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Saturday, Oct 20, 2018 - 23:50 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert


South Park called it again
[N.B. Alas, my own 23AndMe test failed, back in 2013...]

The best timeline continues, and keeps giving. Elizabeth Warren, potential Democratic Presidential nominee and sometimes called Pocahontas, triumphantly released her DNA test results on Monday; long heckled by TRUMPISTS and Republicans for her abiding claim to Native American (more specifically, Cherokee) status, it was her moment to expose that Obnoxious Orange Liar for what he was, through the Power of Science. The Boston Globe broke the earth-shattering news, which was immediately publicized on the Reddit News subreddit under the headline, "Elizabeth Warren Releases DNA Results: She's Native American". NPCs around the world rejoiced, secure in their newly-confirmed diversity, and began Googling how to organize potlatches in celebration. Before the first smoke signals could be sent, however, some went as far as to read the source article:

"Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides 'strong evidence' she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations... [she could be up to 1/32nd part native!]"

The Boston Globe bothered to recheck the math sometime after the scoop, which revised the estimate: "The generational range based on the ancestor that the report identified suggests she's between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American." The actual report by a Stanford professor claims that "...the total and average [DNA] segment size suggest (via the method of moments) an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the pedigree at approximately 8 generations before the sample, although the actual number could be somewhat lower or higher."; as such, it should be fair to continue the discussion using the expected value, which splits the difference at 1/256th, i.e. less than 0.5% Native American blood.

Does this sound like vindication? It sure as hell doesn't for me - but first, some background.

Ancestry Tales

The story, so it goes, was of family frontier-romanticism lore: a young and high-cheekboned Warren had been told that the maternal side of her family had Native American heritage, to the point that her parents had to elope (but not secretly enough for the wedding announcement not to be joyously announced in the local paper, so it seems). Fine, no biggie - most every little girl dreams of being somebody special, of being descended from a princess or somesuch (which they actually statistically all are anyway), I suppose. One of those phases.

The to-be senator held on to this hearsay heritage more than most, however, and here it begins to get a little tricky. First, a quick academic biography: she began at Rutgers (1977-78) as a lecturer of law, before moving on to the University of Houston (1978-83), and then the University of Texas (1983-87), with some visiting posts interspersed. She was then a full professor at the University of Pennsylvania (1987-1995), before leaving for Harvard. All in all, a glittering CV.

So where do the Native American claims come in? Well, Warren appeared to have listed herself as white up until and including her Texas stint, but this changed once she got into the Ivy League - she's explicitly listed as a minority in UPenn's 2005 Minority Equity Report. Harvard likewise listed her as Native American in official Federal statistics, and she was recognized as a "woman of color" in a Fordham Law Review article, and as a diversity hire in her Harvard Crimson welcome. This is corroborated by Warren's self-identification as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools directory, from 1986 to 1995. I believe these facts beyond reasonable dispute.

As it happens, there does exist a strict definition of Native American status for Federal records, as The Boston Globe notes, with reference to Harvard's reporting - a definition that Warren definitely doesn't qualify under. At the very least, this doesn't look too good on Harvard, especially as their trial for discrimination against Asian-American applicants opens. They gladly recognized a 99.5% white professor as a minority, for diversity brownie points - no two ways about it.

The next question is whether Warren had personally and professionally benefitted from her rebranding, as some right-wing sites accuse. Warren, Harvard and UPenn have vehemently denied any advantage, which is entirely plausible. After all, her terrible Berniesque policies apart, she has by all accounts been an entirely competent educator and academic. I feel it entirely unproductive to pursue this line of questioning. However...

That's Not The Point!

To recap the main assertions established here thus far:
  • Warren is genetically probably about 0.5% Native American, which is not significantly different from the average white American, who would be about 0.2% Native American

  • Warren has unambigiously represented herself as a Native American, at least from about 1986 to 1995

  • Warren has not directly benefitted professionally from this representation

Even accepting the third point - that Warren had at no time planned to benefit materially from stating that she was Native American - it cannot be denied that the first two points together are simply comedy gold, as demonstrated in the South Park excerpt above. Picture this: there's this stereotypically entirely Caucasian-looking guy, Bob. Bob says that he thinks he has some Oriental ancestry because "his eyes are a little bit slitty". Bob takes a DNAAndMe test, and finds that he's 0.5% Mongolian! He then proudly lists his race as Vietnamese (because the form didn't have Mongolian) at the next census, and gets a meaningless cool-Chinese-character tattoo. When his friends try to call him out on his bullshit, Bob flies into an unironic rage, and yells that they're disrespecting his heritage!

Man, I'd pay to watch this series.

So, back to Warren. By the way, did we mention that her DNA test didn't even have access to actual Native American DNA, and likely employed Canadian/Mexican/South American DNA as a stand-in? Or that she contributed to a cookbook titled "Pow Wow Chow" (now how's that not racist?), by plagarizing recipes from a French chef, while signing herself off as "Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee"? Now, her defenders might argue that there was never any malicious intent, and that it was all in good humour. This is precisely the point. This is exactly why she's being called Fauxcahontas for fun, in exactly the same way that 0.5% Mongolian Bob would be nicknamed Ching Chong Wong if he stubbornly persists in his unilateral self-identification by spamming updates on yak milk and yurt history on Facebook.

One might have hoped that Warren would have realised this, but she evidently didn't, from how she actually went and released the DNA test results. The Onion, hardly a conservative outlet, couldn't resist with their uproarious "Elizabeth Warren Disappointed After DNA Test Shows Zero Trace Of Presidential Material" jab. Never one to quit, Warren proceeded to flood TRUMP's Twitter like a spurned lover after TRUMP's alpha-male (and entirely deserved) "Who cares?" response. This goes on until the honest-to-goodness Cherokee Nation themselves released an official statement condemning Warren for "undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage", with an actual descendant of Pocahontas asking her to apologize besides. Oh, and a documented Warren ancestor probably took part in exiling Cherokee on the Trail of Tears.

You can't buy this entertainment, I tell you. This is truly the greatest timeline.


But wait: surely Senator Warren - a distinguished professor of law, mind you - couldn't have gone through all this trouble to shoot herself in her own agwalasideni? As it turns out, it was for a good cause. Apparently, President TRUMP had offered to donate US$1 million to charity if Warren took a DNA test proving her Native American heritage. And, as outraged r/politics Redditors rage, Drumpf has LIED AGAIN! So what if she's just 0.5% assorted-nonwhite-American? A bet is a bet! This angle - the dishonest TRUMP - has been expectedly heavily played up in the mainstream media. Is it warranted?

Well, let's examine the primary source, which said mainstream media somehow often neglects with GEOTUS:

Cough up the wampum, Nazi!

Note the actual spoken offer, even ignoring that it was framed within a hypothetical: "I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you're an Indian." Well, it doesn't look like Warren has a tsinvsgeni to stand on here: 0.5% Native American blood and no actual engagement with the Native community (e.g. growing up on a reservation) wouldn't qualify anyone as an (American) Indian under any relevant Fed or tribal regulations, without even going into how the Cherokee Nation has explicitly disavowed her as, well, an Indian. Very few ever achieve that honour.

Likewise tone-deaf, The Washington Post "fact-check" argued that it's wrong to say that she's only 1/1024th Native, because it could be as high as 1/64th (1.56%; Three Pinocchios rating!), while The Daily Beast ran the tagline that "But for Trump and his allies, it seems, no evidence will ever prove sufficient". Basically, such refutations miss the point entirely - Warren not Indian, Warren claim Indian. Perhaps Warren's failure to comprehend stems from her legal background; she could, and seems to be, fighting this on technical grounds: 0.5% is greater than 0%, therefore she can claim Native heritage. Practically, consider the consequence of an underprivileged black kid bumped from a minority scholarship because 3%-black-ancestry Molly McJohnson qualified, which recalls the Rachel Dolezal backlash. This sort of stuff is why many don't like lawyers.

On the bright side, more self-aware liberals have recognized the Warren debacle as racism by another name, which the WSJ and others have suggested might bring about the end of identity politics in America. Frankly, I'd be chuffed at a fifteen minute time-out.

Fun, Peace and Laughter (Pass The Pipe!)

It would be downright shabby and ungrateful for the Shitlords of the Right to just pass on this opportunity for much lulz, and there have been many suggestions for TRUMP to donate US$976.56 because, well, she's like 1/1024th Indian, and a deal's a deal. Lindsey Graham, for all his other faults, knows TOP KEK when he sees it, and is scheduled for his own DNA test because he might turn out to be more Indian than Warren. Literal godling Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D. (MIT) and Inventor of Email is, of course, continuing his Fake Indian Barrage with full justification now, and loyal pedes have discovered that Obama was, after all, not the first black president because six POTUSes before him had more than 0.1% African DNA... DNA that should really be carefully protected, in the good Senator's case.

The best timeline.

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