’t know why you guys are against Tolkeinism.  I think he’s an author for all times.  I fully support reading his works.

    Oh.  Wait.  Never mind.

    • #20
  21. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I liked my original post title better. 

    • #21
  22. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think we need to restore the original system where the vice president was voted for separately:

    That was in 1804, when the 12th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, says David Ward, senior historian at the National Portrait Gallery.

    The amendment was proposed after the 1796 election resulted in a president (John Adams) and vice president (Thomas Jefferson) from opposing parties, and the 1800 election led to a tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. They were members of the same party (Democratic-Republican), but it took the House of Representatives 36 contentious ballots to break the tie, electing Jefferson president and Burr vice president. In 1804, Jefferson was re-elected and George Clinton became the first vice president under the 12th Amendment.

    I wonder if Pence would have won even if Biden won. I’m betting he would have won by a clear landslide. My feeling has been that the election actually did go to Trump and that Biden is the interloper. But even if Trump lost by a small percentage, I doubt Pence would have lost too. And Mike Pence would be so much better in the situation we are facing today.

    It makes sense that the founding fathers set this up differently from the parliamentary systems prevalent in Europe.

    But I think even the parliamentary system is better than what we’re doing. I like the idea of the “opposition government” always being in existence, ready to move at a moment’s notice. And I like the idea of Biden and his entire administration, including the cabinet, being ushered out the door all together, if necessary.

    We have no solution to our current problem–Biden and Harris. I don’t think the entire world deserves to be held hostage by these two incompetent and malevolent people. (And perhaps given their malevolence, it’s better for everyone that they are also incompetent.) We really need to fix the system that resulted in this bad situation.

    • #22
  23. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    MarciN (View Comment):
    We have no solution to our current problem–Biden and Harris. I don’t think the entire world deserves to be held hostage by these two incompetent and malevolent people.

    Yeah!  Let’s get rid of these two and install whoever’s next in line.

    Oh wait . . .

    • #23
  24. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Stad (View Comment):

    Speaking of tokens, guess who is the left’s token moron?

    Hilarious! And quite possibly true, based upon her past performance and statements.

    • #24
  25. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: She’s the first woman Vice President, and the first black Vice President, and a truly terrible Vice President.

    Biden doesn’t realize my picking a black, female nincompoop for Veep, he’s tarnished the image of accomplished black, female women everywhere. The last thing he needed to do was give bigots out there proof of their beliefs . . .

    And if you’re going to engage in tokenism, at least do it right. If you want an African American, maybe pick someone with an African American heritage in her family. Neither of her parents were African American. (Just like Obama come to think of it.)

    In other words, Biden’s choice was superficial even by the standards of tokenism.

    But that’s okay; leftists don’t see past skin color.

    • #25
  26. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    You know her ascendency points out two things is striking relief. Biden isn’t capable of even reading his way through a choreographed negotiation with a friendly president of an allied country, and Harris is literally a babbling fool.

    When she was directly asked a fairly complex (but not too complex) question by a reporter at a news conference about what all the US was doing to help Ukrainian refugees flooding into Poland (and Duda was asked if he was going to ask for US help) she turned to Duda quoted, cackling, “a friend in need…” and pushed the question off on Duda to answer his first. This gave her time to fabricate nonsensical words that sounded like an answer.

    I’m saying this for the first time. We are screwed.

    Pray for wisdom in dealing with Iran’s missile strike on US forces today.

    Still, I’d vote to remove Biden if I was in his cabinet. Harris is horrible but at least she has a working brain, in the medical sense of the term at least. Either way you look at it, that’s less dangerous than Biden.

    Just now a post pointed out that the former PR person for Zelensky in a now deleted tweet noted that she cackles when she’s uncomfortable.  Talk about showing your hand.  How’s she ever going to negotiate anything with any foreign power?

    Added: But even so, she still was the administration’s choice to send to talk with foreign PMs and presidents than Biden.

    • #26
  27. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Flicker (View Comment):

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    You know her ascendency points out two things is striking relief. Biden isn’t capable of even reading his way through a choreographed negotiation with a friendly president of an allied country, and Harris is literally a babbling fool.

    When she was directly asked a fairly complex (but not too complex) question by a reporter at a news conference about what all the US was doing to help Ukrainian refugees flooding into Poland (and Duda was asked if he was going to ask for US help) she turned to Duda quoted, cackling, “a friend in need…” and pushed the question off on Duda to answer his first. This gave her time to fabricate nonsensical words that sounded like an answer.

    I’m saying this for the first time. We are screwed.

    Pray for wisdom in dealing with Iran’s missile strike on US forces today.

    Still, I’d vote to remove Biden if I was in his cabinet. Harris is horrible but at least she has a working brain, in the medical sense of the term at least. Either way you look at it, that’s less dangerous than Biden.

    Just now a post pointed out that the former PR person for Zelensky in a now deleted tweet noted that she cackles when she’s uncomfortable. Talk about showing your hand. How’s she ever going to negotiate anything with any foreign power?

    Added: But even so, she still was the administration’s choice to send to talk with foreign PMs and presidents than Biden.

    Because Biden is a profoundly stupid, probably senile, old fool with a short temper, and whose filter is non-functional. He also thinks he’s the smartest person in the room. Not a good look for the US and those who put him in office. 

    • #27
  28. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I liked my original post title better.

    It’s still in the URL.  But maybe you could start using philo’s Main Feed disclaimer?

    • #28
  29. ddavewes Member
    ddavewes
    @ddavewes

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Both Joe and Kamala are international embarrassments. The late, great Mel Brooks couldn’t have written a more unlikely script.

    Mel Brooks will be surprised to learn that he’s deceased

    • #29
  30. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    ddavewes (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Both Joe and Kamala are international embarrassments. The late, great Mel Brooks couldn’t have written a more unlikely script.

    Mel Brooks will be surprised to learn that he’s deceased

    95 and still kickin’.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.