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We are all descended from someone, of course

As Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) launches her presidential bid, she’s scrambling to repair the damage caused by her decades-long claim of native ancestry. Liberal media is helping her by putting favorable spin on the story or ignoring it altogether.

The issue ignited last year when Warren’s DNA test backfired. Instead of the Cherokee heritage she claimed, she apparently has a trace of South American ancestry from six to 10 generations back, making her no more native than many other whites who have a bit of indigenous blood from somewhere in the Americas over a 200-year span.

Instead of conceding, however, Warren insisted the test proved her right, even as the Cherokee Nation rebuked her. The tribe said she was not a member and was “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

Warren finally relented when her aides became increasingly worried about political repercussions. In a recent speech to an African American audience, Warren conceded she’s “not a person of color” and never “experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm” that they have.

The New York Times portrayed Warren as a victim while obscuring the core issue. It said she was just “seeking to acknowledge differences between herself and the predominantly black audience,” and added that her DNA test was “criticized as a mistaken embrace of the controversial field of racial science to rebut attacks over her heritage by President Trump and other Republicans.”

Nice try, but the real problem wasn’t GOP attacks or bad science. Nor is Warren’s heritage native, as the Times implied. (That’s 0-for-3 in one sentence from “the paper of record.”)

The real problem is that for 30 years Warren falsely appropriated native culture:

• While teaching at Harvard, she listed herself as a “native,” and the university proudly touted her as a “woman of color.” Warren never objected to or corrected the designation.

•  At the Association of American Law Schools, she listed herself as a “racial minority” in the official directory.

•  At the University of Pennsylvania, she changed her ethnicity from “white” to “Native American,” even though she’s whiter than bleached buffalo bones and has benefited all her life from “white privilege.”

Warren’s undocumented claims were based on nothing but a handed-down story and a so-called family trait for “high cheekbones.” Had Trump said something that outrageous, it would have been universally condemned as akin to saying all natives look alike, in a league with fired TV host Megyn Kelly’s blackface remarks. Any Republican would have been sunk by it. But for Warren, a media and academic darling of the left, it was all the proof she needed.

Instead of condemning Warren, the press blasted Trump for calling her Pocahontas. But Trump was right to call her out. Warren (white, middle class, Ivy League) did not live the life of an underprivileged native and has nothing in common with Cherokees like the Trail of Tears. Tearing up over Trump’s taunts doesn’t count.

The press also defended Warren by insisting she received no position based on her ancestral claims. Yet The Boston Globe reported that her “major professional advances ... came after she began formally identifying as Native American.”

Surely Warren realized the political and social benefits of her claims when she made them. Indian ancestry gave her an aura of empathy and commonality with native peoples. It raised her profile on campus, and later with political donors and voters. It complemented her campaign literature and speeches. It helped her throughout her career, especially in an age of identity politics.

Warren said her story was handed down from her mother, who got it from her mother, and so on. She warned that to question her story was to call her mother a liar, which was strikingly similar to the left’s insistence during the Kavanaugh Senate hearings that to disbelieve Christine Ford was to disrespect her. Warren’s story reeks not only of cultural appropriation but of faux victimhood. What she lacks in native blood she makes up for as a full-blooded, post-modern feminist with a strong grievance ideology.

In the end, Trump didn’t have to pay off the million-dollar bet he facetiously made regarding Warren’s ethnic status, not that he would have. Instead, Warren had to eat crow, and her Wikipedia page was scrubbed of her native claim, at least for now.

But it may be back. Warren really likes having a feather in her cap.

 

Mark Godburn is a bookseller in Norfolk, Conn.