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Thread: Elizabeth Warren and Indian heritage, checking off boxes

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    When people ask me of my last name (DaSilva), "What kind of name is that?", they often expect me to say Portuguese or Brazilian. But I always say: "American."
    I think that's the right way to think about it.

    We do seem race-ethnicity-mad in this country. Why should I feel proud or ashamed that my ancestors came from Ireland or Norway, or if they were heroes or halfwits? If the best you can do for an identity is a pedigree, I feel sorry for you.

    More than most places, I think America is more idea than folk group or group of folk groups. Perhaps a lot of our tensions stem from people who feel otherwise, and think they can demand an accounting from history.

  2. #22
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    To be fair to Elizabeth Warren, counsellors encourage applicants to tick as many boxes as possible. If you can claim multiple ethnicities, you add to the school's diversity ratings - even if you're blonde and blue-eyed - So you're more likely to be accepted and funded. It would make no difference if Ms. Warren now took a DNA test, all these years later. If she believed, 20 or so years ago, that she had Native American heritage, she was making an honest application, even if a test today showed no Native American DNA. If today's test reveals Native American DNA, it still wouldn't make her a Native American. Culturally, she's a white US American.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne View Post
    To be fair to Elizabeth Warren, counsellors encourage applicants to tick as many boxes as possible. If you can claim multiple ethnicities, you add to the school's diversity ratings - even if you're blonde and blue-eyed - So you're more likely to be accepted and funded. It would make no difference if Ms. Warren now took a DNA test, all these years later. If she believed, 20 or so years ago, that she had Native American heritage, she was making an honest application, even if a test today showed no Native American DNA. If today's test reveals Native American DNA, it still wouldn't make her a Native American. Culturally, she's a white US American.
    She actually was not applying to the school for admission. It was an employment thing, and I am sure if she actually checked any boxes--she was asserting Native American identity for employment reasons, and calling herself "a woman of color."

    And yes, there are blonde and blue eyed Cherokees, as with my ancestors--there was much intermarriage between Scots and Cherokee peoples.

    I don't think one's coloring should be a cultural determinant. But I do think that human beings naturally seek family and clan identity--I know it is pleasing to me to know where my people came from,how they related to the land, and it is satisfying to have cousins contact me on Ancestry and we share stories of ancestors and family. I guess you either have that or you don't, and if you don't, you probably don't understand the satisfaction of finding family, and feeling connected to your ancestors.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    She actually was not applying to the school for admission. It was an employment thing, and I am sure if she actually checked any boxes--she was asserting Native American identity for employment reasons, and calling herself "a woman of color."

    And yes, there are blonde and blue eyed Cherokees, as with my ancestors--there was much intermarriage between Scots and Cherokee peoples.

    I don't think one's coloring should be a cultural determinant. But I do think that human beings naturally seek family and clan identity--I know it is pleasing to me to know where my people came from,how they related to the land, and it is satisfying to have cousins contact me on Ancestry and we share stories of ancestors and family. I guess you either have that or you don't, and if you don't, you probably don't understand the satisfaction of finding family, and feeling connected to your ancestors.
    Genealogy as a hobby is harmless.

    Genealogy as a policy tool is harmful.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    Genealogy as a policy tool is harmful.
    +1

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    I think that's the right way to think about it.

    We do seem race-ethnicity-mad in this country. Why should I feel proud or ashamed that my ancestors came from Ireland or Norway, or if they were heroes or halfwits? If the best you can do for an identity is a pedigree, I feel sorry for you.
    Agreed. I remember being puzzled years ago by some office mates cheering because a white guy won a college free throw contest. Seriously? Maybe if you are cheering Frederick Douglas on back in the day because of all the obstacles he won, but hoops?

  7. #27
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    I supposedly have Native American ancestors up my father's mother's side of the family, but I'd need DNA testing to validate it at this point.

    About Warren, I find it interesting how people can perseverate on a single item, while ignoring so many others - and make it stick. Especially in politics. It's like watching a bunch of hoarders going on and on about how this other person had a sink with some dirty dishes in it.

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