Elizabeth Warren admitted on Wednesday night for the first time that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania of her Native American heritage — in contrast to her previous claim that she was unaware Harvard had listed her as a minority professor until recently.
The Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate told the Boston Globe, “At some point after I was hired by them, I … provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.”
So it turns out that only reason that she identified as Native American wasn’t so she could find people with whom to have lunch? Stalinists everywhere are shocked. (I note as an aside, that even her supporters apparently never even believed that argument, conjuring up convoluted alternative theories that really only had one basic problem–that they weren’t actually what she said. Which always struck me as sort of odd that they would defend her so vociferously when even they didn’t believe her story.)
I realize that apparently only Stalinists and right-wing crazies are concerned about the legal and ethical issues raised by the nation’s most prominent law professor and law school filing inaccurate EEOC reports. But on the off-chance that others might be, the relevant standard for identifying oneself as Native American is “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.’’ Based on available information Warren fits neither of these criteria. To the best of my knowledge she does not claim that she qualified under either of these criteria or provided any evidence that she does. And if any supporting evidence was going to come out obviously it would have done so by now.
Oddly, though, Warren also reasserted that she is “she is ‘proud’ of her Native American heritage, which she said is a ‘part of who I am.'” Except, of course, it isn’t actually part of who she is. And, in my opinion, it seems awfully patronizing to real Cherokees that she insists on continuing to wear this false identity like it is some sort of trinket to show off and make her seem more interesting or something. No wonder they are getting increasingly incensed–I’m sure I would feel the same way were I in their position. I honestly don’t get why she doesn’t just come clean and apologize, as David Cornsilk suggests, and say something like, “Look, this was a family story that got out of hand. I admire the Cherokee people and their history. But it was wrong for me to have claimed Cherokee heritage and while I meant no disrespect I understand now that my actions were disrespectful to real Cherokees.” For what it is worth, I think Penn and Harvard should do the same and correct their relevant records too. But, in my personal opinion, it is just wrong and insulting to real Cherokees to continue to insist that being Cherokee is part of who she is and to think that somehow that the Cherokee people will be flattered or honored because she wants to claim them for some reason. As they note, “it isn’t who you claim, but instead, who claims you. We don’t claim you.” Well said. Really, enough is enough already.
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