The latest digging in by Elizabeth Warren was, “My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it, and I have been open about it.’’ I find the statement surreal. For if that declaration were to go unchallenged, it would mean — by virtue of the past sanction of Harvard Law School and the brand of a possible U.S. senator — that we are simply who we say we are. For Warren is not just asserting that having 1/32 lineage makes us a racial minority without any linguistic, cultural, or social connection to our supposed great-great-grandparent, but that one does not even need proof of those few drops of racial authenticity. If we simply rely on family myth-making or lore, then anything becomes possible. Why not something like, “I claim I am a direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln” — a claim verified on the basis of some family fable?
And it gets to the point of outright fraud when fabricating an identity offers both career advantages to the employee and diversity quota points for the employer. At some point, Warren’s statement is simply untenable and will have to be withdrawn, because if it is not, then we are essentially saying facts are what we choose to say facts are, and we can write or say anything we want and claim it as truth by reason of rumor, or serial insistence, or good intentions. Warren says all this is a distraction from her otherwise sterling academic record, but an academic career is nothing without allegiance to facts and honest scholarship; in fact this weird con is a window into her soul — and the logical and ultimate expression of what the entire diversity/affirmative-action industry has become.