My background is like that which Elizabeth Warren claims. The Democratic senator from Massachusetts stated in an interview her parents were forced to elope because her father’s family was unhappy with the prospect of him marrying a girl who was part Cherokee and Delaware. While my parents did not have to elope, there was concern about the prospect of my mom marrying a Black man. Don’t worry, everything’s good now. On this level I can relate to Warren except for one little fact: Warren is neither minority group which she purported herself to be: Cherokee or Delaware.
I have the advantage on Warren in being able to see the color of my dad’s skin and concluding he is, in fact, of African descent. Warren did not have this luxury, so she assumed because her family had high cheekbones she must be Native American. This is stereotypical to the point of being racist, but in a world where identity politics is king, one must grasp at the crown any way you can.
Warren’s claims to Native heritage would not be an issue if she had not used it to gain minority status and possibly advance her career or, at best, set herself apart. If this is the case, I can relate to the Senator’s efforts. When I was applying to undergrad I was Black. Despite my mixed racial background, I presented myself as darkness in the flesh. I did this of course knowing it would give me an edge over any White competitors and I was not wrong. Upon acceptance to the University of Washington I received a generous scholarship based on my race alone. Without application I was immediately given access to the university’s tutoring center which got me through all my introductory science courses. In short, it was awesome.
Something didn’t sit right with me though. It is one thing to promote cultural diversity at the school, it is another to give certain demographics resources not afforded to others based solely on their race. I was ruminating about these ideas around the time Elizabeth Warren entered the national scene in 2012. I remember thinking how terrible it was for someone to use race to promote themselves and realized I had done exactly that. I consoled myself by saying at least I was provably half-Black, but it is still much the same. If you cannot stand on your own abilities and credentials, then you have no business in whatever area you are trying to attain enrollment or advancement. Your race or ethnicity is not a credential. You earn credentials, you don’t work to be Black, White, or Native.
I have always poked fun at Elizabeth Warren’s stereotypical logic of her heritage – by the same token a person who speaks with their hands is Italian and someone who likes watermelon is Black. With the news coming out today, however that, after a DNA test, Warren is anywhere from 1/64 to 1/1024 Native American it is even more hilarious. Especially since the ostensibly Native American DNA was Mexican, Peruvian, or Colombian. If Warren is Native at all, she is 6 to 10 generations removed. Furthermore, as the Cherokee Nation said in a statement: a DNA test is not enough to claim you belong to the Cherokee or any, tribe. It’s hardly enough to claim you are Native American at all!
I would like to offer a word of sympathy for Warren. If she was raised believing these stories, and they may be true, she had no reason to assume she was doing anything wrong just as there was nothing wrong with me putting Black as the sole race in my applications as my dad often reminds me. However, the ethical implications of using race to get ahead should force someone to reconsider such an approach. Regardless, when faced with the fact you have negligible if any Native DNA, to apologize and desist would be the best approach. Unfortunately, as there is a leftist taboo against being White, Warren has and will likely continue to cling on to this minority status even if it is only 0.098%.