Let’s all say it together for the bazillionth time: She’s running.
Apparently continuing her effort to stave off criticism of her previous claims to Native American ancestry, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is releasing the results of a DNA test she allegedly had done. We’ll pick apart the details in a moment, but the bottom line is that she’s found an analyst who is willing to say that there’s at least “strong evidence” that Warren had an ancestor with at least “some” Native American blood back somewhere between six and ten generations ago. (Boston Globe)
Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides “strong evidence’’ she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations, an unprecedented move by one of the top possible contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president…
The analysis of Warren’s DNA was done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship, also known as a genius grant, for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis.
He concluded that “the vast majority” of Warren’s ancestry is European, but he added that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor.”
First of all, let’s just get this out of the way. This is no exploration of discovery or personal growth. Warren is preparing to launch her presidential bid and she wants this story buried before things heat up on the campaign trail. This is simply phase two of the supposed investigation which was done in early September finding that Warren’s alleged Native American heritage didn’t help her career. They got someone at the Boston Globe to write a splashy article on the subject as well. (Ethnicity not a factor in Elizabeth Warren’s rise in law)
As to this DNA test, let’s just say that there are enough red flags popping up to form a new country. To begin with, why would anyone go to all the bother of seeking out a specialist from Stanford? Why wouldn’t you just go with Ancestry or 23 & Me like everyone else and use standardized testing? (I’m just going to toss it out there that the possibility exists that Warren actually did one of those tests and it came up dry. She’s refused to answer the question before when reporters have asked if she did one.)
And this Carlos D. Bustamante isn’t actually a geneticist, at least according to his Stanford bio. He’s a biologist and a statistician. He doesn’t appear to do DNA testing, but rather analyzes test results and applies them to anthropological questions. On top of that, what sort of test results is he providing? Warren’s chosen doctor should answer the question of what it means to say the evidence “strongly supports the existence” of a Native American ancestor, only narrowing it down to a span of four or more generations dating back to colonial times.
When you go to one of the usual DNA testing companies you get answers broken down by percentages and regions where your ancestors came from. Nothing is “suggested.” This doesn’t pass the smell test.
But just for the sake of argument, let’s say that the test is legitimate. She has one pure-blooded Native American ancestor somewhere as far back as ten generations ago? That means that Elizabeth Warren is less Native American than I am black. And while I may fail the “single drop” test, I’m a pretty white guy. (Just for the record, I’m apparently vastly more Native American than Warren but I’m still white.) Elizabeth Warren grew up white, with all the privileges and benefits that go along with that, while suffering none of the challenges associated with growing up on the reservation and being perceived as a minority. Schools boasted about her ancestry in their staff listings and it’s a farce to suggest she didn’t use that to her benefit.