Elizabeth Warren it's okay to be White

Elizabeth Warren it's okay to be White

Senator Elizabeth Warren is a white woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. In the infrastructure of systemic racism she has not experienced the same discrimination that a person of color has experienced. And that is fine. She is more impactful and useful if she acknowledges the privilege that comes from being White and advocates to dismantle the systems that sustain the oppression of some over others.

Why did Elizabeth Warren feel compelled to push the narrative that she was part Native American? Regardless of the fact that her great-great-great grandmother on her mother's side was Cherokee it doesn't mean that Ms. Warren's ethnicity; the culture that influenced her and contributed to her development as a human being is Native American. Just because she grew up in Oklahoma where there is a large Native American population it doesn't mean she experiences life as a Native American woman.

Were her traditions, her values, her relationships entrenched in Native American tradition? If they weren't then claiming her Native American lineage seems to be an attempt to claim herself as "other" in order to appear relatable to minorities or even worse to take advantage of any benefits.

[Professor] Warren was identified by Harvard Law as a “woman of color.” Harvard claims her “minority status” did not bear on her hiring, but Harvard promoted Warren’s hire as expanding their campus diversity by hiring a woman with "minority background" onto their faculty. ~Quora

In our current culture some White people who want to be allies feel as if the term white is a four-letter word. They want to detach from it. There is also the sense that "White" doesn't encompass their entirety as a human being. (Welcome to the color of skin categorizing and limiting a person's humanity.)

While Ms. Warren has "verified" she is 1/32 Native American through a DNA test what does it do for the larger cause? What is the impact other than to alienate Native Americans who do not accept her claim? (According to Quora, "The Cherokee Nation released a statement that indicated that DNA testing is NOT recognized in any way as validating membership in Cherokee citizenship and is in fact implying or portraying it as such is damaging to their sovereignty.") While Warren is not claiming citizenship how does her personal claim move the conversation about race, ethnicity, identity and inclusiveness forward? It doesn't.

It's okay to be White. The appropriation of a culture or the false or exaggerated claim of one's identity within that culture is selfish and does not contribute to dismantling the system. In fact it can actually do the opposite.

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