The Way of the WASP, by Richard Brookhiser
It is about time someone spoke up for the WASP. Since this is America, the task has naturally fallen to a descendant of an immigrant German Catholic family who was brought up as a Methodist and is now lapsed, who knows only two Protestants in Manhattan, one of them Japanese, and who is married to a descendant of Russian Jews. Thus does Richard Brookhiser, a graduate of Yale, senior editor of the National Review, contributor to Time, speech writer for George Bush in 1982, introduce himself.
Brookhiser begins by recounting the WASP-bashing during the Bush campaign of 1988—a continuation of a theme in American politics that has been sounding since the late 60′s and early 70′s. He cites in evidence my own book, The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics (1971). What some of us then wanted was breathing room in which to discover and express our own non-WASP identity (status recognition, if you will). The redirection of American politics we recommended—back toward the “little platoons” of family, neighborhood, and work—had British precedents, in Edmund Burke, for example. But it did not entail the collapse of the larger platoon. I can still recall the astonishment I felt at the time when a fortress I thought both admirable and impregnable was suddenly surrendered without a fight.
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