Columnist Mark Steyn has had a lot of fun with the latest Elizabeth Warren mini-scandal, dubbing her “Fauxcahontas.” So with that, most of the good lines have already been taken on the story about Warren identifying herself as Native American for affirmative action purposes on supposed 1/32nd Native ancestry based on “family lore.” So I can’t top Fauxcahontas, but I can relate how this is a deeply personal story for me. Like Elizabeth Warren, I too am Native American. In fact, based on my family’s lore, I’m twice the Indian Elizabeth Warren is, since I supposedly have 1/16th Indian ancestry.
And before anyone says anything about my use of the word Indian, remember that’s our word. I’m taking it back. You palefaces can continue to refer to us based on the previously approved PC list.
Elizabeth Warren, Chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel; Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and Cherokee Indian Princess (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to my family’s lore, my great-great grandmother on my mother’s side was a Cherokee Indian Princess. I’ve been astonished with the amount of royalty the various Indian tribes got away with in those days. Practically everyone I’ve met who has claimed Native ancestry has claimed it through an “Indian Princess.” Three fourths of the Native population east of the Mississippi prior to the Trail of Tears must have been an Indian Princess. With so much of the population as female royalty, no wonder my people were pushed out of the East. Too few warriors and too many princesses. And those Indian Princesses must have really had a thing for Scot-Irish mountain hillbilly types. I guess they were the bad boys of the 1800’s.
However, unlike Elizabeth Warren, I’ve never tried to exploit the suffering of my people to procure employment, as Warren apparently did as she professor shopped from one diversity starved University to another. In fact, this story neatly ties in to the Derrick Bell story of two months ago. Not that it was a new story, only the knowledge of the depth of President Obama’s previous relationship with Bell was new. But as the Harvard Crimson related in 1998:
Harvard Law School currently has only one tenured minority woman, Gottlieb Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren, who is Native American. The racial makeup of the HLS Faculty has been an issue before as well: in 1989, Harvard dismissed Weld Professor of Law Derrick A. Bell after 18 years of teaching because the noted expert on race and law refused to end his leave in protest of the absence of minority women on HLS faculty.
So Professor Bell did get his wish, more minority women on staff. Or at least woman. That woman was Native American Elizabeth Warren.
But unlike Warren, I’ve never tried to exploit my people and culture to get a job that wouldn’t have otherwise has been offered. Instead, I’ve played the Peter Principle to navigate the job market. But Warren, or as she is known by her Indian name, She-who-fakes-bankruptcy-studies, has tried to have it both ways. Indian when moving up the academic ladder, then white when she reached the top of her field.
What’s astounding to me is that Harvard doesn’t seem to be the least bit embarrassed about its blond affirmative action hire. What a world we live in. Elizabeth Warren is Indian enough to get jobs because of 1/32nd blood ties, but George Zimmerman, who is 1/8th black, is a White Neo Nazi killing machine.
Unfortunately, these race differences really matter to our society. If George Zimmerman had looked like the son Obama never had, we most likely would never had heard of him. And Elizabeth Warren, who looked as much (or as little) Indian as I do, parleys herself a minority hire. As the old Jim Crow one drop rule comes back into vogue, in a new, weird way, “content of our character” seems to becoming less and less a goal and more of a distraction from counting tiny droplets of blood. Maybe someday we’ll all need to have our DNA encoded on our ID cards, not for health reasons, but to make sure we qualify for every discount and set aside we’re eligible for.