Is Elizabeth Warren a “person of color”?

She’s been touted as such for two decades, because of her claim to be Native American.

After the Boston Herald reported in late April 2012, that Warren had been touted by Harvard Law School as a minority law professor for diversity purposes, Warren played dumb:

She has said she had no idea Harvard was billing her that way or how the school found out that her family claims Native American heritage.  She learned of it first from the Herald story, she said.

But as events unfolded in the days after the Herald story, it was revealed that starting in the mid-1980s Warren listed herself as Native American in a law professor directory used for hiring purposes.

Her campaign spokesman, who would never speak with me again, told me that Warren was the one to list herself that way, Confirmed – Elizabeth Warren knowingly self-identified as Native American on law association forms:

… The claim to Native American status came as a shock to the media and the Scott Brown campaign.

Warren contends that she was unaware of the designation by HLS, and that it played no role in her hiring.  Warren asserts that her Native American heritage is family lore, and based on what she has been told not any specific documentation she is aware of.

Subsequently, David Bernstein discovered that in annual reports by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) from 1986-1994, Warren was listed as a minority faculty member.  Since AALS bases such information solely on what faculty self-reports, the information must have come from Warren herself.  The AALS directories, however, only identify whether the faculty member is “minority,” not what minority status is claimed.

There seems to be some uncertainty in news reports as to whether Warren filled out the AALS forms, and if so, whether she identified as Native American, with the Brown campaign demanding that she “come clean.”

I spoke this afternoon with Alethea Harney, Warren’s campaign press secretary, and confirmed several key details.

Harney acknowledged that the minority status reported by Warren to AALS was Native American, and that while Warren does not remember the precise forms, she believes there was a box or other designation to be selected for Native American.

The result of Warren claimed she listed herself in the directory to meet others like her for lunch (seriously):

“I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am. Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off,” said Warren….

That lunch explanation made zero sense:

Why doesn’t it add up?

Because the section listing “minority” faculty doesn’t list which minority, so Warren listing herself that way would not be a means of meeting other Native Americans, because no one else would know she was claiming to be Native American just from the listing.  (I wonder how Harvard knew if she never told them and it never came up?)

The result of claiming Native American status was that she got listed on the short list of Minority Law Teachers. That alleged minority status would follow Warren for her career.

In 1993, when she was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, Warren was listed in the Harvard Women’s Law Journal as a “Woman of Color in Legal Academia.” We reported on May 25, 2012, Elizabeth Warren listed as “woman of color” in Harvard student journal in 1993:

While Elizabeth Warren is doing well in the polls, her story about not promoting herself as Native American for professional purposes continues to fall apart.

Michael Patrick Leahy, writing at today, links to an article in the Spring 1993 issue of the student-run Harvard Women’s Law Journal, when Warren was a visiting professor at Harvard Law.  (Side note, it’s a very common practice among law schools who are considering hiring someone permanently to have them “visit”.)

Yet while just a visitor, Warren was listed in the Women’s Law Journal on the list of “Women of Color in Legal Academia.”  Where would the student editors have come up with the idea that Warren was a “woman of color”?  Certainly not from looking at her.

The Journal used the 1991-1992 AALS directory list of Minority Law Teachers — on which Warren’s name appeared as we now know based on her claiming Native American status — as a starting point, then gathered other information from other sources, and then sent out confirmation letters.

As reported by Leahy, the editors of the Harvard Women’s Law Journal contacted those listed for confirmation

The methodology the editors used in preparing the article for final publication indicates that it is likely that Warren provided the information which identified her as a “woman of color,” and that she actively consented to her listing as a “woman of color”:

Once the initial compilation of biographical and bibliographical material was completed, we attempted to verify our data by sending each of the more than 250 women listed a facsimile of the information pertaining to her. Approximately sixty-five percent of the women responded. We were pleased that several women helped to improve our list by putting us in touch with their colleagues whose names did not appear in the AALS [Association of American Law Schools] directory.

In a final verification effort, we attempted to telephone those women who failed to respond to our initial inquiry to clear up discrepancies in our data. We should also note that because we thought it important to allow each woman to decide whether to be included under the rubric of “women of color currently teaching law,” those who so requested were deleted from this guide.[emphasis added]

In 1996, The Harvard Crimson reported that Harvard Law listed Warren as minority:

“Of 71 current Law School professors and assistant professors, 11 are women, five are black, one is Native American and one is Hispanic, said Mike Chmura, spokesperson for the Law School.

Although the conventional wisdom among students and faculty is that the Law School faculty includes no minority women, Chmura said Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren is Native American.”

In 1997 The Fordham Law Review called Warren Harvard Law’s first woman of color:

“Harvard Law School hired its first woman of color, Elizabeth Warren, in 1995.”

Despite all these reports that she was a “woman of color” and “minority” during the 1990s, and despite listing herself at Native American at Harvard and U. Penn., Warren claimed when the scandal first broke in 2012 not to know why she was touted that way, the Harvard Crimson reported:

In response to these allegations, Warren asserted on Friday that she never knew the Law School had used her heritage as an example of the diversity in existence at HLS. She told reporters she had never formally made the school aware of her background and was unaware that it had information about her ancestry.

Warren claiming to be anything other than white was laughable on its and her face. As Mark Steyn quipped on May 21, 2012 (emphasis added):

“There is no evidence that Mrs. Warren, now the Democrats’ Senate candidate, is anything other than 100 percent white. She walks like a white, quacks like a white, looks whiter than white. She’s the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out.”

It also caused Legal Insurrection to try to ask Warren if she viewed herself a role model for women of color. She ran away without answering.

Since 2012, Warren has never veered from her claim to be Native American, which was the sole basis for her getting listed as a Minority Law Teacher and a Woman of Color. To the contrary, she doubled down recently with her disastrous DNA test rollout.

Trying to undo the damage from the DNA test as she gets ready to announce she’s running for president, Warren announced today that she is NOT a person of color. (h/t Ramesh Ponnuru on Twitter)

The Washington Post reports, Warren seeks to connect with minority communities in commencement address

Acknowledging that she is “not a person of color,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sought Friday to make the case that her liberal policy prescriptions stand to benefit minority communities, which would be key to her fate in a 2020 presidential bid.

“As a country, we need to stop pretending that the same doors open for everyone, because they don’t,” Warren said in a commencement address at Morgan State University, a historically black institution. “I’m not a person of color. And I haven’t lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the color of your skin.”

Her speech comes as Warren is mulling a White House bid and trying to regain her footing after stoking outrage on the left by releasing a DNA test in October intended to prove she has Native American ancestry. The test angered some minority leaders who found it offensive that she would use genetics to prove ethnicity.

Warren has never tried to join a tribe though she has identified as Native American at times. Warren released the test in response to critics, including President Trump, who claimed the family lore about her ancestry was false.

The blowback from releasing the test halted Warren’s momentum as an early Democratic favorite for 2020, and she is trying to focus on policy and strengthening ties to nonwhite communities.

Warren is desperate to overcome the implications of her Native American deception, and her coverup. Finally admitting that she is not a “person of color” isn’t going to settle anything, considering it took her two decades to get there.


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