BY MONA CHAREN. Center for Ethics and Public Policy, Published in National Review Online on October 19, 2018
She was mocked as “Fauxcahontas” long before President Trump began referring to her as “Pocahontas,” and frankly, Senator Elizabeth Warren invited the ridicule. She is a poster child for the pitfalls of basing identity on race and reminds us of the many furies such self-definition unleashes.
What people choose to call themselves shouldn’t matter to outsiders. If I want to call myself a post-Jerseyite dog lover, no one will care, unless there is affirmative action for former Jersey residents who can’t skip dog videos on Twitter.
What made Elizabeth Warren infuriating is that she was gaming the system. There is a clear career advantage at leading law schools, as in other institutions, to being a member of a minority group. Warren apparently secured a position at the University of Pennsylvania Law School without the minority credential. But while at Penn, she dusted off some “family lore” and began to list herself as “Native American.” Who knows if this helped get her a slot at Harvard Law? As columnist Jeff Jacoby has reported, Harvard highlighted Warren as a Native American when it was accused of lacking a diverse faculty, and the Fordham Law Review bestowed on the blond-haired, blue-eyed Warren the title “Harvard Law’s first woman of color.” Seriously.
This charade reveals the bankruptcy of the practice — well-intentioned at first — of granting benefits based upon race. With DNA testing now routine, nearly anyone can rummage around in the genetic attic and come up with an ancestor, especially a distant one, who is of a different ethnic group. In fact, as Warren has been reminded 1,000 times in the past few days, most “white” Americans have roughly the same non-European genetic markers as she. Why Warren thought this excursion “even unto the 10th generation” would bolster her claim is anyone’s guess.
Even if Warren’s interpretation of the genetic test is correct — i.e., it proves that she has some tiny genetic contribution from Native Americans — it doesn’t make her disadvantaged, does it? She didn’t suffer discrimination or prejudice based upon her Native American identity. Neither did her great-grandparents. READ it HERE
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