Elizabeth Warren finally acknowledged to the Boston Globe that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania she was Native American when she served on their faculties, but she continues to insist it had no influence on her hiring:
“At some point after I was hired by them, I . . . provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard,’’ [Warren] said in a statement issued by her campaign. “My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.’’
Warren’s admission comes after the Boston Globe reported that Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania cited a Native American faculty member in federal diversity statistics during Warren’s tenure at the schools. Obviously Harvard and Penn didn’t both list her as Native American based on a wild hunch, so the only real explanation was that Warren told them about her alleged ancestry.
That’s what makes the timing of Warren’s statement to the Globe today so shady. If her self-proclaimed ancestry had nothing to do with her hiring, why did she only admit to telling Harvard and Penn about it after she was backed into a corner by the Globe?
Contentions has already explored the contradictions at the heart of Elizabeth Warren’s use of her slim ties to a Native American ancestor to portray herself as a member of a minority group at Harvard University Law School. The Democratic candidate has become something of a poster child for the excesses of the world of affirmative action, but the story got a bit more damaging today when the Boston Herald reported that in addition to using her status as a 1/32 Cherokee Indian, she also went native during her time at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Herald discovered that Penn (where she worked from 1987 to 1994), listed her as a minority in a “Minority Equity Report.” Warren’s office is probably right to say that her reputation was good enough in the world of liberal jurisprudence to have earned her a job at prestigious universities. But the revelation that she was touted as a minority hire at yet another school makes her claim that she was unaware of her status as an affirmative action case that much less credible. When added to the fact that she admits listing herself as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools directory for a decade (supposedly in order to meet “other Native Americans”), this new information gives the story new life.
As utterly obnoxious–and insulting to voters–as the White House’s “war on women” was, there were moments when I actually felt a pang of sympathy for the loyal foot soldiers dispatched to pillage the news cycle. Carrying the banner of this base anti-intellectualism required a certain shamelessness that was off-putting, but at times strangely pitiful. One such example came after Rush Limbaugh insulted the 30-year-old liberal activist Sandra Fluke, and in response Neera Tanden, once an adviser to both Clintons and to President Obama and now president of the Center for American Progress, was reduced to tweeting this:
Outraged Rush is attacking all women thru Sandra Fluke? Pl sign CAP’s petition: http://cap.af/xNDJwc – I #standwithsandra & hope you will 2
That the Obama White House has taken men and women of repute and transformed them into Axelrodian snark artists long preceded Tanden’s tweet. But it caught my attention because it seemed to be the reductio ad absurdum of modern liberalism. Until, that is, Elizabeth Warren bailed her out.
Elizabeth Warren, the super-liberal Harvard law professor and candidate for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, seems to have gamed the affirmative action system for her own benefit. When she was on her way up the greasy pole of law-school professorships she claimed she belonged to a “minority”–American Indian to be precise. From 1986 to 1995, while teaching at the University of Texas and the University of Pennsylvania, she was listed in the Association of American Law Schools’ annual directory of minority law professors. But once she went to work at Harvard, and could no longer benefit by being a minority, she dropped the minority shtick.
The Boston Herald brought this fact to life; her opponent, Scott Brown, pounced, and the Warren campaign has been in damage-control mode ever since. At first they said her Indian ancestry was according to “family lore.” Now, it seems, (one senses an emergency call to a genealogist) her great great great grandmother was Cherokee. So Warren is 1/32 Indian.