A Fighting Chance
October 17, 2018 2:23 PM   Subscribe

 
It is very puzzling.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:26 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


I’m not saying Warren is perfect, but all the media coverage gleefully shitting on her for having the temerity to try fighting back against Trump’s bullying — this is why I am very anxious and depressed about any female candidate’s chances of getting a fair shake.
posted by saturday_morning at 2:30 PM on October 17 [79 favorites]


And so the great purity tests began, destroying Democratic candidates so the Trump lovers wouldn't have to expend the energy.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:34 PM on October 17 [93 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren's Deception
In the coming days, there will be Natives far smarter than I that come forward and explain why, exactly, what Warren did was so insulting. They will lay out the way that Indigenous peoples have long been forced to institute blood tests so as to keep prying non-Natives from reaping the few financial and professional benefits granted to federal and state tribes in America. They will tell you, the presumably non-Native reader, how hurtful and distressful it is to have constantly faced the same set of questions every fucking time they tell someone outside their tribal community that they belong to a nation of Natives:

How much?

How much?

How much?
posted by BungaDunga at 2:35 PM on October 17 [37 favorites]


I’m not saying Warren is perfect, but all the media coverage gleefully shitting on her for having the temerity to try fighting back against Trump’s bullying — this is why I am very anxious and depressed about any female candidate’s chances of getting a fair shake.

It isn't that she's fighting back against Trump, it is that the specific way she is fighting back is at the expense of Native Americans. It shows a deep disrespect for Native Americans and tribal sovereignty and is yet another example of white people wearing their non-white ancestry as a badge of legitimacy while those same non-white people from whom the white person is descended continue to be disenfranchised. That kind of tone-deaf and actively harmful maneuver is not indicative of the kind of leadership we need.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:38 PM on October 17 [41 favorites]


That kind of tone-deaf and actively harmful maneuver is not indicative of the kind of leadership we need.

I guess, but it sure as hell does seem that whenever a woman is close to the highest levers of power it turns out that she's not the kind of leadership we need, even if her opponents are the worst people in the world.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on October 17 [147 favorites]


Treating addressing conservaruve attacks on their own terms or otherwise treating them as anything other than an expression of total bad faith is dumb centrist thinking. Would have thought her smarter than that TBH.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on October 17 [23 favorites]


it turns out that she's not the kind of leadership we need, even if her opponents are the worst people in the world.

At the moment her opponents are other Democrats running for the nomination. Until she issues an apology I see no real reason to consider supporting her run over the rest of them, and until the DNA debacle I was firmly in her camp as my preferred candidate.
posted by edeezy at 2:45 PM on October 17 [16 favorites]


The fundamental error was in approaching Trump and the GOP as if they viewed her as a person to be reasoned with and not a bug to be ground under their heel. Like wrestling a pig or or debating a Nazi (both of which are accurate descriptions here) it serves nobody but them.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:45 PM on October 17 [41 favorites]


At the moment her opponents are other Democrats running for the nomination.

True enough. Though as we have seen damage suffered during a primary - or before the primary - does not simply evaporate after the nomination is secured. For Democrats anyway. Nothing apparently matters on the other side except the R next to the name.
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


I don't know much about Native citizenship. I do know that there's been a whole series of eloquent pieces published in the last day or so written by Native Americans about why this incident has hurt them personally and politically. This doesn't feel like a purity test to me. It feels like Warren using issues of Native belonging as a political football, instead of kicking the ball off the field.

I've gone back and read several stories about assorted Native groups trying to meet with her on the issue, and Native news outlets trying to interview her, all met with silence. And now she has the temerity to leap back in? Without talking to the tribe she once claimed descent from? My understanding is the Cherokee give citizenship by descent- there is no blood quantum test- if you have a documented lineage back to a member of the Cherokee tribe then you have the right to claim Cherokee citizenship- and that was the tribe she had thought she was descended from. So claiming "Cherokee descent" and "Cherokee" amount to the nearly same thing. The Cherokee don't consider themselves to be an ethnicity. You can't be a little bit Cherokee.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:48 PM on October 17 [34 favorites]


In the tv ads supporting the GOP candidate for Senate here in Indiana, they’ve added Warren to Schumer and Pelosi as the leaders of “radical liberals.” They’re definitely targeting her with an eye on the future.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:49 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


So she claimed to have some Native American heritage. This turns out to have been more-or-less true, although she appears to have exaggerated. Big fuss, everyone treats it as a scandal.

In the mean time, of course, the completely blameless and scandal-free Donald Trump is president of the United States of America.
posted by Urtylug at 2:52 PM on October 17 [57 favorites]


Why on Earth did she do this 4 weeks before the midterms? She knew it would grab headlines at the expense of Democratic candidates. Why?

Why on Earth did she stoop to fighting Trump on his terms? This is how you lose elections. It shows a deep tactical misunderstanding. Good grief.
posted by gwint at 2:53 PM on October 17 [82 favorites]


In everyday language, "X descent" would mean "someone X" in your family tree, which I believe is all she's ever claimed. I've never heard of her claiming to be Cherokee. I believe I can claim to be of Scottish descent, in the same partial, faraway sense, but I'm not Scottish and I've never said so. If people want to say "Cherokee descent" means "Cherokee", they're welcome to do so, but beating her over the head with a special definition seems unfair.
posted by uosuaq at 2:53 PM on October 17 [33 favorites]


the great purity tests

Meh, anytime any Democrat does anything bad, whether it's an arrest record from their teens, or if it's something much worse, people always cry "purity test" (which is an ironic choice of phrase, given Warren using DNA testing to try and determine if she is Native American). The way Warren went about this seems like a major fuckup that could bite her in the ass politically, and there's nothing wrong with pointing that out right as the 2020 race is getting ready to start.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:54 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


It puts the stamp of approval on Trumps Pocahontas bullshit, actually makes it count against her instead of him and makes it the ONLY thing that will be discussed in any election. It’s her emails, an endlessly renewable source of bullshit.

Foot meet howitzer.

Honestly it doesn’t even matter how this reflects on her judgement or the fairness of any judgement there, it just means she now can’t win and shouldn’t run.
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on October 17 [21 favorites]


If what you are saying amounts to "we need a woman president, offended minorities should STFU" maybe take a moment to ruminate on what a terrible thing that is to say.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:56 PM on October 17 [49 favorites]


The way to kick the football off the field, by the way, would be to say "after consulting with a Native geneologist, I can find no ties to a native tribe at all. While I believe my family stories might have some truth to it, I now understand how hurtful it was to claim a Native affinity without doing right by Native American peoples. My family and their stories are very important to me and may have blinded me to the truth."

I've never heard of her claiming to be Cherokee
"As a kid, I never asked my mom for documentation when she talked about our Native American heritage. What kid would? But I knew my father's family didn't like that she was part Cherokee and part Delaware, so my parents had to elope," she said.
For the Cherokee, that's the same as claiming you are Cherokee, since that's exactly how the Cherokee determine who is Cherokee. You can't be "part Cherokee." They don't consider themselves to be an ethnicity that gets "watered down."

which is an ironic choice of phrase, given Warren using DNA testing to try and determine if she is Native American

Yes, if anyone knows about purity tests, it's Native Americans, who are constantly on guard because nowadays there are actual Native people with small blood quantums (1/256, 1/512) and when something comes up (such as, say, the right of a Native tribe to keep Native children from being adopted out, which is a form of cultural genocide they are intimately familiar with) white supremacist assholes pop up and say "well you're only .5% Native, how can that count?"
posted by BungaDunga at 2:59 PM on October 17 [36 favorites]


Why on Earth did she do this 4 weeks before the midterms?

So I don't look like a Warren Stooge, I agree with this. Doing this so close to the midterms smacks of either political amateurism or crass political opportunism. Neither is a particularly good look.
posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on October 17 [17 favorites]


I keep coming back to how there was no possible positive political/electoral outcome from Warren releasing the DNA results. She could have been found to have 100% native ancestry and Trump would just tweet photoshops of her in an even bigger headdress. It wouldn't have gained her a single vote. Why go all this way for no practical benefit?
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:00 PM on October 17 [20 favorites]


Warren using DNA testing to try and determine if she is Native American

I shouldn't jump in again so quickly, but I think the DNA test was to show that she (most likely) had a Native American ancestor, which she once claimed (and in retrospect, probably shouldn't have, but if this is the worst thing the oppo research has come up with...). Not that she was "Native American".

I'm not even speaking as someone who wants her to run for president, but it'll come up in the Senate race anyway.
posted by uosuaq at 3:01 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


From the Elizabeth Warren's Deception link upthread:

"If there is one item you remember, let it be this: I am not Native because of my blood; I am Native because I belong to a tribe, and despite what courts like the one in Texas say, a tribe is not a group of people gathered together because they are of the same race. It is a collective, a nation of citizens bonded by ancestral and historical commonalities, the likes of which no other group has on this land. On this, there is no budging. For anyone to decry this, or declare it moot, is to walk into the same trap Warren did—that of denying Native people the sovereignty and autonomy to declare, for themselves, who is Native and who is not. In voice, both through her video and past statements, Warren has maintained that only tribes have the power to determine who is a member; in practice, by completing this DNA test as some sort of rebuttal of truth to Trump’s repeated jabs, she has circumvented this acknowledgment of tribal sovereignty and clung to that heritage for no other reason than being able to claim a cheap political victory."
posted by 23skidoo at 3:02 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


She chose to play their stupid game and she fucked it up big time.
Now she's a laughingstock and good luck recovering from that. (Just ask Michael Dukakis.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:03 PM on October 17 [12 favorites]


I'm still optimistic about Warren (or any Democrat, for that matter), but boy was the DNA test a bonehead move.

No evidence you present will ever convince a bully to stop bullying you. Ever. It just shows you'll play their game. And that's a losing proposition.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:06 PM on October 17 [20 favorites]


I am not Native because of my blood; I am Native because I belong to a tribe, and despite what courts like the one in Texas say, a tribe is not a group of people gathered together because they are of the same race. It is a collective, a nation of citizens bonded by ancestral and historical commonalities, the likes of which no other group has on this land.

Sure, but this seems really tone deaf when the tribe is the one determining membership, and when one group wants to disenfranchise tons of US citizens because they aren't the correct 'culture'-I'm sorry the correct 'ancestral and historical commonalities'. It also seems really anti-science and cheap when one group is looking to run roughshod over Native American land, and it's not Elizabeth Warren's group. Also personally, purity tests and tribal rigamarole are a bunch of nonsense when the border is Native American or US.

And sorry, but yes you can be part-many things.
In a more enlightened world, it would be great to be haggling over these things. We are not in that world.
posted by The_Vegetables at 3:07 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


DNA=/= heritage, ethnicity, culture, etc. Ethnicity, heritage, culture, descent - especially when it comes to Native American communities - is so much more complex.

From Kim TallBear, an Indigenous scholar who works on questions of "Native American DNA" (among other things):

"For Elizabeth Warren to center a Native American ancestry test as the next move in her fight with Republicans is to make yet another strike - even if unintended - against tribal sovereignty.

She continues to defend her ancestry claims despite her historical record of refusing to meet with Cherokee Nation community members who challenge her claims. This shows that she focuses on and actually privileges DNA company definitions in this debate, which are ultimately settler-colonial definitions of who is Indigenous. She and much of the US American public privilege the voice of (mostly white) genome scientists and implicitly cede to them the power to define Indigenous identity. As scholars of race have shown, it is one of the privileges of whiteness to define and control everyone else's identy.

Tribal governments establish regulations that do not use genetic ancestry tests, but other forms of biological and political relationships to define our citizenries. Indigenous definitions of who we are continue to be background noise in Democrat vs. Republican party warring. Warren's attention continues to be focused on settler state electoral politics and not good relationships with Indigenous communities.

Elizabeth Warren and genome scientists give lip service to genetic ancestry not trumping tribal definitions of identity. But they get to have it both ways. They know very well that the broader US public will understand a DNA test to be a true indication of Elizabeth Warren's right to claim Native American identity in some way. The broader US public knows nothing about tribal citizenship and histories of settler-colonial meddling in our laws. The broader US public is also invested - as historians, anthropologists, and Indigenous Studies scholars have shown - in making what are ultimately settler-colonial claims to all things Indigenous: our bones, blood, land, waters, and ultimately our identities. The US state was and continues to be built upon appropriations of resources from Indigenous people.

Whether Elizabeth Warren or Donald Trump or 23andMe's Carlos Bustamente know it or not, they are making settler-colonial claims to our cultural and biological patrimony yet again."
posted by ChuraChura at 3:10 PM on October 17 [41 favorites]


I think Democrats are in a tough spot with Trump. Their base wants them to hit him back the same way he hits them. But this isn't a game Democrats are used to playing. People are Democrats these days because they like facts and science and the truth. But those are unimportant if you're playing Trump's game.

Which means when someone like Warren tries to fight back, they end up just making matters worse. No one was going to be persuaded by this. Trump and his base certainly won't be. And in the process Warren managed to (inadvertently, I hope, but inexcusably) hurt a minority population and show off her political naivety. It's a bit of a lose-lose for her.
posted by HiddenInput at 3:13 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


No evidence you present will ever convince a bully to stop bullying you. Ever. It just shows you'll play their game. And that's a losing proposition.

The people to whom she was trying to prove that she has some native american ancestry openly hate native americans.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:13 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


I believe I can claim to be of Scottish descent, in the same partial, faraway sense, but I'm not Scottish and I've never said so. If people want to say "Cherokee descent" means "Cherokee", they're welcome to do so, but beating her over the head with a special definition seems unfair.

Imagine if the English had managed to properly genocide the Scottish, leaving a couple of Highland "reservations" where the remaining Scottish lived. These Scottish people signed treaties with the English, giving them some tiny amounts of self determination, including deciding for themselves who is Scottish. The Scottish Nation gives out citizenship to anyone who can prove a descent from someone who lived on the Highland Country Reservations at the time of the partition and who were catalogued as Scottish at the time. The Scottish Nation preserves, as best they can, the communal beliefs and practices of the Scottish people.

Now- there's a bunch of English people around who claim to be "descended from a Scottish King" or "a bit Scottish". The English Nationalists talk about how, actually, most of the living Scottish people are "barely Scottish" (because they have only 1 grandparent, or 1 great-grandparent, who were 'full blooded Scot'). And then Jeremy Corbyn comes out and says actually, my DNA says I am a bit Scottish!
posted by BungaDunga at 3:15 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


And yet:
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians issued a statement largely supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren's recent DNA test to confirm her Native American ancestry — breaking with another tribe that called the move "inappropriate and wrong."

Eastern Band Principal Chief Richard Sneed said in a statement to Business Insider on Tuesday that while they "strongly condemn" people who try to pass off distant Native ancestry as their race, they don't believe that Warren has appropriated their culture.

"Senator Elizabeth Warren does not claim to be a citizen of any tribal nation, and she is not a citizen of the Eastern Band," he said. "Like many other Americans, she has a family story of Cherokee and Delaware ancestry and evidence of Native ancestry."

Sneed went on to say that Warren "has not used her family story or evidence of Native ancestry to gain employment or other advantage" and that "on the contrary, she demonstrates respect for tribal sovereignty."

I keep hearing that she's claiming Native American "identity", but -- I may have missed something! -- I don't think she has. But the idea that a DNA test doesn't provide (reasonable) evidence of *ancestry*... I don't get it. And if only the Cherokee are allowed to decide, then what happens when they disagree?
posted by uosuaq at 3:17 PM on October 17 [27 favorites]


Ah. I see the election season Democratic devouring of their own has started.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:18 PM on October 17 [50 favorites]


Warren isn't in my top three choices (which are Gillibrand, Harris, Merkley) but I'm confused by two things 1.) why are we talking as if there was some Native Twitter hivemind on this? I've been following this and it seems there's a lot of differing views outside the obvious points that these DNA tests are racist and sketchy and the should-be-obvious point that having Indigenous ancestry doesn't make you Native American nor a member of a tribe and 2.) why are we arguing she is currently trying to prove she is Native American when she is not and more importantly has stated that she is not claiming that or that she's part of a tribe?

But yes, she should have apologized years ago to the Cherokee about trying to claim that heritage in the past while clearly not doing the homework.

Finally, my main problem with Warren 2020 is she is a very dull speaker. I'm not expecting Obama 2.0 but she is dry. Way moreso than Hillary. I would still vote for her if she's the nominee but I would also expect Trump to win if she were the nom.
posted by asteria at 3:18 PM on October 17 [12 favorites]


Imagine if the English had managed to properly genocide the Scottish, leaving a couple of Highland "reservations" where the remaining Scottish lived.

... wasn't this basically what the Highland Clearances amounted to?
posted by Justinian at 3:19 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


The English basically did try to destroy the Scottish and Irish cultures even going so far as almost wiping out the Gaeilge languages until a very recent revival. This is not to say it was as devastating as what happened to Native American but it did happen.
posted by asteria at 3:21 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]


There are almost certainly people who are Cherokee citizens who would, if subjected to a DNA test, have exactly as much "Native DNA" (whatever that means) as Warren does. So- do they count as Native American? This anxiety- that Native tribes might be de-established because they don't have the "right" DNA, or the right blood quantum, or have too many children with non-Native people, is seen by some as an existential threat.

if only the Cherokee are allowed to decide, then what happens when they disagree?

The Eastern Band of Cherokee and the Cherokee Nation are different tribes, and determine membership totally independently of each other.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:23 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


The Scottish thing is a distracting comparison. Let's move on.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:23 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


Why on Earth did she do this 4 weeks before the midterms?

This, this, this, THIS. Right now she is in a fight, albeit what should be a pretty easy fight, for a big electoral prize. There was no reason to do this now. There was nothing to gain from it. There was nothing that COULD be gained from it. When you are coasting to victory, you coast, you win your election and THEN you do what you feel you need to do from the comfort of a six-year seat.

And if she does have national ambitions, fine. There is plenty of time between now and 2020 for pissing contests.
posted by delfin at 3:24 PM on October 17 [7 favorites]


anytime any Democrat does anything bad...

If they do nothing bad, something will be invented, and widely reported.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:24 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


I see the election season Democratic devouring of their own has started.

Think of it more like the tryouts for an Olympic swim team and one of the competitors almost drowned herself while attempting to doggy paddle.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:26 PM on October 17 [34 favorites]


I think people are really overestimating the impact this will have. It's already fading from the news. She clearly dropped it now to put some distance between the fallout and her announcement in 2019 and some space between this and midterms.

If you don't believe me, let me remind everyone of a fact - Black Panther? That cool movie everyone liked? It was released this year.

Does it feel like it was released just 8 months ago? No. Why? Because Trump is a fucking black hole that warps time itself. By the time she announces the media will wonder if she's ready to go up against Trump or Ivanka because Trump is talking about stepping down to let his daughter run in his place or what-the-fuck-ever.
posted by asteria at 3:29 PM on October 17 [24 favorites]


I love me some Warren (or Harris, Biden, Garcetti, Booker, et. al.) as much as anybody, and I'm afraid that 2 long years before the election, I can't see any of them having a chance of beating OrangeCheeto :(
posted by growabrain at 3:30 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


> historical record of refusing to meet with Cherokee Nation community members who challenge her claims

Could you point me towards the historical record? I don't mean that in a rude way, and apologies if it sounds like I'm shouting "CITE!" at you. I can't find relevant articles and would like to know more about that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:32 PM on October 17


The Eastern Band of Cherokee and the Cherokee Nation are different tribes, and determine membership totally independently of each other.

That wasn't what I was getting at. I meant: what are we poor sods supposed to think? Is Warren a horrible person, or not? This was never a question of membership to begin with.
posted by uosuaq at 3:34 PM on October 17


I think Biden would stand a chance, he’s well liked by the working class. I think he would have won in 2016 as well.
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 3:36 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


According to indigenous people she fucked up. The literal first second I saw her tweet about this I groaned and thought “what the actual fuck?” She needs to apologize to indigenous people. If we don’t stand for indigenous people we are implicitly supporting the people who settled this country. Support indigenous people on this one. Be a friend to the indigenous people over the choice of your political party.
posted by nikaspark at 3:37 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


This was politically moronic, and I do not think any of the current front runners are electable.

So I know how ridiculous this is, but: Beto for 2020.

Fuck this dumb timeline and all, but also I want to live. So. Beto 2020 to out-media Trump and the GOP.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:44 PM on October 17 [7 favorites]


I think Biden would stand a chance, he’s well liked by the working class. I think he would have won in 2016 as well.

1.) Anita Hill 2.) he has all the same negatives Hillary did if not more.

My top two guesses at the nom are Harris or (if his team finally figures out they need to campaign in South Carolina and if the economy does tank in 2019) Sanders. Maybe even Harris/Sanders.

My favorite, Gillibrand, won't get it because there are a lot of assholes who have decided they're Al Franken fans all of a sudden though back when I was a Franken fan and he was getting dragged for supporting Hillary I didn't hear peep from any of them.
posted by asteria at 3:44 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


With Biden it would be Anita Hill and, we’ll, that one I think you could probably call a purity test as only lefties and feminists would give a shit about it and outside of moaning about “democratic infighting” for a bit mainstream media isn’t going to touch it, much less make it an endless echoing “her emails” thing.

Should still be disqualifying though.

Would very much hope for someone born after the 40s, but they are short on those.
posted by Artw at 3:45 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


Also: “race science” is a tool that helped build the capitalist master’s house. “Race science” is not a tool you can use to tear down the capitalist master’s house.
posted by nikaspark at 3:47 PM on October 17 [30 favorites]


I love Elizabeth Warren. I got all my friends to vote for her, even the ones who didn't like her. I'm so glad she's making noise. She is exactly what this country needs. But I don't think she's that likable. I don't think I'm that likable, either. They didn't play Pavement songs at my prom and America isn't going to let this brilliant lady fight the good fight as president. That's just the world we've got.
posted by es_de_bah at 3:49 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


So she claimed to have some Native American heritage. This turns out to have been more-or-less true, although she appears to have exaggerated. Big fuss, everyone treats it as a scandal.

She shared her family history of discrimination based on the history of her maternal family on a faculty demographic survey.

I wouldn't say she "exaggerated". This so-called-controversy is 100% manufactured by the GOP. Which is evil.
posted by mikelieman at 3:51 PM on October 17 [35 favorites]


My favorite, Gillibrand, won't get it because there are a lot of assholes who have decided they're Al Franken fans all of a sudden though back when I was a Franken fan and he was getting dragged for supporting Hillary I didn't hear peep from any of them.

Counterpoint: Opposition to Franklin's resignation is another "Active Measure" amplifying the existing split in opinion. From where I sit, when the credible allegations of you being an entitled misogynistic asshole who doesn't respect women are > 0, it's time to bow out.
posted by mikelieman at 3:53 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


Despite my criticism of Sen. Warren I’ll vote for her as a president. I’ll also hold her accountable as a Senator until then.
posted by nikaspark at 3:53 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


Warren isn't in my top three choices (which are Gillibrand, Harris, Merkley)

well you can be sure us liberals will be kneecapping at least two out of three of those choices

now, what if either a really old white guy with baggage or some completely new white guy who likes punk rock runs in 2020? now that I can get behind!
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:54 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


Lindsey Graham to take DNA test to find Native American roots: 'I think I can beat' Elizabeth Warren

@mattdpearce: Maybe it will be clearer to folks now why the tribes found the concept behind Warren's DNA test so... troublesome.
posted by zachlipton at 3:57 PM on October 17 [20 favorites]


There are almost certainly people who are Cherokee citizens who would, if subjected to a DNA test, have exactly as much "Native DNA" (whatever that means) as Warren does.

To expand on this a bit. Lindsey Graham took her DNA result and said: “She’s less than one-tenth of one percent [native]. I think I can beat her.” There are actual real-life Native American people with blood quantums (which are different from DNA! you don't actually get exactly half your DNA from each parent) that are that small. And they're facing a whole news cycle (or more. Probably much more, when she runs) of powerful assholes like Graham and Trump who will be crowing about "1/10th of 1 percent!" which will cement the idea that you can measure Nativeness with a blood test.

Now, is Warren responsible for what they say? Well- put it this way. If she hadn't released the test, they wouldn't be able to chuckle "one tenth of one percent haw haw haw." Now they can. It's a profoundly stupid move on her part, if she gives a damn about how Native people are treated in this country.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:59 PM on October 17 [17 favorites]


I don't know how I feel about Beto 2020 just because I think him waiting would increase chances of getting Texas in the blue column (assuming it is Texas Senator Beto O'Rourke who is running). Beto O'Rourke/Alexandria Ocasio Cortez 2024!

While we're talking about white guys who will never run I do wish Brian Schatz or Chris Murphy would consider it.
posted by asteria at 4:00 PM on October 17


Elizabeth Warren is from Oklahoma, and the Cherokee are one of the Five Civilized Tribes. The parameters for tribal membership in these tribes was not self-determined. They come from the Dawes Act. In 1906, the US government made what they claimed was a list of all Native Americans, the Dawes Rolls. To be a member of one of these tribes in Oklahoma: the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muskogee (Creek), or Seminole, you have to show that your ancestor was on these rolls. You get a 'Certificate Degree of Indian Blood' showing what blood quantum of native ancestry you have from the federal government. None of the Five Civilized Tribes have a blood quantum requirement. A brief summary of the process of becoming a citizen is here.

Warren has not handled this well. A DNA test does zero for Cherokee tribal membership. But actual ancestry and cultural identification doesn't really matter, either. It's all bullshit rules set up by white people at the end of the nineteenth century. The Dawes Act has been amended, but not to the benefit of Native Americans. Things need to change, but it doesn't appear to me that anyone cares about the laws as they stand.
posted by Quonab at 4:02 PM on October 17 [24 favorites]


If the Democrats nominate Warren then they deserve some of the blame if Trump wins, just like they deserve blame for having nominated Clinton last time, or for having nominated Kerry against the wildly unpopular Bush.

If I were a Democratic Party powerbroker, I'd gather a dozen of the party's smartest and most savvy Millenials and ask them who they think we should run for president. Then I'd cross-off every name I recognized, like Warren and Biden and Harris, and we'd get to work on choosing three or four candidates from the rest.

I love Elizabeth Warren. I got all my friends to vote for her.

Then let her be your senator. People can make an argument for why Elizabeth Warren is a good person to have in the Senate, but nobody can plausibly argue that she's good for Massachusetts to have in the Senate. Kennedy was a fantastic senator for Massachusetts constituents, Kerry was a terrible one, and Warren's in the second column. She could give a fuck about Massachusetts.

People talk about Citizens United, and that's fine. Among the campaign reforms I'd like to see is more compelled public disclosures about out-of-state contributions to local campaigns, if not outright caps or bans. But I'd also like to see the major-league sports impose prior-residency requirements for players, so hey, wish in one hand.
posted by cribcage at 4:05 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


just like they deserve blame for having nominated Clinton last time,

You mean the voters who voted for her in the primary?

Kennedy was a fantastic senator for Massachusetts constituents

Maybe Warren can take up drunk driving.
posted by asteria at 4:07 PM on October 17 [16 favorites]


What I want to know is where was all the breathless media coverage of actual Native American groups asking Trump to stop fucking calling her Pocahontas?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:08 PM on October 17 [95 favorites]


I think people are really overestimating the impact this will have. It's already fading from the news.

It's fading from the news for now. It will never go away. She let Trump get under her skin, and to call this an own goal is a massive understatement. This will dog her legacy literally decades after she's dead, and be forever enshrined in the grand library of conservative shibboleths along with chappaquiddick, John Kerry's medals, etc.

The willing media sycophants will make "but her emails!" look like a neutral and totally reasonable line of reporting in comparison to how this will get repeated and rehashed for months. If the Democrats try to move forward with her in 2020 we'll all experience the joy of Trump screaming gleefully about massacring Pocahontas while the usual crowd sits around bewildered at what just happened.

IMHO she's done.
posted by tocts at 4:09 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


I keep hearing that she's claiming Native American "identity", but -- I may have missed something! -- I don't think she has

She hasn't. She said her mother's family was reputed to have some Native American ancestry and her mother suffered discrimination from her father's family as a result. Which her mother told her and also claimed that the story of a Native ancestor was true. Trump said she lied about it. She took a DNA test to prove she wasn't a liar. That's pretty much the bare facts.

As far as the implications she wasn't raised Cherokee and she's never claimed to be Native. The Cherokee nation or individuals can feel otherwise of course but she hasn't claimed that identity or ethnicity for herself and isn't now. The larger debate about tribal membership and DNA vs cultural belonging has been going on for a long time and s far as I can see she's stayed away from it because it's irrelevant to her. She's not claiming tribal membership.

Everyone I personally know who's Native or a tribal member, and I have quite a few friends and acquaintances who are, could give a shit. They DO care about DNA and the whole percentage debate for membership because it often affects them and their kids materially, and they care about how membership is perceived by the larger nation. They also care about making it more fair for the many edge case individuals and keeping opportunists out. But they don't care much about people with some Native American ancestry way back but no family ties to a tribe or interest in membership. Everyone knows there are tons of them out there.

The whole thing is a big nothingburger and Democrats have fallen for stupid infighting bullshit again. Again!
posted by fshgrl at 4:09 PM on October 17 [58 favorites]


Biden is 75 years old. He seems spy and sharp, but I think Trump is already too old and he's 3 years younger. Sanders is 77. I think Warren is smart, but she is a terrible campaigner from what I've seen. Her speeches don't inspire. I like Harris now. we'll see if that stands up. Booker seems like an empty suit to me. Of course it all may be moot. Whose to say if we won't just suspend elections in 2020.
posted by willnot at 4:10 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


Yeah, her test was troublesome, but when she does have family history to talk about with this stuff--basically all of my Mexican family is white if you define white as "primarily European ancestry". But white people never defined white as "primarily European ancestry". So, I am, give or take, 5% genetically non-European according to 23andMe. On the other hand, my dad is dead because of the legacy of poverty and discrimination and lack of health care that came from being Latino. Literally. He was born in 1946. He should still be alive. He should have been able to make something of his life that made him happy, and he never got to do more than struggle. I didn't grow up speaking Spanish because his parents forced their kids to stop speaking it to integrate... and it didn't help him. So people got told over and over again to integrate, and still saw so much discrimination, and now this is where we are. How much. It makes me feel so ill.

I think there are technically ways Warren could have handled it better at various points, but I think she wound up in a position where there are no good ways out, which I can't help think feels like the classical experience of being both white and not.
posted by Sequence at 4:11 PM on October 17 [17 favorites]


Disgraceful that the dominant culture continues to appropriate First Nations identity. Fucking bullshit.
posted by JamesBay at 4:12 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


She took a DNA test to prove she wasn't a liar.

She claimed her mother was part Cherokee and Delaware. The DNA test can't say anything about that one way or another. Her Native ancestor could be from her father's side. I don't believe she's a liar- I believe her family believed it. Family stories are powerful things and I'm sure she believed it. But the DNA doesn't prove it's true because it can't.

If it had come up "nope, you're 100% white", that would not have proved her a liar, because DNA gets mixed up and lost, and you could be descended from a Native American and through chance not have ended up with any of the DNA that's used as a marker in these sorts of tests.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:15 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


I agree it's a misstep, another example of fighting Trump on his own terms, combined with bad timing. Her staff should be sharper than this.

That said, I still like her and wish she'd have run last time. Today, she will still be fine, though I find myself leaning more toward Harris and/or Booker lately. (Of course, I may be leaning too much on the recency Kavanaugh hearings in feeling this way.)

Nice to at least have some real contenders lined up this time. More like this, please.
posted by rokusan at 4:16 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]


Like I said in a comment yesterday (which got deleted for some reason)... I can't believe Warren fell for this DNA test thing. What was she thinking? Never wrestle with pig.

I hoping Warren doesn't run, only because I like her and I don't think she'll win.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:17 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


and be forever enshrined in the grand library of conservative shibboleths along with chappaquiddick, John Kerry's medals, etc.

Ok but who gives a fuck what they think? The assholes who believed swiftboating are the same assholes who would never vote for any Democrat.

Hillary had a million scandals - some even real - and she still might have pulled it off if not for Comey and some possibly fucked data that had her dicking around in Texas instead of sending Bill to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. It is way too early to declare Warren done and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to try following LITERALLY ANYONE ELSE but journalists on Twitter. Anyone.

Booker, is a weird one. I think he's a genuinely decent person but he really does seem like he's doing a never-ending Obama 2004 impersonation or something. More than that, I think him being single and childless will hurt. I actually worry it might hurt Harris that never had kids of her own. America is a bit weird about that.
posted by asteria at 4:17 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


I think Biden would stand a chance, he’s well liked by the working class. I think he would have won in 2016 as well.

hahahahahahaha no

Biden: I hope Dems don't move to impeach Trump if they retake the House
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:20 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


Hillary had a million scandals - some even real - and she still might have pulled it off if not for

a huge and poorly-acknowledged problem with misogyny on the left?

Comey and some possibly fucked data that had her dicking around in Texas instead of sending Bill to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

well sure yeah that too
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:21 PM on October 17 [15 favorites]


Beto O'Rourke/Alexandria Ocasio Cortez 2024!

I fucking love them both, fight me... but she'd be running at age 34. Technically allowed, since she'd be of age by the time of swearing in, but that technicality plus the real lack of experience would be a huge distraction. I'd rather see her in 2028 or 2032, I think.

Beto? Anytime, anywhere, and while 2020 is too soon, 2024 could work, sure. Would be nice to have a blue Texas, though. Very nice.
posted by rokusan at 4:22 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


> Could you point me towards the historical record? I don't mean that in a rude way, and apologies if it sounds like I'm shouting "CITE!" at you. I can't find relevant articles and would like to know more about that.

Cherokee Women Try to Meet With Elizabeth Warren; Campaign Offends Them

Elizabeth Warren Avoids American Indian Media
posted by BungaDunga at 4:24 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


If it had come up "nope, you're 100% white", that would not have proved her a liar, because DNA gets mixed up and lost, and you could be descended from a Native American and through chance not have ended up with any of the DNA that's used as a marker in these sorts of tests.

Statistically that's somewhere between impossible and vanishingly unlikely in the number of generations we are talking about. Not everyone on the internet knows as much about the recombination of DNA and genetic drift as they are all claiming to this week.

Warren misstepped on my opinion because she's form academia and in academia if someone is caught out as a liar they are run out of town on a rail. Her assumptions were faulty but also it was hugely important to her, her learned and internalized morality, that she not be seen as a liar. That's like a death blow to academics. I think she's smart enough to learn a lot from this. I hope.
posted by fshgrl at 4:26 PM on October 17 [7 favorites]


Only Bernie gets it. You have to play by your own rules, not theirs. Make the conversation about what matters.
posted by bookman117 at 4:26 PM on October 17 [11 favorites]


Biden? Come on!. Are the Democrats just going to throw away the possibility of making people excited about voting ...again?
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:26 PM on October 17 [19 favorites]


The flipside to this recurring "Is issue X disqualifying for a candidate, or is it just the coalition of the not-GOP fracturing and eating itself? (beyond "is issue X personally important to me?") question seems to be "If this isn't disqualifying, where is the line then (and is there room to talk about this or are we expected to rally around them brooking-no-dissent from the moment they're proposed)?"

Like, if it's actually to-the-general-election Warren vs. Trump, fair enough, no matter what's going on with Warren (out of things that are already known), she isn't Trump.
Similarly for Biden. And under this same logic, Franken. Or Anthony Weiner.

But where's the point where, under this, it *is* valid to go "Hey, there's serious concerns here"? Or is the expectation that so long as the candidate is an inch lefter than Trump, we're to support them enthusiastically and unquestioningly?
posted by CrystalDave at 4:29 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


Are the Democrats just going to throw away the possibility of making people excited about voting ...again?

but you can't deny how excited the "working class" is over this ancient anemic neoliberal
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:29 PM on October 17 [11 favorites]


My hot-take: she's a progressive who has intelligence, grit, passion and experience in fighting the moneyed classes. She has actually drawn blood from banks, and as President she might actually fight against income inequality. That can't be tolerated. Hence these driveby attacks in places like Bezo's the Washington Post as well as the standard republican shit-rags.

Meanwhile the republican president provides cover for upscale ISIS as they torture, kill, and dismember a US resident. People need to get a sense of awareness of what the stakes are and what actually matters. She's a fighter, and that's so, so, so much more important than these invented twitter scandals.
posted by Balna Watya at 4:30 PM on October 17 [23 favorites]


Gina Ortiz-Jones is the best up-and-coming Democrat candidate in mind. Listen to some of her speeches. She's smart, tough and most importantly appears to understand how societies work and how civilisation works. She doesn't seem to be running on some ideology or for her own benefit. As far as I can tell, she wants to fix shit and has a pretty good idea how to do it. She's been around. She inspires respect. And people like her.
posted by fshgrl at 4:30 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


I think she's smart enough to learn a lot from this. I hope.

I'm afraid that according to this thread, Warren is, in fact, stupid.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:31 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


I love me some Warren (or Harris, Biden, Garcetti, Booker, et. al.) as much as anybody, and I'm afraid that 2 long years before the election, I can't see any of them having a chance of beating OrangeCheeto :(

Aww, buck up buttercup! Hillary Clinton got 3,000,000 more votes despite being the one of the two most disliked candidates ever and 25 years of Republican lies and distortions about her.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:31 PM on October 17 [14 favorites]


Are the Democrats just going to throw away the possibility of making people excited about voting ...again?

Not to out myself as a neoliberal empiricist but I'm going to take a close look at turnout in this midterm. 'Cause if somebody doesn't turn out now, when it's so important, I'm gonna assume they won't turn out in 2020 either and I will discount their excitement or lack thereof as a criteria for the nominee.

If the groups that support Biden are the ones that turn out in a few weeks, I'll vote for Biden. If the groups that support Harris are the ones that turn out, I'll vote for Harris. And so on. My expectation is that as with every other election in history young people and the like won't turn out at reasonable levels but perhaps I'll be wrong.
posted by Justinian at 4:32 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]


CrystalDave, I think your comment points to how most political talk lacks in proportionality, and how the middle gets crowded out in discussion by high and low hyperbole. This bit about Warren's DNA isn't just another few inches in a story that really doesn't matter all that much, it's either the complete implosion of Warren as a candidate or lefties getting out the bazookas for the circular firing squad.
posted by factory123 at 4:33 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


If the groups that support Biden are the ones that turn out in a few weeks, I'll vote for Biden. If the groups that support Harris are the ones that turn out, I'll vote for Harris. And so on

Well yeah, I'll vote for ANYONE who runs on the Democratic ticket when it comes down to it. Considering who Im voting against.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:34 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


Biden: I hope Dems don't move to impeach Trump if they retake the House

We have to brace ourself for that ending up being the stance if the majority of favorites Den candidates, with a few leftie outliers. Establishment Dems just love to suck like that.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]


SPW never "claimed to be Native"

She checked the box for "Native" (alongside the one for "White") on a form asking for her ethnicity while at law school. This is the same box that an Actually Native person would have checked. It's not crazy to say that she "claimed to be Native". Ethnicity and ancestry are different things; if all she'd claimed was ancestry, that would be one thing, but she claimed to be ethnically Native American, which is something else.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:44 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


Like, we can all claim African ancestry, but we can't all claim African ethnicity.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:47 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


Biden: I hope Dems don't move to impeach Trump if they retake the House.

We have to brace ourself for that ending up being the stance


Pelosi is already on record, again, as saying impeachment isn't a priority. And I guess she'd still be Speaker. Sigh.

If I had any outrage muscles left, they'd be twitching.
posted by rokusan at 4:50 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


Such a valid and substantial grievance in light of the larger political context!
Please treat the Keystone pipeline, already cancelled by Obama but resurrected almost immediately by trump, a irrelevant derail and carry on with your own bad poli-pedantic selves.
posted by Fupped Duck at 4:59 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]


Any interest from Tammy Duckworth? On paper, she seems so perfect, but I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of Illinois politics.
posted by rikschell at 5:02 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


Biden is 75 years old. He seems spy and sharp, but I think Trump is already too old and he's 3 years younger. Sanders is 77.
And Warren is 69. The best hope for America is someone younger than all of them. To me, anyone older than Obama is NOW (57) is not good for me.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:03 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


As someone who has lived in Illinois, Duckworth would rocket to the top of my list if she considered running.
posted by asteria at 5:04 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


if we don't have a come to Jesus moment about what we expect from female candidates and how flawless we demand them to be, we will eat Tammy Duckworth and any other woman you can suggest alive too.
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:05 PM on October 17 [29 favorites]


And by perfect I don’t mean rabidly progressive, rather, able to appeal sincerely to a broad spectrum of constituencies in the same way Obama did.
posted by rikschell at 5:06 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


Though god knows a rabid progressive would be a whole other flavor of perfect.
posted by rikschell at 5:07 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly OK with having standards for the women I will support in their presidential bids. Elizabeth Warren was great, but she's got a repetitive problem with ignoring and not engaging with Native American groups and this sort of silly, petty politicking is really unappealing and not particularly presidential. I don't think that I'm being unreasonable or misogynistic in feeling this way and hoping for a better option come 2020.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:10 PM on October 17 [21 favorites]


Like, we can all claim African ancestry, but we can't all claim African ethnicity.

This is true, but as has been reflected, that part of their ancestry did in fact have an impact on her family. It's problematic for people who weren't raised with a particular ethnic history to claim that, but it's also a really big problem here to state that the only way to be ethnically something is to have the classical stereotypical upbringing within that particular culture, because the United States is a country where people were for generations encouraged or in many cases forced to give up all those distinctive cultural things. We really, really need to not get into evaluating whether people who didn't entirely invent their heritage are whatever-it-is "enough" to count when there was an active and sustained effort to strip culture away from people.

I think that she's engaged with the right more than with Native groups on this and I think there must be better presidential options, but the engagement thing is the problem, especially when she's in a unique position to be amplifying the voices of people who've had it harder than she does.
posted by Sequence at 5:18 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


Whether or not impeachment is a good or bad thing if it fails to convict -- and it will fail to convict -- is already topica non grata in most of the USPol threads. Perhaps we can nudge it gently out of this one, too.

I am also hoping that Warren comes to her senses and decides against running for the Presidency. This is not to suggest that she is not capable of the office, but that it is a hellish experience to run against a NORMAL Republican opponent, let alone in the present three-ring circus. She can do more good as a strong Senator than as an iffy Presidential candidate. And, frankly, I would rather see her focus be on NOW than on what she may or may not decide to do next year.
posted by delfin at 5:20 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


The hell of it is: I can think of a way for Warren to spin this that would put the onus of the problem where it belongs:
Ladies and gentlemen:

As many of you well know, our President recently challenged me to prove my professed Native ancestry through the use of a DNA test, claiming that he would donate one million dollars to charity if said DNA test had positive results for Native American ancestry. You will also recall, I took that test.

Sadly, my actions have caused pain and difficulty for the sovereign nations of the Cherokee, Delaware and other tribes. As they have so eloquently stated, it is not DNA that makes one a member of their respective nations - it is the right of these sovereign nations themselves to self-identify their members and citizens, as it is the right of every sovereign nation on this planet. Our country's history has long been tarnished by the disenfranchisement of these various sovereign nations; and while the false claim that Native American tribal membership can be "proven" through the use of a DNA test may seem like a minor misconception to most non-Native Americans, it is no less hurtful a claim. I regret that my actions caused them insult.

However, my intent was not actually to prove my own Native ancestry with this test, and I regret that I acted in haste without more fully explaining my motives.

Because, you see, a true leader of this nation would have already known that one cannot prove tribal membership with a DNA test. A true leader of this country would have been familiar with the nuances regarding tribal membership. Of course, a true leader of this nation would also not have used a fellow American's very ancestry as a point of detraction; however, such behavior is sadly not uncommon for our current president.

So the reason I took this test was not out of a desire to prove anything to Mr. Trump. I know my own history and have the right to speak of it, just as the Cherokee and the Delaware have the sovereign right to a final say on their tribal membership. However - Mr. Trump did not merely challenge me to prove my ancestry with a DNA test. In point of fact, Mr. Trump pledged that if I did thus take this test, that he would make a donation to a charity of my choice if that test came back positive. It was that pledge that ultimately lead me to accept his challenge - not out of a desire to prove my point, but to hopefully salvage some good of this hateful situation. If my taking a DNA test would bring one million much-needed dollars to [whatever charity], I felt that was a small price to pay. Again, I sincerely regret that this reasoning was not made more clear.

However - this does beg the question as to why the president is unwilling to make good on the pledged one million dollars, as he so promised. I have to wonder - is it perhaps because he can't afford it? Is our president perhaps not the successful businessman he repeatedly claimed to be?

If the president does not make good on his pledge of one million dollars, then I offer him his own challenge - to prove his financial status through the release of his tax returns from 1975 through 2016, inclusive. If his tax returns prove he is the multimillionaire he claims to be, I will yield to the ruling of the Cherokee council in determining my membership in that tribe.
Okay, the above is kinda bunk. But it's bunk that would hit Trump where he lives and I like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:22 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]


No old white guys! No Biden! No Sanders! NO NO NO! This is the White House, not the Burgess Shale! We need to be including POC and women, not treating them as Old White Guy clients.

I'm hoping for any combination of: Gillibrand, Harris, Tammy Duckworth, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, maybe Julian Castro (who I don't know much about). If we must have a white dude - Jeff Merkley.

As for the "Frankenstans" tanking Gillibrand's candidacy - unlike with Elizabeth Warren and Native leaders, there is no one with any comparable gravitas saying "Gillibrand was wrong." It's all hurt feelings and whining. I wouldn't count Kirsten Gilibrand out.

Warren's misstep was much, much greater than Kirsten Gillibrand PO'ing a bunch of MRA's and Cool Girls. And, I like Elizabeth Warren. Love her, and have loved her since The Two Income Trap. But she effed up.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:31 PM on October 17 [12 favorites]


if we don't have a come to Jesus moment about what we expect from female candidates and how flawless we demand them to be, we will eat Tammy Duckworth and any other woman you can suggest alive too.

No doubt. Warren for this and for not being exciting. Harris for being "a cop" and being a "slut". Gillibrand for "stabbing Franken in the back" and being a "phony". Klobuchar and Duckworth for being "neolib centrists" and so on and so on.

The fact that they are all so tragically human will make it very easy for those looking for a reason not to support a woman to find one. But as Harris is the only female politician I can think of that manages gravitas and charm. I think she's the candidate. Duckworth, if she ran, would be her only competition in the above.

And this includes the men, too. Booker and Gillibrand are about tied for third and Schatz would be fourth place in the "possibly charismatic enough to keep the media from flaying them alive" contest.

Superficial? Absolutely. But that's America and more importantly, that's our shitty fourth estate for ya.

Ethnicity and ancestry are different things; if all she'd claimed was ancestry, that would be one thing, but she claimed to be ethnically Native American, which is something else.

This was 40 years ago. I'm not arguing that it no longer matters but I am wondering if the change in perception matters. In 2018, if someone applying to law school did that we see what a stupid and honestly, malicious act it is. In 1975/76? Was it seen that way? Did society and white people in particular have the kind of understanding? I keep thinking of that seemingly radical and romantic scene in the play Showboat where one character pricks his multi-racial wife's finger, kisses her blood and now pronounces that he shares her blood so he too is black. That was 1927. Where, as a society, where we at in the 70's when it came to one-drop/passing/ancestry v. ethnicity?

(She still should have apologized long ago tho.)
posted by asteria at 5:32 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


I've liked Warren for years. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was her brainchild, and despite occupying a seat on Walmart's board for a time, she has consistently opposed Wall Street since the crash of 2008. In the Senate, she has represented Massachusetts well.

The video, and this whole issue, are deeply embarrassing. I thought Warren was a better politician than to respond to her right-wing enemies' idiotic smear - that she passed herself off as a Native American because Native Americans just have it so darn good in the United States - with a tone-deaf, at best merely factual rebuttal like this one.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:33 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


Implying that people of color are sexist for pointing out the harms of an ill-advised action by a white woman is... not a good look.

But pushing aside the concerns of women of color because there are more pressing issues has been part of white feminism since black women were forced to march at the back of suffragist parades, so I shouldn't even be surprised.

I genuinely did like Elizabeth Warren, but at the end of the day, I'm siding with the group that didn't vote 53-47 for Trump.
posted by perplexion at 5:34 PM on October 17 [25 favorites]


So we're gonna pit white women against indigenous women here? Some intersectionality please.
posted by nikaspark at 5:36 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


I genuinely did like Elizabeth Warren, but at the end of the day, I'm siding with the group that didn't vote 53-47 for Trump.

This times a million. I basically have no faith that white women won't let me down at the polls again.
posted by TwoStride at 5:37 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


despite occupying a seat on Walmart's board for a time,

Sorry, I must have confused Warren with someone else. Doubting myself, I Googled around and couldn't find a source for this claim, but found plenty of stories of her railing against Walmart. All the more reason to have liked her.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:41 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


I get that people don't want this to be an issue, but it's extremely disappointing to see so many people write off the complaints of so many Native authors as "purity tests" or misogyny. Maybe let's aim for the goal of actually listening to what historically marginalized people have to say, even when it's not politically convenient for all of us.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:42 PM on October 17 [16 favorites]


"Senator Warren’s genetic-ancestry results suggest she has a Native American ancestor, most likely more than six generations back. But a few segments of a person’s genome that indicate she may have indigenous ancestry does not make her Native American. To be Native American is to be a member of a tribal community and recognized by that community as such. DNA cannot vouchsafe tribal identity or any other community affiliation."
posted by ChuraChura at 5:43 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


Are we saying she is Native American? Is she currently saying she is Native American? Why do we keep discussing this point?

I also find this insistence that all Native people agree on Warren a bit weird and dehumanizing. But okay.
posted by asteria at 5:44 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


what we expect from female candidates and how flawless we demand them to be

America does demand women candidates be flawless, but (imo) the way to combat that is to embrace the idea that it's perfectly fine to be a flawed candidate because nobody is perfect, and that fucking up is a chance to do better. It should be okay to say "Warren fucked up here" without people immediately assuming that means "Warren should not waste time running, BZZZT NEXT".
posted by 23skidoo at 5:45 PM on October 17 [16 favorites]


I also find this insistence that all Native people agree on Warren a bit weird and dehumanizing. But okay.

No one is claiming this is the universal Native viewpoint, only that there are a number of prominent Native voices who have expressed anger and concern.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:46 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


People are literally saying that second part though
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:46 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


People are also acting like EVERYONE is saying that second part, and they totally aren't.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:48 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


This was 40 years ago. I'm not arguing that it no longer matters but I am wondering if the change in perception matters. In 2018, if someone applying to law school did that we see what a stupid and honestly, malicious act it is. In 1975/76? Was it seen that way? Did society and white people in particular have the kind of understanding?

Oh, I agree. I don't think she had the understanding- I think she did it out of ignorance. Ignorance is fixable! If she was saying the right things about it today, I wouldn't mind. In fact it would show that she's the sort of person who didn't stop growing and learning as an adult, and I think that's a good thing. Heck, she was a Republican until 1996, and I don't see progressives holding that against her either.

I'm just annoyed when people mischaracterize what it was she did. As long as people are clear-eyed about what she did, that's one thing. But "she never claimed to be Native" is not an accurate portrayal, and I find it frustrating that some commentators seem to want to minimize it. That's not to say I want to maximize it.
posted by BungaDunga at 5:53 PM on October 17 [12 favorites]


I hope I haven't given anyone the impression that I think all Native people believe the same thing about this. (The Cherokee statement from 2012 was a lot more conciliatory, actually! So there's some diversity of opinion over time already)
posted by BungaDunga at 5:55 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


For an example on how to handle a controversy with grace, here is Kirsten Gillibrand again: If standing up for women makes George Soros mad, that's on him, and her gracious yet pointed statements at a professional women's event. (I noted that one woman attendee stubbornly maintained "women need to put up with a little grab-ass in the name of the common good" but there's no reaching some people.)

I would trust Gillibrand to be able to handle any controversy thrown her way. Same with Harris, Klobuchar, and Duckworth. (And, again, please tell me the prominent leaders and media figures who have sided with Franken. I'll wait.)

I also remember all the pearl-clutching and Chicken Little-ing when Barack Obama got the nomination because he wasn't "electable." And John Kerry was supposed to be the quintessential "Mr. Electable," and someone orange who shall be nameless was thought to be unelectable - I think that "electability" is a mug's game these days.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:56 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]




The DNA proves absolutely nothing. Putting effort into getting it and then publishing it was a mistake. There was no winning this game. The only choice was not to play. Although I actually thought most of her recent statements regarding this whole dumb affair were pretty on point. I can't find the exact quote right now, but she did say something along the lines of her not being part of a tribe and that her ancestry or DNA wouldn't make her part of one. If it was just the statements and nothing else this would still be Trump's weird nickname that most of us didn't understand anyway.
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:04 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]


The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians issued a statement largely supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren's recent DNA test to confirm her Native American ancestry — breaking with another tribe that called the move "inappropriate and wrong."

Eastern Band Principal Chief Richard Sneed said in a statement to Business Insider on Tuesday that while they "strongly condemn" people who try to pass off distant Native ancestry as their race, they don't believe that Warren has appropriated their culture.

"Senator Elizabeth Warren does not claim to be a citizen of any tribal nation, and she is not a citizen of the Eastern Band," he said. "Like many other Americans, she has a family story of Cherokee and Delaware ancestry and evidence of Native ancestry."

Sneed went on to say that Warren "has not used her family story or evidence of Native ancestry to gain employment or other advantage" and that "on the contrary, she demonstrates respect for tribal sovereignty."


Maybe I'm native American tone deaf but that is what I thought she was trying to do and this seems reasonable to me. She did not claim to be part of a tribe, which to me would imply that she has an understanding of their culture, beliefs and society in an intimate way. As some one said upthread, I can claim to be 50% Swedish but I do not claim to be a Swede in any sense of the word nor could I lay claim to any benefits of being a Swedish citizen. This seemed to me like Warren trying to put this issue of her native ancestry to rest before things got real for 2020, that is after the midterms. I am planning to read more about what Native Americans feel about this, but right now I'm confused (no need to set me straight MeFi :) )
posted by bluesky43 at 6:12 PM on October 17 [13 favorites]


I think part of the reason anthropologists, Native scholars, and some geneticists are so keyed in on this, as well, is that it is really illustrative of a broader misunderstanding among the general public about what it means to have Native American ancestry (and Cherokee ancestry in particular), and this is an opportunity to clarify and explain what the broader issues are.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:15 PM on October 17 [15 favorites]


To add to what ChuraChura is saying, indigenous people have been asking Sen. Warren to cut this type of crap out for years now (since 2012 at least) and she has refused to cut it out.
posted by nikaspark at 6:18 PM on October 17 [12 favorites]


occupying a seat on Walmart's board for a time,

Sorry, I must have confused Warren with someone else


Hillary Clinton, probably, with whom Warren is not often confused. Wal-Mart Board of Directors, 1986-1992.
posted by rokusan at 6:42 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


To make the focus that Warren is at fault, without taking the horrendous Trump context in fair measure, sounds to me like saying she is not good enough when compared to a bigot, a bully, and a fascist.

I understand the fraught issue with genetics, race, ethnicity, identity, and native american peoples, but i worry that this is a wedge issue promoted to divide democrats to seek the impossible perfect over the actual very good.
posted by zippy at 7:01 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


I was driving back from lunch today here in the beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia, and I found myself wondering if Mark Warner could make a go of it. He is not the most charasmatic guy in the world or the best orator, but he is very, very smart and was a good and pretty popular governor. Personally, I'd like to see him at least consider it.
posted by 4ster at 7:14 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


I don't know that "bland, not very charismatic white guy" is the right direction for the Democrats to take. But we'll see after the primaries.

I also want to say that if this misstep does prove fatal for Warren's presidential aspirations, we are still spoiled for choice when it comes to terrific women candidates. This isn't 1988 when charisma-challenged empty suit Dukakis was really, truly, the best we could do. If we don't elect a woman, there is a slate of terrific (younger than 70!) men we could run - Cory Booker, Eric Garcetti, Jeff Merkley, oh hell let Terry McAuliffe throw his hat in the ring as he's done a great (and progressive!) job as VA governor.

We don't have to settle! Though I'd vote for any of the following: 1) my eightysomething neighbor with dementia, 2) any of my cats, or 3) Joe Manchin, if it meant a Democrat (or Democat) in the White House in 2020.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:23 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


I genuinely did like Elizabeth Warren, but at the end of the day, I'm siding with the group that didn't vote 53-47 for Trump.

I basically have no faith that white women won't let me down at the polls again.

I really cannot think of a position more obviously unhealthy for the social justice left, or more obviously beneficial to Republicans, than for us to start framing issues like this as competitions to decide which demographic group is most virtuous and worthy of support.

Regardless of what your position re: Warren is, if this is the basis for it we're fucked.
posted by waffleriot at 7:25 PM on October 17 [21 favorites]


I don't think this is as politically crippling as a lot of people. I think this could very well blow over. The main thing here is that this move reveals that either she or someone who works for her doesn't understand how to engage this kind of bullshit, which is to point out that it's bullshit. That's really worrisome. Now it's something she has to argue about on Trump's terms, because she legitimized it. And in doing so, offended a Native people by using them as a weapon just as Trump does.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:32 PM on October 17 [15 favorites]


Right: to me what this shows is that Warren will try to please Republicans. That's just about the worst possible personality trait in a candidate.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:40 PM on October 17 [16 favorites]


'If it had come up "nope, you're 100% white", that would not have proved her a liar, because DNA gets mixed up and lost, and you could be descended from a Native American and through chance not have ended up with any of the DNA that's used as a marker in these sorts of tests.'

Funny thing about that... my mom told me the usual family story about having a Native ancestor (though it was Blackfoot in this case). I got into genealogy and found no evidence it was true, though I could not disprove it entirely because unfortunately there are quite a few people in my tree (mostly women) about whom I can find no information at all. But I was pretty skeptical about the story.

Then I had my DNA done -- by multiple companies, actually. And it turns out I have no DNA that the tests correlate with indigenous American ancestry. Well, OK, the "native great great great-whatever grandma" story must not be true.

And then, more recently, my mom tested her DNA. And guess what? She has enough DNA correlated with indigenous American ancestry that it is probable she had a full-blooded indigenous ancestor about 180-300 years ago (IIRC -- I'd have to log in again to check the dates given for sure). But I apparently got none of it.

So, who knows what to think. It's interesting, and that's about it. Certainly I am not Blackfoot at all and I am not a Native American in any other sense including cultural, and neither is my mom. I do think there's nothing wrong with reporting what the test said (about my mom in this case since she is the one with the correlated DNA). It does not mean that anyone is trying to appropriate Native identity any more than reporting that I have DNA correlated with Norway means that I am a citizen of Norway. (At least I can back that one up with paper genealogy, though, not just DNA!) :D

It feels to me as if terminology is part of the problem; stating that certain DNA is typically "Native American" brings up all the thorny issues of Native identity, etc. This is why I used "indigenous" above. Maybe there needs to be terminology that clearly differentiates between the DNA connected with ancient populations of the Americas and modern Native identity which is a different thing. But maybe that is clueless-white-person of me. I don't know.

I read several articles and posts by Native writers in the last few days and I was frustrated that some of the angry voices I was reading were people who misunderstood how DNA ancestry tests work (there was the one person who said that obviously the tests must be wrong because the example population used to determine which DNA is correlated with indigenous ancestry are a bunch of "pretendians" anyway, so the entire premise is false and it's all "junk science" -- this is not true), and seemed to come to misleading conclusions for that reason. However, some of the voices are Native geneticists and they know their stuff. And I am trying to listen and understand.

I dunno where I'm going here. The whole thing just makes me sad, really. But I am trying to learn.
posted by litlnemo at 7:47 PM on October 17 [14 favorites]


competitions to decide which demographic group is most virtuous and worthy of support

Based on 2016 voting results, I don't think adopting "support and vote for whoever WOC are supporting" is a bad way to go about getting a quality Dem candidate.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:21 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


Can I explain back in the day to you?

Back in the day, we did not have DNA tests. We had family stories, which may or may not have truth to them. Back in the day, if you listed yourself on a faculty page as a minority, it was a way of promoting greater awareness of people of color, and to generally combat the pernicious view that no one of note was a minority. It was a way of combating prejudice.

Warren never claimed minority status in a job interview or on her resume. She never claimed minority status to get ahead professionally, socially, politically, or in any other way. Warren never claimed any Indian descent other than through family rumor (until now, when challenged to do so by the president after years of being called a liar).

Back in the day, if a professor came forward and identified themselves as likely part American Indian, you might have thought that was cool and inspiring.
posted by xammerboy at 8:39 PM on October 17 [33 favorites]


While we are discussing potential Dem nominees, let me put John Hickenlooper into the mix. I know he has relatively little name recognition now, but "Colorado governor" will fill in for that at first. I know he got some criticism for supporting fracking early on (and drinking that water), but he also signed into law some very progressive commitments to fight climate change. His credentials are also solid on gun control, immigration, and health care.

Plus he has a terrific secret weapon for nullifying the accusations of the anti-abortion crowd, which from my experience is still the main source of Trump's evangelical support. Recall that Obama ran on finding common ground in a quest to eliminate the need for abortions as much as possible. Thoughts?
posted by TreeRooster at 8:40 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


The whole thing is a big nothingburger and Democrats have fallen for stupid infighting bullshit again. Again!

This, people, this. The question of "WHY is she doing this NOW?" is because the news cycle these days is measured in fractions of a Scaramucci. Two weeks from now no mass media outlet will be talking about this. It's a flash, now, of Democrats shooting themselves in a circular firing squad, and in two weeks something else will be dominating the news cycle. This DNA thing will feel like ancient history in four weeks, and that's why Warren did it now.
posted by zardoz at 9:02 PM on October 17 [7 favorites]


I am a fan of Elizabeth Warren who also thinks she would get absolutely stomped in a general election. I don't think that's true of every woman. I think it's true of her.

Unfortunately, she is (or was, until recently) a standard-bearer for progressive voters, and red meat for voters who think that the storyline of 2020 is going to be about America rejecting Trump.

Partisans need to be very suspicious of their own ability to take the temperature of the general electorate. Warren winning the nomination would be a disastrous assumption that America is really a bunch of pent-up Democrats who have been waiting for the true Left to rise again.
posted by argybarg at 9:15 PM on October 17 [14 favorites]


Can I explain back in the day to you?

Back in the day....


There's a lot more 'back in the day' stories related to blood quantum and Native identification. Hell, I have a personal one regarding my family's fight for trial membership based upon how it was better to be listed as Black on the census than it was to be listed as Indian and how that really, really sucks for my family as we fought for 20 or so years to get on the roll of our tribe that we had connections to. We won 10 years ago, yay! But it's also really complicated and can be shitty even within it's own members as that comment perhaps shows, that I've mentioned here before that we've faced disenrollment and been called money grubbers (spoiler: we joined the tribe before any money was even on the horizon*) by people who want to disenfranchise their own tribal members just so their paychecks can grow.

Guess what ammunition they use to argue to dis enroll folks like my family (or, worse in a way, refuse to accept new, valid membership claims from individuals that meet/exceed criteria for existing membership by saying "The roll book is closed. No.")? Yep, blood quantums and/or DNA tests or "Well, this one census has your ancestor listed as Black, despite being Native on 3 other ones" type bullshit. Even within tribes it's tricky and isn't some sort of panacea of love and joy, so, no, 'back in the day' sort of lawyering/justifications do not hold up here.

Please do not white-splain 'back in the day' as it pertains to Native race erasure and filling out fucking forms. Talking about your race and heritage, doubly so if you don't look like a fucking painting of Sitting Bull or William Weatherford or god knows which person you have ties to but no one really groks what that means on a casual basis, is hard enough without muddying the waters further by trying to justify this particular case of doubling down on a thing that many, many well educated native scholars or tribal entities have said "This is hurtful and problematic please talk to us before you double down, oh please."

The situation is fucked. She can do better. Acting like we Native peoples are somehow A) sexist assholes or B) out to re-elect Trump for pointing that out so we should C) shut the hell up with our moaning and complaining because reasons is the epitome of conceit from folks that should be allies and/or just listening.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:34 PM on October 17 [33 favorites]


*Follow up to myself that I forgot to include: The reason mom did years of genological reasearch and fact finding and pushing to get on the rolls of our tribe wasn't really the familial ties that we treasure (like Powwow, crafts, history, family and such) because we could do all those things without being "on the roll".

Nor was it about money, our tribe was dirt poor then. No benefits. It's much better now, my family gets health care benefits that are AMAZING and yearly cash benefits that are great. I'm first gen so don't, and may never, qualify, but good for my mom, aunt, uncle and pawpaw.

Mom wanted to get us on the roll for the exact box that Warren checked. The exact box that says Native. Mom thought it might help me get grants, loans, or other helpful consideration for college. She told me to check that box anywhere I saw it once our family members were on the roll. Letters of descent (since I'm not a member, I'm first gen, remember) were in hand from then out.

Do I think that Warren wanted benefits from checking that box? I have no idea. Do I doubt her family history/story? I do not, I'm the last person to do so. Do I think it was a mistake? Not even this one really, no I don't, it is a decision that was made for some reason that I can't begin to guess, but it wasn't a great one because, despite everyone saying it wasn't important or wasn't used by the form providers (uh, sure.....) it is still a potential watering down / Indian princess version of the Native peoples story here in the US.

Could she have handled the followup/present day situation better? Yep. She's either blundering or choosing not to shut up and listen, which metafilter has taught me is a bad look.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:44 PM on October 17 [23 favorites]


I like Warren. I think this was a misstep and doubly frustrating because it's an unforced error. My feeling is apologize and move on.

I am now actively wondering if this instinct is part of the reasons people feel Democrats don't fight hard enough. The first coverage of this I saw was "Trump is such a liar" (which he is, as this showed again) and now its 100% anti-Warren. Because her constituency, when push comes to shove, would rather have her treat people with respect than double down on an attack. (Yes, I know it's possible to do both, but am thinking statistically you're bound to mess up occasionally if you do lots of attacks.)

As for the coverage: In addition to the misogyny driving it, expect the media to pounce on every error made by any Democrat. Trump's shitshow makes journalists uncomfortable because they feel they are being unbalanced by having to report that he is just wrong so often. Mainstream journalists will report missteps by Democrats with a feeling of relief. I swear if Trump said the Trail of Tears was a great American moment of decisive leadership, NPR would cover it and quote offended Native Americans but add "Democrats are familiar with this sort of controversy, as Elizabeth Warren knows."
posted by mark k at 10:22 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]


Harris is a former prosecutor and used to dealing with criminal lowlifes, she's my choice among the early batch. Warren should be head of the SEC.
posted by benzenedream at 10:38 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


Just to re-center the conversation. If Donald Trump wasn't such an asshole who invented this "controversy" around a faculty demographic form, and Republicans weren't such assholes jumping on the asshole-train, this FPP wouldn't even exist.

See also: "Amplify divisions"
posted by mikelieman at 11:56 PM on October 17 [18 favorites]


Honestly I think part of the reason the left turns to eating its own is it's a winnable victory against a "side" that cares rather than more helpless yowling into the uncaring void.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:21 AM on October 18 [17 favorites]


I like Liz but the timing and style of the press release has certainly hurt her, she should have let others make the noise and stayed above the silly fray. The video tried to seem casual, the tone of the tweets defensive.

The dem alternatives are mostly in the categories of "yeah right" and "who?" So how to choose a viable Trump opponent?

Draft Amy Poehler
posted by sammyo at 5:20 AM on October 18


I’m reminded of the episode of “Finding Your Roots” where Don Cheadle talked at the beginning of the episode about how his family was part Cherokee. In the end, not only was there no genetic match for native ancestry but the show found genealogical records proving his family had been slaves of Cherokee owners. Cheadle looked doubly stricken when Henry Louis Gates told him the findings.

You should always be careful what you wish for.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 6:00 AM on October 18 [4 favorites]


She can't win, especially after this. We need a candidate who unassailable. I hope Tammy Duckworth runs, she's a patriotic veteran who gave much for this country.
posted by ambulocetus at 6:13 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


The problem is, there is no such thing as Johnny (or Jenny) Unbeatable - a candidate who truly has never made a mistake and no-one can get oppo on. That's just the way it is. Again, remember John Kerry? He was thought to be unassailable. Unfortunately, he wasn't, but I still think that he could have handled the swift-boating a lot better. It's not the oppo, it's how you handle it.

With Warren, I think she made a blunder, and many Native spokespeople are not pleased. It seems she is making it worse by doubling down instead of apologizing - not to Trump, but to the Native leaders. And I'm not letting Trump and his horrible racism and sexism off the hook! But he's going to behave that way to everyone, and that is a reality that Democratic candidates have to accept.

I think that Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand (and no, Al Franken is NOT going to hurt her campaign), and Tammy Duckworth all have great 2020 potential. A Kamala Harris/Doug Jones ticket could be very powerful (not just because Jones is a white Southern man, but because he was a civil rights lawyer who succesfully prosecuted Thomas Edwin Blanton for his role in the 1963 Birmingham Church bombing.

Criticize Warren all you want, but despair is unwarranted and fatalism is a sin. Warren was never our last, best hope for 2020.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:29 AM on October 18 [11 favorites]


RE: Hickenlooper and abortion.

You know that conservatives don't actually want to reduce abortions, right? They want to control women's bodies, and their rebranding of contraception as "abortion drugs" makes that plain. They have literally no interest in reducing abortion rates.
posted by rikschell at 6:32 AM on October 18 [12 favorites]


The best thing about Warren to me is that she seemed like a candidate the die-hard Bernie crowd might be willing to compromise on. So many folks here in Asheville did not vote for Hillary because they were mad for Bernie. We can't afford a repeat of that, but I fear Bernie's ego may get in the way one more time.
posted by rikschell at 6:37 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


She can't win, especially after this. We need a candidate who unassailable. I hope Tammy Duckworth runs, she's a patriotic veteran who gave much for this country.

There is no such thing as an unassailable candidate. You will never win by letting the opposition party vet your candidates. If Tammy Duckworth ran, national Republicans would suddenly become outraged by her record at the Illinois VA. They'd be full of shit! She's a great public servant and a worthy candidate for any office. But that's what they do.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 7:04 AM on October 18 [6 favorites]


We need a candidate who unassailable.

John Kerry got three Purple Hearts and Silver Star in Vietnam. The GOP turned that into a series of attacks so effective that it named the strategy.

There's no such thing as unassailable. They will straight-up make shit up if they need to and then use the fact that they made it up to attack, just like they did to Hillary Clinton over Benghazi.
posted by Etrigan at 7:09 AM on October 18 [43 favorites]


BungaDunga: There are actual real-life Native American people with blood quantums (which are different from DNA! you don't actually get exactly half your DNA from each parent) that are that small. And they're facing a whole news cycle (or more. Probably much more, when she runs) of powerful assholes like Graham and Trump who will be crowing about "1/10th of 1 percent!" which will cement the idea that you can measure Nativeness with a blood test.

Also BungaDunga: She checked the box for "Native" (alongside the one for "White") on a form asking for her ethnicity while at law school. This is the same box that an Actually Native person would have checked. It's not crazy to say that she "claimed to be Native". Ethnicity and ancestry are different things; if all she'd claimed was ancestry, that would be one thing, but she claimed to be ethnically Native American, which is something else.

I am an actual real-life Native person with a blood quantum slightly higher than Sen. Warren, but still not an impressive amount. But it was good enough for my tribe, which enrolls based on descent, not blood quantum.

I also check the box for Native alongside White, the same as an Actually Native person would, which I assumed I was, due to the tribal membership and our family's culture, etc.

So am I ethnically Native or not? Because your two statements up there seem kind of mutually exclusive...
posted by elsietheeel at 7:20 AM on October 18 [10 favorites]


I think I was unclear, and I apologize. I'm not saying ethnicity can be measured by blood quantum or DNA. I'm saying it can't. It feels like she's using her DNA result as a "gotcha" to retroactively justify her previous identification with Native ethnicity. But that's not what ethnicity is really about- it's about culture and more, like you say. There's no DNA test for ethnicity even though that's what some companies are selling.

I guess what I was trying to say is: you might take a DNA test, and you might get a similar result to Warren. But you're Native and she's not. It seems to me that her publication of the DNA test just doubles down on the idea that ethnicity is something that can be found in genes or blood quantum.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:50 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


On policy and substance of issues I care about I like Warren more than almost anyone else. No one is indispensable but the candidates aren't so interchangeable that ruling one out for a single gaffe is painless.

She can't win, especially after this.

If voters are individually so offended by this that they would not vote for her, that's obviously a legitimate decision process. But this is not an electorally significant gaffe though *unless* it gets amplified by people like you saying she can't win. Don't get so psyched out by the e-mail debacle that you start believing other trivia are also major scandals.

She released accurate DNA tests and talked truthfully about her family narrative, albeit in a way that revealed she's pretty clueless about Native American concerns. Honestly if she said "I'm not going to apologize for what my family is or let anyone tell me what it isn't" it would probably help in the general election, given the make up of swing voters. I'm not saying she should do that--like most Democratic voters I want my leaders to be aware of and respectful towards minorities--and the inevitable apology will hurt her a tiny bit.

And she'd be facing Trump for chrissake. "I want to vote for Trump because he's more respectful towards minorities" is not a thing said by anyone who ever had a chance of not voting for Trump.
posted by mark k at 7:55 AM on October 18 [14 favorites]


"I want to vote for Trump because he's more respectful towards minorities" is not a thing said by anyone

Oh my sweet summer ch.....

who ever had a chance of not voting for Trump.

Nevermind. *slow clap*
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:57 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Just about everything you’ve read on the Warren DNA test is wrong (Glenn Kessler, WaPo)
We are not trying to defend Warren’s decision to release the test, just to set the record straight about what the test shows. The media bungled the interpretation of the results — and then Warren’s opponents used the uninformed reporting to undermine the test results even further. We fell into this trap as well, and were too quick to send out a tweet (now deleted) that made an inaccurate comparison. We should have not relied on media reporting before tweeting.

Warren’s Native American DNA, as identified in the test, may not be large, but it’s wrong to say it’s as little as 1/1024th or that it’s less than the average European American. Three Pinocchios all around — including to our tweet.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:10 AM on October 18 [14 favorites]


The thing is fucking head caliper race science weirdness to begin with, not a lot of room for misinterpreting that.
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on October 18 [7 favorites]


Ok but who gives a fuck what they think? The assholes who believed swiftboating are the same assholes who would never vote for any Democrat.

The problem isn't the people who were never going to vote for her. The problem is the undecided voters who now are absolutely going to think, on some level, that maybe there really is something to Trump's claims.

All Warren had to do was leave this thing alone. Trump being an enormous racist asshole in front his adoring die-hard fans was not going to ever sway anyone outside of that tent. Now, though, by responding in a way that acts like Trump's claims have any legitimacy, she's opened up the question of whether maybe there's "truth on both sides". Trump's underlying thesis (beyond spouting racial slurs) has been that Warren benefited from falsely claiming she was Native American. Warren's response has been to validate that, because she's not arguing she never did that, she's arguing maybe she's actually enough Native American that it would be OK.

And I get it: you're going to say, "no no, she didn't say that". Doesn't matter. That's how it looks. That's always how this was going to look, and if Warren did not see that, she is shockingly naive.

Warren let Trump rile her into buying into his bullshit racism in a way that there was literally no way for it to ever help her. She turned an ignorable* piece of racist campaign rhetoric into something maybe that does matter to people who weren't already all-in on Trump. And now, the Trumpists know precisely how to get her to walk right into a goddamn minefield on demand.

Again, in my opinion, she's done.

* Ignorable in the sense that her campaign did not need to address it; it should not be ignored in terms of what its deployment means about how awful Trump is. He's not off the hook, but that doesn't mean she didn't fuck up royally.
posted by tocts at 9:03 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


Just for the record, California has moved its 2020 primary up to coincide with Super Tuesday. This is good news for Kamala Harris and possibly Eric Garcetti.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:16 AM on October 18 [4 favorites]


A good comparison is to look at the way Obama handled the birther thing. He pretty much laughed the whole thing off, knowing it was an entirely bad-faith effort by racists and grifters to sully his image. He certainly didn't go out of his way to appease the ratfuckers. And once a certificate of live birth was produced by officials in Hawaii and, predictably, not accepted as actual proof by the bad faith birther brigade, he basically told to go fuck themselves. That's how I wish Warren had handled this.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:17 AM on October 18 [12 favorites]


Trump's underlying thesis (beyond spouting racial slurs) has been that Warren benefited from falsely claiming she was Native American.

Sounds like Trump wins either way. He gets natives in his corner because "Warren is pretty clueless about Native American concerns", he gets to imply that she got her position falsely because of Native American privilege (like Harvard is filled with Cherokees or something like the C-suite is filled with frat guys), and he gets to make jokes daily about her being 'Pocahontas' (yes, roughly daily from jokes on social media shared by Trump supporters), and Warren doesn't even get to relate as a person with her history without having every family story vetted by independent researchers.

Nice work. And actually there was a way that Natives could have made this into a non-issue, by simply saying "Well Warren just found that she was 1/10 (or whatever) native by blood. We invite her to explore that family history in a manner accurate to Natives and will partner with her to help the rest of the US do so as well". Easy peasy.

"And once a certificate of live birth was produced by officials in Hawaii"
So.... you want someone else to prove the Warren was part Native or not? Obama provided proof. Same as Warren did.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:20 AM on October 18 [4 favorites]


And then Obama decided to show how much he definitely didn't care about the birther debate by inviting Trump to the WHCD so he could mock him in person over it and that's when Trump decided to run.

I'm not saying Obama was wrong to do that to the racist Cheeto. Trump deserved it and more. But I think we need to update our perception of the birther debate in light of current reality.
posted by asteria at 9:25 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


Warren doesn't even get to relate as a person with her history without having every family story vetted

*sigh* No one is taking away her personhood. If anyone is familiar with personhood/agency being taken away, you might want to look to the tribal entities as experts in that little realm.

And actually there was a way that Natives could have made this into a non-issue

Did you really just blame the current iteration of this shit show on "Natives"? Like, it's our fault she brought this back up, despite the protests of tribes and scholars, and forced the Cherokee representatives to either A) let her self-substantiated claims stand as some sort of way to approximate tribal ties or B) say 'Hey this isn't cool and isn't how we do things and by the way we tried to tell you about this.' which gives Trump the, pseudo but still 2018 and all that, high ground to say "Thank you to the Cherokee Nation for revealing that Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to as Pocahontas, is a complete and total Fraud!"

"And once a certificate of live birth was produced by officials in Hawaii"
So.... you want someone else to prove the Warren was part Native or not? Obama provided proof. Same as Warren did.


That'sNotHowAnyOfThisWorks.Gif

posted by RolandOfEld at 9:32 AM on October 18 [16 favorites]


and that's when Trump decided to run

This is a just-so story that I don't at all believe. trump had been planning to seriously run long before the WHCD and also this implies that Obama should have just kept his mouth shut and that if only everyone had treated trump with kid gloves instead of calling him on his bullshit it would have somehow saved us. Like he's our big mad daddy asleep in the next room and we all have to tip-toe around our own house so as not to wake him up.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:32 AM on October 18 [29 favorites]


A good comparison is to look at the way Obama handled the birther thing. He pretty much laughed the whole thing off, knowing it was an entirely bad-faith effort by racists and grifters to sully his image. He certainly didn't go out of his way to appease the ratfuckers. And once a certificate of live birth was produced by officials in Hawaii and, predictably, not accepted as actual proof by the bad faith birther brigade, he basically told to go fuck themselves. That's how I wish Warren had handled this.

Your memory is faulty. Obama handled his birth certificate directly much the same as Warren. Here you can see the official timeline from the Obama White House.

In response to Republican attacks, Obama requested a copy of his birth certificate from Hawaii and he released it to the public. After continued attacks in 2008, Obama went back to Hawaii a second time and released the "long-form" copy of his birth certificate.

So Obama didn't just laugh it off. He addressed the issue directly in response to political attacks, twice.

The lesson learned is that even with these direct responses, the attacks continued for eight years, particularly from Donald Trump. Maybe Obama's response worked for the majority of people, who knows, but it didn't eliminate all attacks.
posted by JackFlash at 10:05 AM on October 18 [15 favorites]


This whole thread shows how well we've all been conditioned to participate in the 24hr Outrage Cycle. Elizabeth Warren did the following:

1. She stood up to Trump The Bully and called him on his bullshit.
2. She participated in a very troubling practice of using genetic testing to claim some special position (even if it was just ancestry) alongside an ethnic minority (one the rest of her ancestors probably genocided, no less), from a position of white privilege.

She fucked up in #2, and Native Americans have my full support for their outrage (however large) about it, but I am not personally outraged because I could have easily made the same mistake when attempting to publicly stand up to a bully.

We all participate in fucked-up systems of oppression, and we're not going to sort that out if we pounce on every public mistake and react as if the public person punched a puppy. It's not effective, and it's participating in yet another fucked-up system: the 24hr Outrage Cycle that keeps Fox News, MSNBC, and every other bullshit organization of corporate-controlled, military-loving, hyper-nationalist media parasites in business. We can buck that system by being reasonably and proportionately angry for a second, and cooperatively instructive from then on.
posted by a_curious_koala at 10:05 AM on October 18 [19 favorites]


I think it’s about discussing what we expect from white US representatives when it comes down matters of race, and whoever portends to be on the side of the oppressed needs to show an ability to listen and learn on that count. Indigenous people have been calling on Elizabeth Warren since 2012 to sit down and learn and it appears like she is greatly missing the mark on this point. So, she is being held to account for 6 years of refusing to listen to Indigenous people asking her to change her language and actions on this specific subject. This goes back farther than the 2016 election and she needs to address this if she wants to call herself a representative and champion of POC in the US.

This is not the death of the Democratic Party or the left eating it’s own or whatever else the concern trolls want it to be. It’s sharpening our praxis and demanding that the leaders who claim to represent us actually do so.
posted by nikaspark at 10:25 AM on October 18 [14 favorites]


We all participate in fucked-up systems of oppression, and we're not going to sort that out if we pounce on every public mistake and react as if the public person punched a puppy.

We all participate in fucked-up systems of oppression, and one of the reasons that keeps happening is that whenever someone says "Hey, that thing you did is fucked up", mentioning the fuck-up (to some) is seen as a worse transgression than the original fuck-up. Any mention of anything wrong a candidate did, and it sends out a "Dems are eating their own again" signal, even if it's just people spitballing on a niche website about how a news story will effect a candidate's chances at running for president in an election that's over 2 years away. tbh, I think that what hurts lefties the most is that they'd rather deny that something is a fuck-up rather then admit it, do something about it, and move forward.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:40 AM on October 18 [10 favorites]


1. She stood up to Trump The Bully and called him on his bullshit.

She did not do this. She gave the bully her lunch money. She should have told him to fuck off like AOC did Ben Shapiro, or even better simply not address it while having surrogates say "who cares?"
posted by bookman117 at 10:41 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


We can buck that system by being reasonably and proportionately angry for a second, and cooperatively instructive from then on.

As a general rule-of-thumb I follow which has worked pretty well for me in the past, "Don't tell people under one particular boot of society or another that they're being too angry and that focusing on the real issues is more important" is a pretty good one.
posted by CrystalDave at 10:51 AM on October 18 [8 favorites]


What I've been objecting to as misogynistic here is not the criticism from Cherokee and other native groups, but the need to draw a conclusion from those criticisms that Warren is weak, stupid, a dupe, or all of the above.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:51 AM on October 18 [19 favorites]


Yeah, that’s a good callout prize bull octorok, it’s important for white folks to focus on the behavior and actions and offer critique on where Sen. Warren went wrong and why it matters and how to better engage moving forward and resist the urge to use judgmentmental shorthand words that may be coming from not only a place of unexamined misogyny but are potentially carrying ableist baggage as well.
posted by nikaspark at 11:11 AM on October 18 [5 favorites]


What I've been objecting to as misogynistic here is not the criticism from Cherokee and other native groups, but the need to draw a conclusion from those criticisms that Warren is weak, stupid, a dupe, or all of the above.

Playing right into right wing smears in the year 2018 sure was all of the above.
posted by bookman117 at 11:21 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


I live in Mass and have long been a Warren fan.

I literally facepalmed when I first read her tweet about this DNA test. I am far from anything that might be considered a political genius, but without reading *anything else* from *anyone else* I immediately thought, "this is not going to go the way she thinks." And what I take away from this is, how, HOW the fuck did this get past her PR team? HOW did anyone think the content of the release of this information, the timing of it, the mere existence of it, was a good idea? HOW? FIRE ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE AND DON'T LET THEM RUN ANYTHING ELSE IN ANY CAMPAIGN YOU DO EVER.

I don't think I know anyone who claims Native citizenship, but even my barely-woke-white-woman ass has read enough Native Twitter to know that this was a horrible, horrible way to frame the conversation, even IF the conversation was worth having, which I think is an extremely debatable point.

I like her a lot, I'm proud she's my senator, but this just seemed like a ridiculously egregious misstep and so, so poorly played on every possible front that I seriously question her/her campaign's judgment and the ability to engage successfully with the Trump campaign in 2020. If she's that willing to wrestle with the pig now, can you imagine a national campaign? Oh my god, what a ... mudbath. I don't want to watch that.
posted by olinerd at 11:38 AM on October 18 [14 favorites]


We need a candidate who unassailable

We need to be thinking in a manner exactly opposite to this. We need someone who's core progressive ideas resonate with the majority of Americans and can communicate that in a charismatic way. We need someone who is tough but knows that sometimes toughness means ignoring your opponents instead of falling into their traps. We often forgive people their mistakes if we still believe in their character. But we vote for people who move us.
posted by gwint at 12:58 PM on October 18 [15 favorites]


As a general rule-of-thumb I follow which has worked pretty well for me in the past, "Don't tell people under one particular boot of society or another that they're being too angry and that focusing on the real issues is more important" is a pretty good one.

Correct, which is why I said this earlier in the same statement:

She fucked up in #2, and Native Americans have my full support for their outrage (however large) about it, but I am not personally outraged because I could have easily made the same mistake when attempting to publicly stand up to a bully.

Native American anger (however large) here is a proportional response to yet more fucking bullshit from white people. I object to what I perceive to be disproportionate anger from non-Native (and for the purposes of my argument) white people. That kind of anger is participation in the Outrage Cycle, and I'm identifying that as unhelpful.

I would go further and say that disproportionate white anger in situations like these is unhelpful in two other ways:

1. It cruelly mimics Native American anger in an attempt to associate with the oppressed, when in fact whites are (systemically) the oppressor group. We should be supporting their anger, giving them more room to express their anger, not creating noise with our own (disproportionate) outrage. This kind of anger from white people is an example of the same exact thing that people are angry at Warren for doing-- i.e. claiming some special association with Native Americans as an oppressed group, when that special association doesn't exist (in the majority of cases). This stance reaches its absurd endpoint when whites feel entitled to question or chastise oppressed populations for not being angry enough, or informed enough. The white person transmutes themselves in their imagination as a stand-in for the oppressed, fully denying their whiteness. That's not what's happening here, but that's where the road leads.

2. It passes the buck as somebody else's problem to fix. Warren's fuckup represents a problem for white people to fix. If you're a white person and you're angry for longer than an hour before you're trying to figure out how to collaboratively do better, you're just passing the buck.

The equation that seems to drive the counterargument is "if you're not outraged, you don't care enough". Or perhaps "civility is a dog whistle for complicity". Neither of those applies to what I'm saying. I'm saying a proportionate amount of anger from white people while supporting the anger from oppressed groups, followed quickly by attempts to collaboratively strategize how to address the problem will be much more effective than whites simply feeding an outrage machine to prove they're on the right team.
posted by a_curious_koala at 1:04 PM on October 18 [8 favorites]




"right as the 2020 race is getting ready to start"? Trump registered his campaign committee on Jan 21 2017! The 2020 race has been going for almost 2 years already.
posted by Megafly at 2:24 PM on October 18


hahahaha, I said what I said. If you want to use the date that Trump registered his campaign committee as the start of the 2020 race, you do you, but Democrats aren't campaigning or really saying that they're officially running yet, just a bunch of hypotheticals and speculation.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:30 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed. Being frustrated with other members' arguments is one thing and totally understandable; declaring fellow MeFites to be crypto-alt-righter fake Democrats etc is another entirely and is not something to just toss into a thread. Talk to the mod team directly if you need to address something like that, don't do it here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:04 PM on October 18 [11 favorites]


In all seriousness, who else is unsurprised that a white woman raised in mid-20th century Oklahoma wouldn’t understand Native American issues around race and ethnicity? The fact that she screwed this up is wholly unsurprising, starting with the first maxim that you never, ever engage a fascist on their terms.

I honestly don’t know what the right thing to do at this point. But I really, really wish the Democratic Party would stop trying to promote a primarily white gerontocracy to their constituency.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 5:55 PM on October 18 [4 favorites]


RolandOfEld,

Mom wanted to get us on the roll for the exact box that Warren checked. The exact box that says Native. Mom thought it might help me get grants, loans, or other helpful consideration for college.

I think what we have here is misunderstanding of the facts. Warren never checked any box indicating she was Native American. When she applied to college, she checked a box stating she did not want to apply as a minority student. When she worked for Texas University, she checked a box indicating she was white. She never checked any other boxes, because she did not apply for her other positions. She was recruited.

What Warren did do, while a professor at U. Penn, was list herself on a school directory as a minority teacher. The question is whether or not the hiring faculty at Harvard were aware of that listing, and, if so, whether it influenced their decision to hire her. After hundred of hours of investigations and interviews of the 31 staff who could have been responsible for her hiring, all them said her minority status never came up except for one, who said he doesn't remember, but he's sure if it did it wasn't taken into consideration.

Should she have listed herself on the school directory as a minority student? In retrospect, no. But it's highly doubtful that she did this as part of a master plan to trick Harvard into hiring her as a minority teacher. She had no idea they were aware of the listing, which was for U. Penn students and staff, not hiring managers at other schools. In her life, up until the test, she never claimed her heritage was anything but rumor, and never claimed any ancestral identity.


Please do not white-splain 'back in the day' as it pertains to Native race erasure and filling out fucking forms.

What I get from this is that you're angry your family has had to work so hard to prove their Native American identity, and that it pisses you off that someone like Warren might casually identify herself that way, even in just a listing, and possibly (though it's been exhaustively shown otherwise) have benefited. I don't know if this helps, but that's not how I'm reading Warren's story.

What I'm reading, albeit as white man, is the story of someone who strongly suspected she was part American Indian because of her family's oral history, but wasn't sure how to embrace it. It didn't feel right to her get ahead in any way because of it, but it probably also didn't feel right to hide or ignore it. To me, it sounds like she was trying to walk that line as best she could. Frankly, from what I can tell she was doing a pretty good job of it. It's been Trump and the press that have twisted her story into some kind of scheme. Finally, it's not just me, or white men, saying this. Some tribal authorities have expressed the same opinion.
posted by xammerboy at 6:29 PM on October 18 [13 favorites]


I dunno, when you said "Back in the day, if a professor came forward and identified themselves as likely part American Indian, you might have thought that was cool and inspiring." who was the "you" in that last sentence? Was it a white you? Was it a Native American you? Was it some other POC you? I can see how white folks back in the day might have thought that was cool and inspiring, but I can also see how Native Americans back in the day might not find it cool or inspiring at all to have a white lady identify as part Native American when she is so cut off from her Native American ancestry that she couldn't even tell you exactly which ancestor was Native American. That last bit seemed kinda whitesplainy to me.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:53 PM on October 18 [6 favorites]


But it's highly doubtful that she did this as part of a master plan to trick Harvard into hiring her as a minority teacher.

Right, which I never said was her intent, in fact I said I could understand a mistaken checkbox or listing or whatever you may call it, it's her current actions that are the real problematic thing at hand. But... as you say,

In her life, up until the test, she never claimed her heritage was anything but rumor, and never claimed any ancestral identity.

and

is the story of someone who strongly suspected she was part American Indian because of her family's oral history,

Is the other weird part of all this. Consistency is key when it come to this sort of 'checking the box' thing. If it's just checking it here but not there, it confuses the matter and makes it worse for native individuals who check or in the past were forced to check, even if it meant forfeiture of land or having their children taken or maybe even death marches, that box all the time. That's a big part of the reason why I came down hard on your attempt to chalk up the whole "She's listing herself as minority teacher and thus did them a favor. It's cool you see!" whitesplaining-in-the-modern-age angle. It isn't cool because it muddies the waters and makes it actively, literally harder for people, and experts and elders have said this better than I am here, to identify as native when there's this Schrödinger's identity type of thing going on. You either are native, or you aren't, that's the nature of checkboxes or typography on staff directories, Cherokee Princesses 6 generations ago or not. Sure you can have the genes but the genes, for most tribes, are an aside and they get to set their own rules regarding membership, blood quantum and it's problematic imperialistic connotations and forced-upon-us-matter-of-necessity aspects notwithstanding, because it's really, really complicated.

She appears to have ran with the middle of the road/both ways thing, intentionally or not, and is now attempting to explain it in a hamfisted way that does not align with honoring tribes and their sovereignty.

it pisses you off that someone like Warren might casually identify herself that way, even in just a listing, and possibly (though it's been exhaustively shown otherwise) have benefited. I don't know if this helps, but that's not how I'm reading Warren's story.

I could give a shit less if she benefited mostly because I think that aspect of it may well be true that she didn't directly benefit or that she maybe didn't intend to. But, as I said above, it is yet another aspect that serves to muddy the waters of natives existing and attempting to co-exist in the modern world. Doubly so at this point since she's doubling down on it. Doubling down on it for reasons that I can't help but assume are political timing or campaign justifications which some people say are for a greater cause because wouldn't it be great if she was elected. Well sure, I don't even argue with that. It's just a shame that it has to be in the face of, instead of alongside, honoring tribal respect and identity.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:17 AM on October 19 [4 favorites]


So as not to abuse the edit window:

I shouldn't have said She appears to have ran with the middle of the road/both ways thing.

That's unfair of me. She could have simply made, what is now in retrospect, a bad decision or a mistake. I certainly cede that as a real possibility. But her actions on that issue now, and my take on them, stand.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:24 AM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Finally, before I step away for a bit, I want to drill down to a specific two word phrase I saw used above to describe her actions here: casually identify

It instantly made me flash back to Chris Rock's HBO skit on racism, I won't quote it at length here here because, well, language and I'd be butchering it. It begins with a hugely appropriate focus on how Native Americans have it the worst, well because,

And the Indians ain't yelling shit, cuz they dead.

And then goes back into another great line about how white [racist] people are pissed off and keep saying "We're losing the country!" by rebutting with

White people ain't losing shit. If White people are losing, who's winning!?

And ends with the well known line about being black in America

There ain't a white man in this room that would change places with me, none of you..... and I'm rich!

Which brings me back to 'casually identify' as used here. There may come a day when folks, tribal members or not, can casually identify as something that's not white but to attempt to chalk up any sort of casual action in the present that we live in as 'identifying' is well and truly fucked. Imagine if Warren, not that she did and not that it's a perfect comparison, had been listed as "African-American Professor" because of a similar level of genetic, that we can now see but was impossible to monitor a few decades ago, or cultural immersion/ties.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:43 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


We need a candidate who unassailable

No. No more defense. We need a candidate who can fucking assail.
posted by rokusan at 3:26 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Because I am a conspiracy-minded crazy person who trusts nobody, and especially nobody orange, it occurs to me that this is all a very convenient topic that helped introduce the idea of "percentage bloodedness" into the political discourse in a relatively innocuous way.

I cant help but wonder if that is paving the road for something more sinister.
posted by rokusan at 3:28 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


I can't believe in the year 2018 I am reading a conversation on metafilter where so many people are forthrightly suggesting that one white woman's political career is more important than an entire group of people. Despite all the whitesplaining back and forth above, there's a pretty strong consensus between Native Americans that this whole thing has been really shitty and what Warren did is harmful to Native Americans. To suggest otherwise is like saying that scientists have a disagreement about climate change. They might disagree in what ways or what magnitude, but there's a preponderance of agreement. Spending an entire conversation centering her and speculations about how it will impact her career while simultaneously erasing Native voices? You've already answered your question. It won't impact her career at all because Native voices don't matter.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:49 PM on October 19 [10 favorites]


And to the extent that it does hurt her career because white liberals are pissed, other liberals come in and say that we're eating our own and playing purity politics, and we should stop being so mad about it because that's what Trump wants us to do, or something? I don't see why Warren must be protected against criticism like this.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:06 PM on October 19


The Elizabeth Warren Fiasco Is Causing Hell for Native American Voters - Nick Martin, Splinter News
There are many reasons why what Warren did was so wrong, as I wrote about earlier this week. But one of them is that she’s opened the door to attacks like these for the next two years. And I’m not saying that out of a place of empathy for Warren’s 2020 campaign.

I’m saying that because every single time one of these people gets on stage (or goes to Disneyland) and cracks her down a few notches, Native Americans are there, falling even faster as the room fills with the cacophony of drunken laughter and quick glances to ensure no would-be offended Natives are present.

The real issues facing our people—patchwork healthcare systems, sexual and domestic abuse, K-12 graduation rates, general representation in media and government—are now to be shuffled off to the side, in favor of whatever the next best burn from some wealthy politician or pundit can come up with, all because Warren didn’t know how to just tune Trump out and shut the hell up.

We have time and again been made the butt of the typically cruel jokes Americans like to make, and this time, I fear, we won’t be able to shake it.
Line breaks added.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:32 PM on October 19 [6 favorites]


Probable need a different thread on Hickenlooper, rikschell but...

They want to control women's bodies, and their rebranding of contraception as "abortion drugs" makes that plain. They have literally no interest in reducing abortion rates.

I strongly suspect this kind of hypocrisy whenever certain conservatives fight back against contraception. However, I think there are independents out there, centrists or just free-thinking conservative/libertarian types who actually get excited about the prospect of seeing abortion fade to rarity due to unwanted pregnancy prevention. First there are those who still have qualms, especially when pain is involved. Second there are those who would like to see a wedge issue lose its sharp edge. Specifically it becomes hard to debate any humanitarian or ethical issue when the response is always "we can't trust anything from a baby-killer." I don't doubt that the ones saying such things are likely to never listen anyway--but if the person on the other side of that debate can answer from a solid foundation of proven action then the audience on the fence might see more clearly. Hence Hickenlooper.
posted by TreeRooster at 8:37 AM on October 20


Hi. I'm a native Okie and a Native. Cherokee, in fact. Have my blue card and everything, tho genetically and presentationally I am far more white. And this entire discussion has been a non-stop face palm for me.

Native Americans are not a monolithic "thing." They're also not "Cherokee princesses" or "noble savages" or "drunks on the rez." Politically Natives are all over the place, from the strident leftists of Alcatraz and Wounded Knee to the suit-wearing right-wingers running the casino-rich tribes of Oklahoma.

Native Americans are people. Human beings. They're genetic material, but when you reduce it to genes you start talking about being Native like you have hazel eyes or can roll your tongue. You're not talking about forced marches, broken treaties, massacres, sexual abuse, sterilization, economic underdevelopment, cultural destruction in residential schools... all stuff one could consider genocide.

That Warren sank to this sort of conversation, like she carries a gene or three and this shows her ancestry, is reprehensible and exemplifies she has no idea what being a Native in America is, no more than Trump does. This is white people arguing with white people about people of color as if they, the white folk, have final determination on the humanity of people of color. Again.

Will I vote for Elizabeth Warren if she's the nominee? Yes, because this is not a zero-sum game. Were she to win you better damn sure know I'm going to ride her ass about Native affairs. Will I caucus for her? Probably not. But we will see. Regardless, framing this as a win-loss between Warren and Trump and turning this into a conversation about who the nominee could or should be is callous and clueless towards the First Nations that were and still are here right now and haven't gone anywhere.
posted by dw at 1:52 PM on October 20 [16 favorites]


I waited a while to reply, because I wanted to think over everything that's been said.

That last bit seemed kinda whitesplainy to me.

I'm definitely guilty of whitesplaining. I'm a white guy, who's literally explaining to American Indians members how they should feel about Warren's listing herself as a minority. It probably doesn't get any more whitesplainy than that. My intention was to point out that when Warren listed herself as a minority, this was a common way of combating prejudice.

I also have to admit that I don't understand what Warren's actions signify to American Indians or how they affect them. It's obviously a lot more complex and more significant than I thought. There are Indian Chiefs who have supported Warren, but I have no idea what the proportion of supporters to non-supporters is.

Anyway, if anyone is going to try and make amends I would think it would be Warren, who respects Tribal authority and has worked with them to resolve issues in the past. I sincerely hope it can be worked through without tanking her career or possible presidential candidacy. I think everyone would be losers in that regard.
posted by xammerboy at 8:31 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


My intention was to point out that when Warren listed herself as a minority, this was a common way of combating prejudice.

And like I already said before and will now say again, "a white lady identifying as a minority when she is so cut off from her one POC ancestor that she doesn't even know which ancestor was POC" probably seems like combating prejudice to white people, but not to other people. I'm not white, and it doesn't seem at all like combating prejudice to me, it seems like adding to it.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:52 AM on October 21 [6 favorites]


Lots of really White looking Americans do have a little bit of Native ancestry. Acknowledging it is problematic if you don’t even have a tribe. I think at one time it was more ‘ok’ to acknowledge Native ancestry. Now it is not, especially if you can’t say what tribe they were or who they were. The Whiter you look, the less ok it is.
There is some record of Native ancestry in my family. I know the tribe, (Anishanabe) and how the Native people became part of the family. I think it’s just smarter not to talk about it. Especially it’s a bad idea if you are in politics.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:31 PM on October 24


Her Native ancestor could be from her father's side.

I imagine they were looking at mitochondrial DNA to determine her mother's ancestry, so no it couldn't be on her father's side.
posted by floam at 12:46 PM on October 26


I imagine they were looking at mitochondrial DNA to determine her mother's ancestry, so no it couldn't be on her father's side.

FWIW these tests would include your nuclear DNA and ancestry would be calculated based mostly or even exclusively on reads from that, depending on how it was approached.
posted by mark k at 7:26 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm totally wrong - I guess I was thinking about how one would go about determining haplotypes. That's not at all what they were doing, they would have been looking for large chromosomal segments that statistically match the references they use for Native American ancestry, or doing a global analysis for any matching markers across the chromosomes. Across the chromosomes. Duh. Sorry.
posted by floam at 4:49 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


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