Good gods, I thought we were done with this months ago, but apparently not…
Allow me to begin by saying, I am 100% not here to pull a “Leave Britney ALONE!” for Elizabeth Warren.
I’m here because it’s making me fucking INSANE to see how an angry, insecure man’s racist taunts and white-supremacist-dog-whistling have led to my entire country using “Who’s your people?” as a formula for deciding someone’s worth.
FYI: In the South, we ask, “Who’s your people?” upon meeting new folks as a way of finding out more about someone’s family (like I guess rich Yankees in period dramas say they’re “Lucas Calloway, of the Boston Calloways”). “Who’s your people?” tells me where you’re from, who your parents/siblings/cousins are, and whether or not our families are related and/or have at some point insulted one another.
Full disclosure: My family identifies as being “of Native American descent,” NOT “Native American.” We do not claim, nor would we be registry-eligible for, membership in any tribal organization. It ain’t about trying to claim any sort of government benefit or hiring accommodation or what-have-you. All we are doing is acknowledging that some of our ancestors were already living in this country before the other ones showed up on boats.
And that’s a GOOD. THING.
Knowing where you come from is GOOD. Learning about history is GOOD. Acknowledging the struggles your forebears faced can only make you stronger when it comes to dealing with your own.
That’s why it breaks my heart to see Elizabeth Warren getting beat down not only by the MAGA-hat-wearing ventriloquist dummies doing the tomahawk chop, but also by the very people those idiots are attacking – the Native/Indigenous community itself.
She took and publicized that DNA test to rebuke a man who publicly shamed her for admitting to having (horror of horrors) mixed heritage (A man who, lest we forget, promised to make a charitable contribution in return for said results… Still waiting on that, aren’t we?). To make matters worse, that same angry, insecure man repeatedly referenced her claiming of Native ancestry to insult and defame ALL Indigenous peoples. Seriously, referring to ANY woman as “Pocahontas” is EXTREMELY problematic for anyone whose knowledge of history extends beyond “Colors of the Wind,” but holding a press event with Navajo Code-Talkers in front of a portrait of Presidential Bromance-in-Chief ANDREW TRAIL-OF-TEARS JACKSON??? Come on, folks.
Elizabeth Warren did what anyone would do when publicly challenged – she stepped up. She said, “Oh, yeah, bruh? I see your racist ranting, and I raise you a positive DNA test.” Did the test prove she’s a full-blooded Cherokee (or Delaware, or anyone)? No. Did it even prove her family has a registry-eligible claim to any tribe’s membership? Nope. What it proved was that what she said was true: Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry, at some point, includes people of Native American origin.
And that’s all she ever claimed. Reports that Harvard, etc. listed her as a “Native American professor” are THEM saying it. Presumably for their own reasons, such as “it looks more diverse and cool to have a “Native American” listed on the faculty. Elizabeth’s Nana was something, right?” As far as boxes she’s checked on forms throughout her life, I myself often check “Native American or Pacific Islander” (or simply “Other”) on government forms because A) I’m proud to be a product of a not-entirely-white background and B) I’m an asshole who likes to fuck up The Man’s statistics.
Seriously, y’all. The Man spends enough time breaking us down and setting up divisions to make us focus on fighting each other instead of uniting against a common cause (which is The Man). A woman who references her non-Caucasian ancestry as an introduction to how her family has dealt with hardship is not the enemy here. A man who uses that non-whiteness as a platform from which to spew racist hate and vitriol? CLEARLY is.
Elizabeth Warren saying that her granny told her that HER granny was Cherokee isn’t the problem. Donald Trump using that statement as a jumping off point to mock not just her, but the entire Native American culture? That’s the problem. Stay focused, my sisters and brothers. No matter how high an SPF you personally might need.
And as for you, Mr. President?
Where’s that check?