That time the White House invented an entirely new ethnic minority group

Have you finally sorted out all of the various racial groups around the country and the social justice concerns which are being raised these days? You might think you have but I’m guessing you missed one. You can be excused, of course, because the one I’m thinking of is relatively new. In fact, it was just minted by the Obama administration. Get ready for the Next Big Thing in identity politics because we’re about to be hit by a fresh wave of Mena-Americans. The details come to us from Mike Gonzalez at National Review.

One day in the not-too-distant future, you may be asked to stand at attention at your local ballpark — Busch Stadium, perhaps — to celebrate Mena Heritage Day. The organist will do his level best to play traditional Mena music, vendors will serve Mena delicacies, and a chorus of Mena-American children will sing the national anthem.

Huh? What on earth is Mena, you ask? It is the new ethnic group created by the Obama administration to cobble together Americans with origins in the Middle East and North Africa. The group will comprise people as varied as ethnic Berbers, Arabs, Israelis, Persians, and many more. According to proposals by the Office of Management and Budget, Mena may be on the 2020 census.

For those who follow this space on a regular basis, you’re probably expecting me to launch into some scathing, snarktastic attack on this plan about now. But just to change things up a bit, I’m going to confess that this might work out to be a simply fantastic idea. I previously might have given it the back of my hand, but as some of you already know, this was the week that I found out I was black. Oh, and Native American and Asian as well. And mixed into that genetic stew I rang up a fairly good score for something called Yakut. They’re currently found mostly in eastern Russia, but they originated in the region around Turkey. Hey now…. hold the phone. Dude! I could totally be Menaic! (Menaite? Menanist? Not to worry. We can work all the lingo out later.) Heck, I’m making the call right now. It qualifies, so I’m going with Mena-American and I’ll be in the vanguard of minority activists.

Mike Gonzalez correctly points out that there is no traditional ethnic Mena cuisine, music or art, but all that really means is that we can pick whatever we want. This is going to be a breeze, guys. Our traditional foods are Krispy Kreme donuts, steak, pizza and, of course, bacon. (And not that Canadian back bacon stuff either. I mean real bacon. Suggesting otherwise is a microagression and a hate crime.) As for our traditional music it’s all seventies rock bands, Frank Sinatra, and a smattering of Hank Williams. Our native garb is obviously jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Not allowing us to dress this way at the office constitutes an infringement on our rights.

We’ll need to pick out which month we want for our heritage observances. African-Americans got the short end of the stick with February because it’s the month with the fewest days so we’ll want one with 31 just to really milk this bad boy for all it’s worth. Nothing in the winter because it will be too cold for the parades. But July and August are brutally hot sometimes. I think either May or October. We’ll also want preferential treatment on all government service applications, college admissions, grants and state sponsored business start-up loans.

And, dare I dream… Mena-American Reparations? If I lump that in with my African-American reparations, my Native American reparations and… what the hell… let’s toss in some Japanese internment reparations since I’m also east Asian… KA-CHING. I could be seriously cashing in here.

In fact, why am I still writing this? I need to call my boss. I should have like three years worth of paid holidays coming.


Jazz Shaw Jul 05, 2022 12:31 PM ET