Elizabeth Warren, the Senator from Massachusetts has been checking off her ethnicity as Native American her entire life. She says she did this because her parents told her that she had a distant relative that was Native American. She had never lived in a Native American community and she did not in the slightest have a single Native American friend for most of her young adult life.
But she checked this box because her parents told her to. OK, she didn’t actually say this is why she did it, but she has apologized to he local Oklahoma Native American Tribes and she has not offered any reason why she would have ever claimed this other than, you know, family lore and all.
However, she does want you to know that she did NOT check this box for any personal advantage when applying to college or for various positions or promotions over her lifetime. Of course we don’t have her college admissions form to see what ethnicity she checked, but we do have other examples of applying for faculty positions where she claimed to be Native American. I suppose she could claim that as she aged and grew in wisdom she changed her ethnicity because she realized that claiming to be Native American based on family lore was ridiculous. But, wait then her forms for faculty and jobs she applied for as an adult wouldn’t show her as a Native American. So I think we can be pretty sure her initial college application also contained the same erroneous claim.
Senator Warren could authorize the release of her original college applications and clear this all up. But I suspect that they are suspiciously no longer available. Well and after “clearing up” her Native American claims by releasing her DNA testing which only revealed that at best she might be anywhere from 0.1% to 0.01% Native American she might not want to go down that rabbit hole of ridicule again.
Of course Senator Warren assures us she did not list herself as Native American because she was trying to the game the system. No, heavens no. Why that would be a serious character flaw implying that she unethically leveraged the admissions process by pretending to belong to a protected class of which she was not in fact a member. I mean what politician would say or do anything unethical to advance their own career? How dare you even imply this? She is after all, Senator Elizabeth Warren.
I don’t know about any of you, but I also grew up with a mother who often talked about how we had a great, great grandmother who was Native American. Unbelievably I never took this to heart and claimed myself as such on my college admission applications. Because to do so would have been, well, bullshit. To this day I haven’t the vaguest clue whether somewhere back in the day one of my ancestors was a Native American. More importantly, assuming it was true, what the hell negative impact would that lone ancestor have so greatly imparted on me that I would feel the need to point it out so as to grant me special consideration when applying to college or a job?