April 30, 2012

James Taranto theorizes that Elizabeth Warren "downplayed her alleged Indian roots after coming to Harvard to avoid the stigma of 'affirmative action.'"

Now, he's bouncing off something I said:
As Althouse points out, early in her career, "minority status" would have been useful to her advancement. But once she was on the tenure track at an Ivy League law school, she had more or less reached the pinnacle of academia. At that point, if people thought of her as white, they would assume she got the job entirely on the merits, without benefit of racial preferences.
What I said was — guessing — "Being on the list of minority law professors served her interest in advancement, but the claim was weak and potentially embarrassing, so it was deleted . . . after she achieved what was the ultimate advancement (to Harvard Law School)." I didn't specify what I thought was "potentially embarrassing," and Taranto's theory in fact never crossed my mind. He goes on:
Not all minority professors could pull that off. If Warren were black, for instance, everyone would know it, and there would be no way of escaping the stereotype. Because she is--or can pass for--white, she was in a position to have the best of both worlds, advancing through affirmative action, then enjoying the white privilege of appearing to have gotten ahead solely on the merits.
What I thought was "potentially embarrassing" was that people might begin to ask if she really was Native American, and she might not be able to verify her status. (She is not an enrolled member of a tribe, which is something students coming to her as a mentor might ask about, perhaps in a challenging way.)

From my perspective — as a lawprof with 25+ years of experience — I do not think the lawprofs who are members of minority groups go around feeling stigmatized. But I do think it would be embarrassing if you were recruited because you were perceived as a member of a minority group that you in fact did not belong to. Harvard was under a lot of pressure at that time to do something about the lack of racial diversity on the faculty, and I'm skeptical of the claim that Warren's minority status never came up during the hiring process. Well, it's not really even a claim. It's just a statement of inability to "recall" that it did.

41 comments:

Tim said...

"From my perspective — as a lawprof with 25+ years of experience — I do not think the lawprofs who are members of minority groups go around feeling stigmatized."

Wouldn"t that read better to the point at hand if it said "...I do not think the lawprofs who are members of minority groups who are hired by affirmative action programs go around feeling stigmatized."

Otherwise, just because they are minorities doesn't necessarily mean they should "go around feeling stigmatized." And even if they were, wouldn't, couldn't the shame of stigma be their own perception, as with Justice Thomas, Shelby Steele and others?

All this to assuage white liberal guilt?

What a load.

Cedarford said...

It will play out in the blue collar black and white communities of Massachusetts, with union people and college students - normally stalwart Democrats in Massachusetts, some even in support of affirmative action.....

But hating people that "game the system"..
People that agree Ward Churchill should have been fired when it was learned he got his job by posing as a phony Indian.
Blacks grumbling they lost a city job or university slot to some Jewish person from Mexico, son of jewish immigrants from Romania - that claims he is Hispanic from accident of locale of birth.
Whites that love the Kennedys but dislike their kids losing college slots and jobs to less qualified minorities, let alone fake minorities.

Aridog said...

I am partially black, due to the 1% rule and to my lineage from Homo Erectus.

Mizz Warren will try to utilize the the same 1% rule.

I guess I am related to Quana Parker as well.

//sarc off

Comanche Voter said...

Look at it this way; she claimed to have a "degree" as a Delware Indian.

When you go back and check the resume of a fellow who claimed to have a Ph.D from Ivy League U--and it's not there--you fire his nasty posterior for lying ASAP.

Just a little "tidyng up" of her rsume--that's what was going on here.

edutcher said...

As with everything else, gaming the system can come back to bite you.

Lurch, of course, thought he did to get out of 'Nam, when, in fact, it was the men of his Swift Boat squadron who did so to be rid of him.

And then it came back to bite him.

Again, funny how things work out.

Aridog said...

I am partially black, due to the 1% rule and to my lineage from Homo Erectus.

Mizz Warren will try to utilize the the same 1% rule.

I guess I am related to Quana Parker as well.


No, that just means your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother was named Cynthia Ann.

Chuck66 said...

Was reading the Minneapolis paper online today. They have a new police chief. A womyn. Knowing how leftwing/PC Mpls is, my first thought was "well, she wasn't picked because she was the most qualified. She was picked because she has a virgina. Or is a lesbian."

Affirmative Action is not your friend.

rcocean said...

Any white person who lies to get some AA benefit has done the right thing. Its nothing more than a corrupt spoils system.

Fight the Power!

Hagar said...

"My grandmother was a Cherokee princess!"

Aridog said...

@edutchewr ... and sperm donor Peta Nocona

edutcher said...

Chuck66 said...

Was reading the Minneapolis paper online today. They have a new police chief. A womyn. Knowing how leftwing/PC Mpls is, my first thought was "well, she wasn't picked because she was the most qualified. She was picked because she has a virgina. Or is a lesbian."

If she has a virgina does that mean she has never had carnival knowledge?

Kansas City said...

This is so rich. Warren will get away with it. But the most likely scenario is that she gamed the system by claiming Native American status and the dropped it when she did not need it anymore, for Ann's reason, that it would come up and she would be hard pressed to prove it was true.

Mr. Forward said...

"Warren’s claim, which surfaced yesterday after a Herald inquiry, put the candidate in an awkward position as campaign aides last night scrambled but failed to produce documents proving her family lineage. Aides said the tales of Warren’s Cherokee and Delaware tribe ancestors have been passed down through family lore."
Boston Herald

"Why Your Great-Grandmother Wasn't A Cherokee Princess"

http://www.native-languages.org/princess.htm

"...many Indians consider "my grandmother was a Cherokee princess" to be the mantra of the wannabe. There is no faster way to lose credibility and respect from an Indian than to speak these words."

http://www.allthingscherokee.com/articles_gene_020101.html

edutcher said...

Kansas City said...

This is so rich. Warren will get away with it.

Howie Carr hints this may not go down well with the working classes, so we'll have to see.

Judith said...

Having grown up in SW Oklahoma, I can testify that is common for many palefaces to claim some vague Native American ancestry, generally along the lines of Grandma having been descended from a Cherokee princess. Given the widespread intermarriage of whites with the Five Civilized Tribes before and after the trek to Oklahoma, it is notoriously difficult to prove or disprove this heritage. Some ancestors not only neglected to register on tribal rolls but actively avoided doing so. There is a rumor in my own family that we are partly descended from "Crypto-Cherokees"--that is, mixed-race ancestors back in Alabama who took pains to pass for white to escape the brutal Indian removal to Oklahoma of the 1830's, the so-called "Trail of Tears." (Come to think of it, Grandma WAS awfully dark-eyed and brown of skin.)

Judith said...

Having grown up in SW Oklahoma, I can testify that is common for many palefaces to claim some vague Native American ancestry, generally along the lines of Grandma having been descended from a Cherokee princess. Given the widespread intermarriage of whites with the Five Civilized Tribes before and after the trek to Oklahoma, it is notoriously difficult to prove or disprove this heritage. Some ancestors not only neglected to register on tribal rolls but actively avoided doing so. There is a rumor in my own family that we are partly descended from "Crypto-Cherokees"--that is, mixed-race ancestors back in Alabama who took pains to pass for white to escape the brutal Indian removal to Oklahoma of the 1830's, the so-called "Trail of Tears." (Come to think of it, Grandma WAS awfully dark-eyed and brown of skin.)

wyo sis said...

My great great etc grandmother was a Mohawk Indian princess. It's family lore. Until it isn't. What? What do you mean I have no credibility? Because...racist.

Ralph L said...

I thought the Herald quoted someone from the Harvard selection committee claiming they did not consider her a diversity hire.

If she has a virgina does that mean she has never had carnival knowledge?
Or is she an Old Dominatrix?

William said...

Ms. Warren is plain and raw boned. She looks like she succeeded because she worked harder than the competition. In life's great banquet, you'll find her among the broccoli.... Sen. Brown is good looking and charming. He looks like he might have won some of life's prizes on that basis and without much effort.....That's why this charge is so subversive to her image. She looks manipulative and scheming rather than earnest and straight forward......Also, I think it's possible that Sen. Brown might work as hard at being charming as Ms. Warren worked on getting A's. You play your strong suit, and that was his......Being good looking and charming is not such an easy way to make a living. People here are quick to criticize John Edwards, but think of the time and effort it took to charm a 100 year old woman out of a million dollars. To be fair, I think most people would rather study for a conlaw exam than to trowel over some dotty old lady. If you think pantyhose are daunting, you should see all those velcro closures on Depends.

leslyn said...

Is there anything at all important about this?
Didn't think so.

cf said...

I think everyone ought to claim minority status based on "family lore" and put the whole damned notion of diversity to bed for good.

EDH said...

Sen. Brown is good looking and charming. He looks like he might have won some of life's prizes on that basis and without much effort.

While I'm sure his looks opened more doors to him, I've never seen anyone who works retail politics harder and better than Scott Brown. He's seemingly everywhere, all the time, and it's clear (most of the time) he really loves it.

Last Friday, for example.

That's why I think he's likely to beat Warren handily.

Alex said...

leslyn said...
Is there anything at all important about this?
Didn't think so.


Wow, just wow. If this were an (R) you'd be ballistic with rage. You are so utterly blind to your bias, it's so soaked through your soul. You're fucking hopeless along with the rest of your kind.

traditionalguy said...

Alex...When addressing leslyn you should not say, "...your kind" which attributes kindness to her.

Stick with the tried and true "...your ilk". Nobody likes those funny dressing Elks anyway.

Life is short. Have some fun.

David said...

leslyn said...
Is there anything at all important about this?
Didn't think so.


Just integrity. Apparently you do not consider that important.

Zach said...

I would think that being falsely claimed as a minority would have a tremendous potential to blow up in your face.

Consider. You're a tenure-track, possibly already tenured professor at a major school. You have enough of a reputation that Harvard is interested. You still have a little potential to move upwards by changing schools, but you have very little downside risk at all.

In that scenario, why would you ever (falsely) claim to be a minority? Fraud on an application is one of the few things you can do at that point that have the potential to really screw up your life.

SDN said...

Althouse misses the point here: it isn't about whether she or Elizabeth go around feeling stignatized. It's that there's an absolute certainty that none of their achievements were based solely on merit... and therefore can be and are discounted.

Like the "white privilege" argument, they didn't have to explicitly seek it; it was simply a reasonable assumption for their teachers, supervisors, and peers that holding them to the same standards of performance and conduct as in the past would result in lawsuits, EEOC complaints, etc.... and therefore they weren't held to them but given the reward anyway.

Aridog said...

It must “in season” just now … even Dan Rather was on television the other day saying he and his crew were reporting the truth in the “Rather-gate” fiasco. See? False, but accurate still stands. Elizabeth Weaver is no different … it’s true because she says it is, got it? Same for the "I was never briefed" Nancy Pelosi vis a vis the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques.

None of these fools have figured out today’s technologically inter-connected world, where an exceptional, or even just ordinary, blogger can call you out on bullshit. Their hubris convinces them their statements are more “accurate” than cold hard facts to the contrary.

It truly is an amazing phenomena.

Aridog said...

Dang! At my 6:05 comment I meant "Elizabeth Warren" ... not "Weaver" ... not enough coffee yet, I'm sorry.

Pssst: We have a State Supreme court Justice named "Elizabeth Weaver" here ... my old brain was just conflating the two due to similar criteria.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I agree with Ann that Warren probably downplayed or scrubbed her initial claim precisely because it could become at minimum an embarrassing revelation. More and more these days, falsified credentials sink careers in the private sector. Background checks for good positions are the norm and could reveal inconsistencies/disqualify candidates.

"...then enjoying the white privilege of appearing to have gotten ahead solely on the merits."

This, a rather 'sneering' statement, no? This smacks of a projecting elitist...one that penned or supports 'affirmative action'.

As if getting ahead strictly on merits is bad, or unwarranted.

In the modern world, being white can mean being the wrong skin color. Oh, how we have advanced at the hands of our progressive betters!!!

Michael Haz said...

Her Indian name is Sits With Tenure.

Fen said...

Why hasn't she been fired for fraud?

Fen said...

then enjoying the white privilege of appearing to have gotten ahead solely on the merits.

I think white males *should* enjoy privilege. They are the reason Westen Civ still exists.

If you are free today, go thank a white male.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

.

Lighten up Ann. We have equality before the law. Each and everyone of has as much right as the next person to be whatever ethnicity feels handy at the moment.

.

JohnBoy said...

This issue is a killer with the white working class of MA. For one, they hatehatehate affirmative action, even when it is occasionally legit. Secondly, they don't really care for arrogant professors.

When you add fake affirmative action + arrogant professor together, you get double the fun. Especially when you are running against a good-looking Everyman who is a gifted retail politician.

I love the fact that the left is going to dump a bunch of money into MA and WI. And then they are going to lose.

Original Mike said...

"Taranto's theory in fact never crossed my mind."

If true, I wouldn't admit it.

ByondPolitics said...

My ex is biethnic, with parents from two different cultures. Around the same time that Warren "can't recall" her own conversations during her job interview process, he was asked, by his department head at the university, to change his racial/ethnic status from "white" to the other category so it could be used for reporting purposes. He declined, stating that he had grown up in a white middle-class neighborhood and so had no claim on those issues. He was really put off by the whole thing. We both thought it was distasteful.


I don't think it's the kind of thing you forget. Checking that box in a way should trigger a small voice of conscience. Unfortunately, that voice in many people seems to be "what's in it for me?"

I can't imagine why Warren would claim that status in the AALS ... other than she whimsically checked the box once & then it just gets carried forward.

In any case, her only defense really would be to show all the ways she has participated in aspects of that culture, so that it has contributed to her identity. Ooops, I don't think she can and that's what makes it shameful.

In the meantime, they've trotted out some marriage certificate from 1894 that lists the mother of the groom, her great-great-great-grandmother, as an Indian. That form alone isn't much to go on... but suggests at most a 1/32nd claim. Biethnic people were often not given a choice in how to list their race and so that woman might not have been entirely Cherokee.

All of this makes me wonder, why are Democrats so weirdly obsessed with the 19th century ancestors of candidates?

When it's more important to sharply elbow out the voices of people from different cultures, by claiming that you belong to that culture when you don't... or when you try to base someone's worth on the actions of their ancestors from generations ago... well.. so much for "the content of character" dream.

ByondPolitics said...

My ex is biethnic, with parents from two different cultures. Around the same time that Warren "can't recall" her own conversations during her job interview process, he was asked, by his department head at the university, to change his racial/ethnic status from "white" to the other category so it could be used for reporting purposes. He declined, stating that he had grown up in a white middle-class neighborhood and so had no claim on those issues. He was really put off by the whole thing. We both thought it was distasteful.


I don't think it's the kind of thing you forget. Checking that box in a way should trigger a small voice of conscience. Unfortunately, that voice in many people seems to be "what's in it for me?"

I can't imagine why Warren would claim that status in the AALS ... other than she whimsically checked the box once & then it just gets carried forward.

In any case, her only defense really would be to show all the ways she has participated in aspects of that culture, so that it has contributed to her identity. Ooops, I don't think she can and that's what makes it shameful.

In the meantime, they've trotted out some marriage certificate from 1894 that lists the mother of the groom, her great-great-great-grandmother, as an Indian. That form alone isn't much to go on... but suggests at most a 1/32nd claim. Biethnic people were often not given a choice in how to list their race and so that woman might not have been entirely Cherokee.

All of this makes me wonder, why are Democrats so weirdly obsessed with the 19th century ancestors of candidates?

When it's more important to sharply elbow out the voices of people from different cultures, by claiming that you belong to that culture when you don't... or when you try to base someone's worth on the actions of their ancestors from generations ago... well.. so much for "the content of character" dream.

MTF said...

I'm confused about how racial hiring quotas work.

If a job candidate is seeking to take advantage of a racial preference in hiring, isn't there some vetting process they must go through? Or is the whole subject just so embarassing to all concerned that the employer lets it go, without checking, and assumes honesty?

In Warren's case her ancestor appears to have lived about 180 years ago. My own family has more recent Native American blood than that, but it honestly never occurred to me to try to claim it in a college process or job interview. Perhaps I should start!

Aridog said...

Beyond Politics said: "When it's more important to sharply elbow out the voices of people from different cultures, by claiming that you belong to that culture when you don't ..."

A lot of truth in that assertion. Best example, of hand, is Obama ... African Americans have yet to discern that Obama is hardly one of them ... and thus their voices are elbowed out.

I'm all white Irish by descent (except for that 1/10 % rule lineage from Homo Erectus), but I am confident, living in Detroit, that I have spent far more time, all the way back to the growing up period, with the African Americans and their community than Obama ever has or ever will. I actually enjoy the company of African Americans as much as that of any other plain white or hyphenated Americans who live civilized lives.

Not his fault, just a fact...he grew up whiter than me.

Aridog said...

@MTF ... I stated earlier that Mizz Warren will assert the "1% Rule" ... and she apparently is about to do so.

@Beyond Politrics summed up the real ethnicity versus 1% rule issue quite nicely at 0945 AM.

As @edutcher humorously implied, I may have a great granny named Cynthia Ann ... so I can claim Quanna Parker as an ancestor. Or not ... coincidence is not proof. Does being an expert horseman count? I'm all that. Come on, I'm trying here.

//last Para sarc, off now. :-)

Tibore said...

"But I do think it would be embarrassing if you were recruited because you were perceived as a member of a minority group that you in fact did not belong to."

Depends on how arrogant you are. Ward Churchill didn't appear to be bothered by that any.