“I shouldn’t write about this. I’m way too insane on this topic, too strident and militant and prone to uncharacteristic flights of outrage. Very few things offend me, but someone passing himself or herself off as Native American when he/she is white by any reasonable definition, and doing so in a way that might accrue personal benefits and perhaps even harm, indirectly, the opportunities of those who are genuinely members of an underrepresented racial or ethnic minority, raises the hackles on my dander…
“It so happens we’ve discussed this a lot in my household in recent years, as my girls have applied for college. They have, according to family lore, Native American ancestry. This goes back to the 1800s, when my mother’s forebears were pioneers on the frontier in the upper midwest. Supposedly we have Potawatami kin. But it’s sketchy. We’ve never documented it…
“Could my kids have tried to pass themselves off as Native American? Maybe, but it would’ve been wrong, a gaming of the system in hopes of getting a marginal advantage they didn’t need to begin with (they got into great schools — one is at Oberlin, another at Michigan — the upper midwest!). They’re white, and belong to a sprawling tribe of affluent kids in Northwest Washington and have had every advantage in the world except perhaps being forced to wait for the bus when Dad won’t give them a ride somewhere.”
“The hottest Senate race in the country is currently the one between the Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown and his challenger, Elizabeth Warren. Right now the big issue involves whether Warren, who could be one-32nd Cherokee, did anything wrong when she listed herself as a member of a minority group in a legal directory. ‘Professor Warren needs to come clean about her motivations for making these claims,’ said a Brown spokesman.
“Several thoughts arise, including A) one-32nd really does not seem like a lot and B) any controversy in which the accusing side demands that an opponent ‘come clean about her motivations’ is not going to go very far.
“I’m sure this will blow over soon and we can get back to debating whether the pickup truck that Brown famously drove in his working-class-guy campaign to win the old Ted Kennedy seat was originally purchased to tow the family show horse.”
“Once again, the left’s incurable love affair with oppression chic is on naked display. It’s an Olympic competition of the haves to show their have-not cred. Just a few weeks ago, it was the White House tokenizing Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor — the ‘wise Latina’ — as ‘disabled’ in an official graph promoting the administration’s minority hiring practices. What’s her disability? She has diabetes. No, it’s not debilitating, nor does it fall anywhere near the definition of disability under federal law.
“But like their friend Elizabeth Warren, the Ivy League social engineers at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. just couldn’t help embellishing their ‘diversity’ record to score political correctness points. Birds of a manufactured feather flock together.
“This is, admittedly, a difficult and even painful question, because all professors bring to their work the totality of their life experiences. Warren’s family accounts of Native American ancestry may well influence her legal views. But that only makes her like most white professors, whose backgrounds — which may include immigrant journeys, hardscrabble childhoods, and traumatic blows — inform their perspectives. However, a person who promotes himself or herself as a member of a minority group for hiring purposes shouldn’t be referring to a long-ago ancestor or two: They should consider it their dominant ethnic group…
“Unless evidence emerges to suggest otherwise, Warren doesn’t need to explain herself any further. There’s nothing untoward about citing one’s actual ancestry in a professional directory. Warren, like everyone else, has a right to her own background. It’s only in the freighted world of academic diversity that these questions become more complicated. As of now, the only apologizing should be done by Harvard Law School.”
“Why doesn’t it add up?
“Because the section listing ‘minority’ faculty doesn’t list which minority, so Warren listing herself that way would not be a means of meeting other Native Americans, because no one else would know she was claiming to be Native American just from the listing. (I wonder how Harvard knew if she never told them and it never came up?)…
“I checked, and her full bios also did not disclose her Native American status. Perhaps Warren just lumped all minorities together in her friendship plans.”
“‘The Fix’ says Elizabeth Warren has a ‘Native American problem.’ It’s more like a campaign problem. If the promising challenger to Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) can’t beat back easy-to-answer questions about her heritage, how on earth will she be able to handle weightier questions?…
“America is a melting pot of blended families and cultural identities. That Warren’s mix is as complicated as a lot of other Americans shouldn’t be a liability, and I wish she’d stop acting like it is.”
“Or could this just be part of the character of ‘She Who Has Many Faces?’
“For example, she had no problem talking about an unknown Indian ancestor from the 18th century, but she rarely speaks of her work as a litigator in 2009 on behalf of Traveler’s Insurance. She was paid $212,000 according to The Boston Globe-Democrat, for her work defending this ‘evil corporation’ from asbestos-related lawsuits brought by blue-collar workers.
“She was once proud of ‘creating much of the intellectual foundation’ of the Occupy movement. Then their poll numbers sank, and she distanced herself from their clan.
“And now we know that, after attacking Sen. Scott Brown for raising money from Wall Street, Liz Wanna-Wampum has gotten millions from law firms representing Wall Street, as well as financial industry money funneled to her through the Democratic Party.”
“Speaking to a reporter on a local news station in Boston, Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts cited her ancestor’s ‘high cheekbones’ (quoting an aunt) as evidence of her Native American heritage…”
Via the Daily Rushbo.