Elizabeth Warren’s false claim to be Cherokee has done more than destroy Warren’s credibility.
In defending herself, Warren has stuck by the claim to be Native American based solely on what she supposedly believed based on family lore. Warren steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that she has no Cherokee (or Delaware) ancestry. “This was the way I was raised” or “I’m not backing away from my family” are familiar Warren refrains. Put aside for the moment, if you can, that Warren’s family lore is grossly exaggerated and contradicted by numerous known facts.
Focus on what Warren is saying — my Native American identity comes from what I was told and what I believed.
Believing something to be true is not the test. The test to identify as Native American for Harvard employment purposes or for the EEOC is standard, and set forth in Harvard’s employee manual.
It is not a racial test. One has to have actual Native American ancestry and have cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
Warren cannot show actual ancestry, so she fails part one of the test. She also cannot show cultural identification; she had no tribal affiliation and never affiliated with the Native American community in any way. Warren only checked the box for employment and career purposes.
Yet in defending Warren, liberals have had to adopt Warren’s theory of what it means to be Native American, and thereby have joined Warren in turning what it means to be Native American into nothing more than a test of who can tell the tallest tale.
This defense of Warren by Touré Neblett is typical: Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown and the Myth of Race (emphasis mine):
Scott Brown’s simplistic conception of Warren’s Native American heritage does not fit in the age of Obama
…. Warren has every right to define herself and to do so in a multifaceted way. Racial identity, for mixed Americans, need not be an either/or situation; it can be a both/and. The only way we could truly gauge Warren’s Indian-ness would be to see how much being an American Indian means to her. She says she listed herself in a directory of minority law professors in order to meet “people for whom Native American is part of their heritage and part of their hearts.” Only she knows what place being an American Indian has in her heart.
Melissa Harriss-Perry followed a similar theme (via The Blaze):
“If candidate Warren grew up thinking she is Native American by heritage, who are we to say she is not? And who are we to define her based on narrow constructs of race.”
Congratulations, Elizabeth Warren. You and your defenders have helped reduce Native American identity to a tool of liberal racial politics.