Scott Brown Staffers and Supporters Engage in Racist Mocking of Elizabeth Warren’s Native American Heritage

The Not Ready for Diversity players. Hateful, icky, and ignorant. What’s Cherokee for asshole?

__________

Regarding her heritage, Elizabeth Warren recently said this:

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.

Her response to Scott Brown’s slur recalls for me a stanza from James Fenton’s poem, “Jerusalem”:

It is superb in the air.
Suffering is everywhere
And each man wears his suffering like a skin.
My history is proud.
Mine is not allowed.
This is the cistern where all wars begin.
The laughter from the armoured car.
This is the man who won’t believe you’re what you are.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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24 Responses to Scott Brown Staffers and Supporters Engage in Racist Mocking of Elizabeth Warren’s Native American Heritage

  1. Staffan says:

    Call me racist if you like, but I just find blonde Cherokees sad and funny at the same time. I’d have more respect for her if she claimed to be of European heritage and proud of it. But it seems like every white liberal dreams of being ethnic and feel ashamed of their real ancestry. The woman is pathetic and deserves to be ridiculed.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I hope that you are not seriously suggesting that a person with blonde hair cannot have some Cherokee ancestors in her background and yet look predominantly white. As I’m sure you know, evolutionary biologists do not posit the melting of male and female genetic material into a child, but instead posit that you inherit half of your genes from one parent and half from the other. That means that a trait like hair color could be an expression of a European parent and a hint of, say, high cheekbone, could be a trait going back to a great grandmother who was half-Cherokee. And please recall that a grandparent or great-grandparent brings to the mix an ever decreasing expression in offspring (1/4 and 1/8, etc.). What genes are actually expressed, in other words, are up for grabs and make for human variation.

      It’s not reasonable, therefore, to say that Warren is obviously European. To the contrary, she has people in her own immediate family who were quite certain that non-Europeans were in her family line and told her so.

      –Santi

      • Staffan says:

        No she may have some Cherokee ancestry although bear in mind that blondness is a recessive trait. But the thing that people are talking about is that she has listed herself as minority in a directory of law professors – actually claiming to be a Cherokee. And she hasn’t produced a shred of evidence of even having a single Cherokee blod in her body. That’s what’s makes her pathetic, and most likely that’s what the mockery is about.

        I mean, have you ever seen an openly racist display against native american indians like that ever? The rarity alone should have made you suspicious, but instead you jumped at the opportunity to brand these guys as racists. You speak of Herderian Tea Partyists but here you are demonizing your favorite outgroup with an argument that can’t stand any form of scrutiny. You may pretend to be above their tribalism but if you were I doubt you would have written this post.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        Staffan,

        If someone self-identified as being part Native American to you, would you make an issue of it? Wouldn’t you just let the person declare her presumed heritage and leave it alone? It’s bad manners to do otherwise.

        But what this is about is Scott Brown playing the race card and stoking white male resentment toward affirmative action and college educated women. By the display in the video, it’s obviously worked. He elicited exactly the type of racist contempt for Native Americans and disrespect for college educated women that you would expect. I suppose he thinks blue collar white males will bring into the polling booth a similar resentment in November. It’s an ugly and desperate Hail Mary pass, something one does when trailing in the polls. It says something about Brown’s (lack of) character that he would play these cards.

        –Santi

  2. KH says:

    Elizabeth Warren was proven by a genealogist to be 1/32 Cherokee. Exactly as Cherokee as the current Chief of the Cherokee nation.
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439×2483853

  3. Staffan says:

    It’s not bad manners to make an issue about Warren passing herself off as a minority. She has no connection to Cherokee culture but she has been used as an example of diversity by her employer Harvard Law School by listing herself as minority. If you like affirmative action then you shouldn’t like Warren because she is using this false claim to justify the lack of diversity at Harvard Law School. The link supplied above that you found useful is old and no longer useful since the New England Historical Genealogical Society has recanted saying they have no evidence.

    And how about the racist allegation now that it is pretty clear they are mocking her false pretenses rather than anyone’s ethnicity? Like I said before, have you ever seem a similar racist demonstration against native american indians? Not only did you jump to a highly unlikely conclusion, now you’re sticking to it even when you have the full story. Spinning it like Brown played the race card? There is no race card since Warren is pale as a sheet and has no connection to the Cherokee community whatsoever.

    I’ll leave you with a quote from a member of that community, Twila Barnes, addressing Warren,

    “You have claimed something you had no right to claim — our history and our heritage and our identity. Those things belong to us, and us alone. These are not things we choose to embrace when they benefit us and then cast aside when we no longer need them, but that is what you seem to have done by “checking a box” for several years and then no longer “checking” it more recently, when apparently you no longer needed it.”

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Staffan,

      You’ve offered no reason to doubt her family’s oral history other than to say, “Look at her!”

      And here’s the truth: in Ron Susskind’s highly praised book on Wall Street over the past couple of years titled “Confidence Men,” Elizabeth Warren, long before she was running for Senate, was perceived as a serious expert threat to monied interests, coming up with such ideas as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and so is one of the heroes of the book. (I read the book over the summer and didn’t even know who Warren was at the time.) Bankers lobbied the Obama administration hard to keep her reforming expertise away from the centers of power, and Obama (unfortunately) relented.

      Scott Brown, of course, is in the pocket of these monied interests.

      If Warren is elected, however, she will bring her good government ideas to Washington and be a forceful intellectual voice. She won’t be beholden to anyone. That’s what is being lost in the blue pipe smoke: Brown’s record as a “tool” and Warren’s promise that she won’t be one.

      This is a reason, by the way, that I hope Obama wins reelection. For four years, he’ll have a chance to stand up to some of the worst ways of Washington without having to run for anything. He’ll be the middle class’s advocate in making a grand budget bargain with congress in 2013. He’ll have a chance to fulfill his promise and put forward a couple of good supreme court nominations. He’ll get us out of Afghanistan and at least tap the brakes on war with Iran. Warren will be one of his allies (if she wins).

      Thus Massachusetts voters have a chance of making history by voting for her. I think by election day, they’ll see that and she’ll win by a pretty big margin.

      –Santi

  4. mhasegawa says:

    The academic hiring process always involves face to face meetings with various faculty members and even students so both Harvard and Penn knew what she looked like. There is no evidence that Harvard “exploited” how ever she self-identified except to take people who, in Scott Brown’s words “checked the box(es)” and put them on a list.

    As a Massachusetts voter and Warren volunteer, I view Brown and his staff’s antics and trying to divert attention from the fact that he has no real answers to how he voted. The worst thing is that as a taxpayer I am paying for his Senate staffers who did this.

    • Staffan says:

      They clearly benefitted from her alleged minority status since they used her as evidence of diversity. The fact that they knew what she looked like and still used her to display diversity does not give them any credit.

      But more importantly Warren made false claims about her identity. It seems likely that both she and Harvard Law School benefitted from this. The only losers are the Cherokee community and the voters who actually believe her. Shouting “racist” at anyone mocking her false claims of being a native american indian is illogical and won’t change that.

  5. Staffan says:

    The reason to doubt her would be that the New England Historic Genealogical Society has found nothing to substantiate her claim and Warren herself has not produced any evidence to back it up either – a simple DNA test would probably have sufficed. If she doesn’t have genetic evidence or some evidence of a cultural connection, what reason do we have to believe that she is in any way a minority – because she says so?

    And then you go on stating what you call “the truth” about what a great gal Warren is. That may or may not be the case, but it’s clearly off topic. You just called people racist and defended someone who made unsubstantiated claims about her identity and you have nothing to back it up with. I can see the need for a diversion but wouldn’t it be more honest to admit that you were wrong?

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Ah, the evidence of racism is in Scott Brown’s refusal to drop the ridiculous subject and in the above video.

      Imagine someone at work going on about this. Wouldn’t you and your coworkers conclude that you’re obviously working with a racist if they went on and on about this and participated in a demonstration like the one above?

      Elizabeth Warren will fight for the middle class. Read Susskind’s book to see how badly monied interests wanted her to stay away from being the chair of one of Obama’s reform bureaus. It’s an impressive recommendation of her to the Senate, in my view. The people who don’t want her there are the very people who are undermining our democracy, and Scott Brown is one of their tools. Warren won’t be.

      –Santi

  6. Staffan says:

    The evidence of racism would have be in the form of actual racism, in this case against the Cherokee. But that’s not what it’s about – they are making fun of Warren because she is claiming to be Cherokee without any evidence whatsoever. They are not directing their protest against the Cherokee Nation.

    To not drop the issue is possibly a flaw depending on you viewpoint but in no way can it be racist. I’d think the fact that she makes these claims about her identity is a big thing. She could of course resolve this issue herself by producing evidence or admitting that she was wrong. But she isn’t doing that.

    As I showed above, members of the Cherokee community are also critical of her claims, are they by the same logic also racists, and against what group would their racism be directed?

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Your defense here is becoming a bit funny now because you’re suggesting that what we’re witnessing in the video above is outrage at racism, not racism itself. But based on her family’s oral history, Warren is part Cherokee.

      And the Prinicpal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, concerning the video, said the following yesterday (according to Think Progress):

      “The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse,” said Chief Bill John Baker in his statement, “The use of stereotypical ‘war whoop chants’ and ‘tomahawk chops’ are offensive and downright racist.”
      Baker called on Brown to “apologize for the offensive actions of his staff and their uneducated, unenlightened and racist portrayal of native peoples,” and said, “A campaign that would allow and condone such offensive and racist behavior must be called to task for their actions.”

      Of course, Baker, not having a Native American name and being only part Cherokee himself, is not really part of the Cherokee family, right?

      If the above video is not racist, I eagerly await Scott Brown’s use of it in his future television ads.

      The lesson of this incident, in my view, is to let people self-identify as they see fit and leave it at that. It’s not civil to call into question or disrupt the way people link to their past. Scott Brown’s intrusiveness on Warren’s personal family narrative in this manner feels akin to Mormons that symbolically baptize dead Jewish victims of the Holocaust into the Mormon religion. It’s just not right to intrude on other people’s narrative autonomy in a way that takes it over. I go back to the last line of the Jerusalem poem above, “This is the man who won’t believe you’re what you are.” In a multicultural world, it breaks the bond of civility.

      –Santi

  7. Staffan says:

    “Your defense here is becoming a bit funny now because you’re suggesting that what we’re witnessing in the video above is outrage at racism, not racism itself. But based on her family’s oral history, Warren is part Cherokee.”

    No, it’s an outrage against Warren’s misrepresentation of herself and the fact that it has been used by her employer to ward of criticism of lack of diversity. The tomahawks and chants were a mistake since it can easily be mistaken for racism by those who don’t consider what the protest is about and who it is directed at – a white woman pretending to be a minority.

    “Of course, Baker, not having a Native American name and being only part Cherokee himself, is not really part of the Cherokee family, right?”

    Jim Baker is the Chief of the Cherokee Nation but it’s obvious that loads of Cherokees disagree with him and are upset. So clearly he is not speaking for all, judging by the voices on the internet he is probably not even speaking for the majority.

    “If the above video is not racist, I eagerly await Scott Brown’s use of it in his future television ads.”

    Is that the test of what is racist? The public reaction, their gut feeling? That is if not a fascist way of thinking at least anti-intellectualism.

    “The lesson of this incident, in my view, is to let people self-identify as they see fit and leave it at that. It’s not civil to call into question or disrupt the way people link to their past. Scott Brown’s intrusiveness on Warren’s personal family narrative in this manner feels akin to Mormons that symbolically baptize dead Jewish victims of the Holocaust into the Mormon religion.”

    If we let people self-identify as they please then anyone can claim to be anything and use this identity in their favor. Warren and others can then enjoy the benefits that were supposed to go to the minorities in question. Already privileged groups can assume the minorities identities in order to enjoy benefits that were supposed to help groups that are struggling – just like how Warren was used an example of diversity. Maybe you had dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather that could have been a little black? Would that an a little family lore make it ok for you to list yourself as a black person in your workplace? And would you gladly tell black people at your workplace that you’re a brother? No way in hell because that would be misrepresenting yourself and it would be offensive to black people.

    The similarity between Brown’s attitude to Warren and that of Mormon’s baptizing dead Jews doesn’t make sense. Brown is setting the record straight while the Mormons are falsifying it. That’s they very opposite.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Well, Brown is not winning this, obviously. It’s coming across to most people the wrong way. By election night, he’ll wish he hadn’t brought it up. I’m sure he already does.

      As to being black, of course we all trace our roots to the East African San people (who share the most genetic markers with the rest of the human family), and so the whole human family are brothers and sisters at most 100,000 years removed (a mere eye-wink in our 13.7 billion year old universe).

      Part of the reason employment and census data ever sought out information on ethnic and self-identification was to make what was long invisible visible. It’s very, very American to have an oral history linking some grandparent or great-grand parent to this or that Ur-American tribe (whether that tribe was native American, a European going back to colonial days, an African American brought here against her will, an immigrant that saw the Statue of Liberty by boat, a person who came over the Rio Grande, a survivor of a perilous voyage by boat from Vietnam or Cuba, someone isolated at Manzanar in California for the duration of WWII, etc.). There’s a reason Mormons obsess over lineages, why Thomas Jefferson’s black descendants matter, why fundamentalists don’t like evolution. Some people want to make aspects of the past invisible and others do not.

      And here’s why Scott Brown is uncivil and unkind. To ask Elizabeth Warren to shut up about her own family’s oral history amounts to silencing that part of her that traces to a Cherokee ancestor. It is a return to invisibility of something that has always been there for her (just as a common San ancestor is in all of us).

      A spectre haunts this Senate campaign–the spectre of a Cherokee ancestor that was remembered and loved and functioned as the source for an orally transmitted memory. She or he represents the ghosts that haunt us, and the people and their families that link to them. It is, therefore, wrong to say, “No, some ghosts are to stay in the closet.” This is all about closeting and shaming. Insisting that Warren must self-identify as pure European in ancestry is crass and, yes, racist. It is also tone deaf to how Americans link to their diverse and contingent pasts and then bring those identities back into the larger American and human identity.

      And, yes, the black man is my brother. As Tolstoy wrote, “All men are brothers.”

      –Santi

  8. Staffan says:

    “Well, Brown is not winning this, obviously. It’s coming across to most people the wrong way. By election night, he’ll wish he hadn’t brought it up. I’m sure he already does.”

    And how you come across is what matters? No, we don’t vote on whether something is true or not. At least I don’t, and I was, perhaps naively, assuming that you weren’t either.

    “As to being black, of course we all trace our roots to the East African San people (who share the most genetic markers with the rest of the human family), and so the whole human family are brothers and sisters at most 100,000 years removed (a mere eye-wink in our 13.7 billion year old universe).”

    This is off topic and nothing that contradicts what I’ve said here.

    “Part of the reason employment and census data ever sought out information on ethnic and self-identification was to make what was long invisible visible. It’s very, very American to have an oral history linking some grandparent or great-grand parent to this or that Ur-American tribe (whether that tribe was native American, a European going back to colonial days, an African American brought here against her will, an immigrant that saw the Statue of Liberty by boat, a person who came over the Rio Grande, a survivor of a perilous voyage by boat from Vietnam or Cuba, someone isolated at Manzanar in California for the duration of WWII, etc.). There’s a reason Mormons obsess over lineages, why Thomas Jefferson’s black descendants matter, why fundamentalists don’t like evolution. Some people want to make aspects of the past invisible and others do not.”

    This may be an American tradition but family lore is not a good basis for finding the truth. Warren is an example of this fallacy rather than the example of diversity she has been used as. She did not make the past visible, she made a story of it and that story is to date completely unsubstantiated.

    “And here’s why Scott Brown is uncivil and unkind. To ask Elizabeth Warren to shut up about her own family’s oral history amounts to silencing that part of her that traces to a Cherokee ancestor. It is a return to invisibility of something that has always been there for her (just as a common San ancestor is in all of us).”

    It’s not there for her if it is made up! Telling someone to put up or shut up may be uncivil but it’s no less uncivil to make stuff up. At the end of the day this is about the truth.

    “A spectre haunts this Senate campaign–the spectre of a Cherokee ancestor that was remembered and loved and functioned as the source for an orally transmitted memory. She or he represents the ghosts that haunt us, and the people and their families that link to them. It is, therefore, wrong to say, “No, some ghosts are to stay in the closet.” This is all about closeting and shaming. Insisting that Warren must self-identify as pure European in ancestry is crass and, yes, racist. It is also tone deaf to how Americans link to their diverse and contingent pasts and then bring those identities back into the larger American and human identity.”

    It’s not about closeting. It’s about telling the truth versus making stuff up. She has nothing to back her claims with. And no one has insisted that she must “self-identify as pure European”. What people object to is that she officially listed herself as a minority and was used as an example of diversity – all on the basis of family lore and a grandfather with high cheekbones.

    “And, yes, the black man is my brother. As Tolstoy wrote, “All men are brothers.”

    This feel-good phrase doesn’t answer my question of whether you’d be ok with listing yourself as black in your workplace if you had a dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather and some family lore about him being from Africa. Or the more general question of whether anyone can claim to be any minority on such weak evidence and then reap the rewards of minority and diversity politics.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Well, you hit it at the last sentence, didn’t you? This is about resentment of minority “rewards.” But Warren clearly is an overachiever and didn’t need the kind of help you fret she took.

      And there’s often a murky border in self-identification, isn’t there?

      The blendings in life are incongruous and absurd. We are, after all, naked bipedal apes who, only a million years ago, were walking around with fur from head to toe in South and East Africa. Then we spread through the globe and some of us, after crossing the Bering Straight, found ourselves in North and South America. Warren’s family traces some of their history to some of those. How much we forget. How little we remember and identify with. And here I am today, a person with an Italian name but speaking English and living in California and married to a British woman. Am I Italian or English? Which code, my genetic one or my linguistic one, should I claim on a form? What’s most authentically me?

      But here’s what, in my view, this amounts to politically: it is a symptom of the broader cultural tone-deafness of the contemporary conservative movement. Taking unpopular positions in the name of purity and truth is about to become the new norm for Republicans. A whole cult of self righteous self-flagellants is in the process of being born. Woe is us! The masses are stupid! The country is doomed! Degenerates are multiplying, zombie-voting for Obama! It is how conservatives in California sound. And they lose elections. That’s what’s coming to America as a whole. Ohio is the tipping point. Once it moves solidly blue, Republicans will have to start shifting from Nietzschean contempt for the masses and find their way back to the middle. Romney goofed himself up by picking Ryan and not a pro-choice woman like Rice. Had Romney run to the middle immediately after securing the nomination, he might well have Obama on the ropes right now.

      And now Brown is self destructing. Brown, for some reason, is suddenly going hard right on an inane issue. It’s his Paul Ryan goof up.

      –Santi

  9. Staffan says:

    “Well, you hit it at the last sentence, didn’t you? This is about resentment of minority “rewards.” But Warren clearly is an overachiever and didn’t need the kind of help you fret she took.”

    No, it’s about misrepresentation and getting benefits from that at the expence of the minority usurped. Not the reward as such, that’s a different issue.

    “And there’s often a murky border in self-identification, isn’t there?”

    Yes there is, but when you have no genetic or cultural connection to a minority it gets less murky. Then you’re simply not one of them.

    “The blendings in life are incongruous and absurd. We are, after all, naked bipedal apes who, only a million years ago, were walking around with fur from head to toe in South and East Africa. Then we spread through the globe and some of us, after crossing the Bering Straight, found ourselves in North and South America. Warren’s family traces some of their history to some of those. How much we forget. How little we remember and identify with. And here I am today, a person with an Italian name but speaking English and living in California and married to a British woman. Am I Italian or English? Which code, my genetic one or my linguistic one, should I claim on a form? What’s most authentically me?”

    Like you said above it can get murky because ethnic identity is a complex concept. But that’s not Warren’s problem since there is nothing Cherokee about here at all.

    “But here’s what, in my view, this amounts to politically: it is a symptom of the broader cultural tone-deafness of the contemporary conservative movement. Taking unpopular positions in the name of purity and truth is about to become the new norm for Republicans. A whole cult of self righteous self-flagellants is in the process of being born. Woe is us! The masses are stupid! The country is doomed! Degenerates are multiplying, zombie-voting for Obama! It is how conservatives in California sound. And they lose elections. That’s what’s coming to America as a whole. Ohio is the tipping point. Once it moves solidly blue, Republicans will have to start shifting from Nietzschean contempt for the masses and find their way back to the middle. Romney goofed himself up by picking Ryan and not a pro-choice woman like Rice. Had Romney run to the middle immediately after securing the nomination, he might well have Obama on the ropes right now.”

    For the record I don’t like the GOP but this is off topic. Like Twila Barnes said, it’s not about politics, it’s about the truth.

    “And now Brown is self destructing. Brown, for some reason, is suddenly going hard right on an inane issue. It’s his Paul Ryan goof up.”

    Why are you talking about this? Does it somehow make Warren a Cherokee? And why won’t you answer my question if you would be ok with listing yourself as officially black with similar “evidence” as Warren? It’s a simple question.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      If my mom had told me that she had African American ancestors, and that she was proud of that part of her, I think I would have a dilemma as to how to self-identify, yes. Why wouldn’t it be a dilemma, and why wouldn’t I answer in different ways at different times? I think it would be okay if the parallel was identical. Why wouldn’t it be?

      Identity is a deeply personal issue. We have a “black” president who lived for nine months in the womb of a white woman. Will his granddaughters and grandsons–as well as great grandchildren–be wrong to list “white” as part of their ancestry? Are his daughters “white” or “black”? Or does the one drop rule only apply to blacks? Is it “clearly absurd” for a black person with a white great-grandparent to list white as part of their heritage?

      Likewise, why can’t people of predominantly white ancestry affirm their actual diversity with a reverse one drop rule?

      Brown is indulging in domination–he thinks he gets to tell another person who she is. It’s wrong.

      This relates to gay marriage and women’s issues. Conservatives want to tell others what their marriages are, what gender they obviously belong to, what roles they must naturally play, whether they can use contraceptives. Brown is tapping into this dark side of conservatism. It’s blue pipe smoke for avoiding the following truth: Warren would genuinely shake-up Washington. She’s not somebody capable of being bought. I would refer you again to Susskind’s book, “Confidence Men.”

      –Santi

  10. Staffan says:

    “If my mom had told me that she had African American ancestors, and that she was proud of that part of her, I think I would have a dilemma as to how to self-identify, yes. Why wouldn’t it be a dilemma, and why wouldn’t I answer in different ways at different times? I think it would be okay if the parallel was identical. Why wouldn’t it be?”

    Not a good answer since it doesn’t specify if you would list yourself as a black person at your workplace and reap the rewards of being a minority. But I guess this is as close to an answer that I will get.

    “Identity is a deeply personal issue. We have a “black” president who lived for nine months in the womb of a white woman. Will his granddaughters and grandsons–as well as great grandchildren–be wrong to list “white” as part of their ancestry? Are his daughters “white” or “black”? Or does the one drop rule only apply to blacks? Is it “clearly absurd” for a black person with a white great-grandparent to list white as part of their heritage?”

    It’s not easy to say who will be considered white and black in the future since both groups are so influenced by each other, genetically as well as culturally. The one drop rule is of course pretty useless even today since people who are 1/32 black often look completely white.

    “Likewise, why can’t people of predominantly white ancestry affirm their actual diversity with a reverse one drop rule?”

    Because if she is 98 percent non-cherokee so it would be to reverse almost every drop of blood in her body. But so far there is nothing to indicate that she has any Cherokee ancestry at all, so the zero drop rule would apply to her. On top of that there is a cultural heritage and a history of oppression, and social problems that she has no part of at all. When she identifies as Cherokee she is ignoring that aspect, as if that wasn’t part of their identity, something that has offended many members of the Cherokee community. They demand to know the truth but Warren will not produce any evidence or admit that she was wrong.

    “Brown is indulging in domination–he thinks he gets to tell another person who she is. It’s wrong.”

    No, but he gets to point out that she isn’t a Cherokee because she isn’t. Warren thinks she gets to be a Cherokee without any connection to the Cherokee community whatsoever. And that is somehow ok?

    “This relates to gay marriage and women’s issues. Conservatives want to tell others what their marriages are, what gender they obviously belong to, what roles they must naturally play, whether they can use contraceptives. Brown is tapping into this dark side of conservatism. It’s blue pipe smoke for avoiding the following truth: Warren would genuinely shake-up Washington. She’s not somebody capable of being bought. I would refer you again to Susskind’s book, “Confidence Men.””

    Maybe he is tapping into the dark side of conservatism. I wouldn’t rule it out. But it doesn’t change the fact that Warren was misrepresenting herself as a minority by any reasonable definition of the word. Most likely that deception helped her career and clearly offended a lot of Cherokee indians.

    I think the fact that you can’t accept this is about tribalism. Because all men are not brothers as you quoted Tolstoy – Warren is an ingroup member of yours and Brown is not. That’s why keep talking about how Warren is such a good person and Brown is such a bad person rather than look at the actual issue. You give up on logic and common sense because the priority is the protect a pack member. Underneath that veneer of higher education you are everybit as tribal as the Herderians you criticize so much. That’s the only way I can explain it. But liberals never admit this, starts at 11.45 and says it all: http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-september-5-2012-kirsten-gillibrand

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Well, I think Brown is a bad person. You simply don’t do this to another person–relentlessly attack their identity. It’s too much like Rush Limbaugh. This is reflecting bad on Brown.

      Brown is also clearly a tool of monied interests. The key thing that attracts me to Warren is what I read about her in Susskind’s book, and how the banksters and monied interests felt mortal terrror of her. They did not want her, as an independent and smart Harvard lawyer not part of their boy’s club, leading any sort of a reform commission. Then I learned she’s running for Senate. This woman cannot be bought. She represents a real force for pushback against the worst elements in Washington. My prediction is the following: if she wins, she’ll prove to be one of the most reformist and smart senators in Washington.

      And I think you minimize the interconnection of liberation movements in the United States. I’d ask you to watch the film “Billy Jack” during this political season as illustration. Cherokee rights, black liberation, gay liberation, and women’s equality are all of a piece. To say that Warren cannot reasonably identify with Cherokee oppression because she is predominantly white is to forget that she’s not only part Cherokee (if her family’s oral history is correct), she’s also a woman. Just sixty years ago, you wouldn’t have seen many women teaching at Harvard. Her very presence there is the product of a struggle. How readily we forget.

      Women have long been rendered invisible in the public square and her very desire not to render invisible a small part of her roots–some Cherokee in her family background–and to claim it as a part of her, is life affirming. By contrast, the video above is cruel. It represents the worst angels of our nature. And these are some of the people Brown hired to work for him. Think about that.

      –Santi

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