Politics

I'm still a red man deep inside

gerrymander.

Posted to Politics on Fri May 04, 2012 at 12:32:12 PM EST (promoted from Diaries by port1080). RSS.

Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat Senate candidate running against incumbent Scott Brown in Massachusetts, is in heap big trouble. It turns out that she claimed minority status -- from 1/32rd part Cherokee heritage -- to get a leg up in the law school hiring/tenure processes during her early years teaching at Oklahoma State College and Harvard. At no time was she listed with official tribe records, and her ten-year listing as a minority curiously vanished from subsequent AALS listings after receiving tenure.

Warren is now claiming that she listed her status to aid in networking, although apparently she personally made no attempts to engage other Native Americans in legal academics.

Presuming for the sake of argument that her bloodline does include one full-blood Cherokee ancestor who would have died prior to the US Civil War, what does Warren's inclusion as a minority hire mean for affirmative action practices? Is a 3% genetic match the new "one-drop" rule for race-based preferential hiring? Should US citizens with southern European heritage start listing themselves as "African-American", based on the likelihood that at least 3% of their genetic code comes from sub-Saharan Africa?

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

arromdee.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 01:01:03 PM EST

none

The argument "everyone has 3% black ancestry anyway" doesn't really hold water.  Assuming this is true, she would still have this 3% as well as the additional 3% from her native ancestor.  You'd have people with 0% actually having 3%, but people with 3% actually having 6%--she'd still have 3% more than the ones who only have it because everyone does.

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

port1080.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 01:45:31 PM EST

none

I think you're missing the broader point here, which is that if you haven't been exposed to discrimination due to your ethnic heritage, then at least from a moral / ethical perspective you shouldn't be asking for affirmative action assistance, even if you might be entitled to it by the letter of the law.  I'm not sure if that's what Warren was doing, but it sure looks like it was.  I don't see any way how her tiny sliver of American Indian ancestry would justify being used on hiring forms (unless they're just the kind of forms that are used to collect demographic info but aren't actually used in the hiring process, but even then I'd probably go with the ethnicity I primarily identify as).  We can argue about what the cutoff is - should someone like Rashida Jones, who could easily pass as white and who is the child of privilege, get affirmative action help?  Probably not (not that she's needed it), but Warren?  Not so much.

Allons-y!

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

gerrymander.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:41:03 PM EST

none

I think you're missing the broader point here, which is that if you haven't been exposed to discrimination due to your ethnic heritage, then at least from a moral / ethical perspective you shouldn't be asking for affirmative action assistance, even if you might be entitled to it by the letter of the law.

And also the flip side of that point, which is: should a law so badly written as to allow blatant opportunism be struck down or revised?

unless they're just the kind of forms that are used to collect demographic info but aren't actually used in the hiring process

Harvard Law School still lists one person as a Native American on its faculty diversity census, but will not name which faculty member that is.

Even if (big if) those checkboxes aren't used for hiring, there's still a values commitment which diversity reports seek to cater to. If that commitment is fraudulent, what does that say about Harvard, or about the values being trumpeted?

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

port1080.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:00:10 PM EST

none

And also the flip side of that point, which is: should a law so badly written as to allow blatant opportunism be struck down or revised?

No program is perfect - I'm willing to accept some level of abuse as long as the program is primarily getting the intended results.  That said, when things like what Warren did come to light, those people should be shamed extensively.  I was a Warren supporter (not that I live in MA), but no longer.  She's made a fool of herself and shown a distinct lack of character.  

Even if (big if) those checkboxes aren't used for hiring, there's still a values commitment which diversity reports seek to cater to. If that commitment is fraudulent, what does that say about Harvard, or about the values being trumpeted?

It doesn't say anything good about Harvard, but I'm not sure why you think it says anything bad about the notion of diversity.  Does the Catholic church's child fucking problem invalidate all its teaches on sexual mores?  (granted, I've argued as much, but only from emotion, not logic)

Allons-y!

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

gerrymander.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:26:48 PM EST

none

I'm not sure why you think it says anything bad about the notion of diversity

Even in the best case scenario -- "If two equally-qualified candidates apply for a job, pick the one of X race" -- is racist. The worst-case scenario involves picking the lesser-qualified candidate to favor certain races, which is racist, demeaning to candidates meeting the higher standard, and makes the entire organization worse off by vice of hiring the worse candidates.

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

arromdee.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:22:53 PM EST

none

The official reason for affirmative action at schools is diversity, not compensating for discrimination, so pointing out that someone with 3% or 6% ancestry might not have been discriminated against is beside the point.

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

joshv.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 02:44:41 PM EST

none

"Should US citizens with southern European heritage start listing themselves as "African-American", based on the likelihood that at least 3% of their genetic code comes from sub-Saharan Africa?"

Well if you believe the "out of Africa" hypothesis we are all genetically 100% African.

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

Gaius Petronius.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:07:31 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

Here we see the Nuremburg Law world of identity politics explode. It is similar to the promotion of George Zimmerman to being a "white Hispanic" when it suited the narrative. Now that we know he is also an octoroon it will be tricky to sustain a hate crime indictment.

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

Ephraim Gadsby.

Fri May 04, 2012 at 06:18:26 PM EST

5.00 (astute)

There is nothing wrong with whites who object to "diversity" falsely claiming minority status to their own advantage, but because she's a true believer in "diversity", Warren should be punished for misrepresenting herself in order to steal a job from a  more deserving brown skin.

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

thefadd.

Sun May 06, 2012 at 05:54:56 PM EST

5.00 (brilliant)

I think that's completely fair. I've started listing myself as hispanic to get in touch with my Cuban routes that go directly back only three generations on my mom's side -- the irony of course being that us Cubans don't even actually consider ourselves hispanic.

I HAD HAD SEX WITH HUNTER S THOMPSON. HE CAME IN MY MOUTH AND I SWALLOWED IT. I SHOULD HAVE HAD HIS BABY. WE WOULD BE BALLIN' LIKE KOBE'S SON!!

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

zyxwvutsr.

Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:54:42 PM EST

5.00 (racist)

"we"

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Re: I'm still a red man deep inside

HidingFromGoro.

Sun May 13, 2012 at 09:54:20 PM EST

none

Yeah, and when are they going to have "White History Month?"

I got more styles than prison got bricks- ain't that some shit?

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