By Cole R. DeLaune
DeLaune seems to think liberals were inconsistent for criticizing Brown's comments about appearance but not Warren's. Wrong. Indians and other liberals widely lampooned Warren's "high cheekbones" remark. If you think she got a free pass on that remark, you weren't reading the news.
No liberal criticism of Warren?
It would've been wise to verify these claims, but she was under no legal obligation to do so. Whenever she claimed to be Native, she apparently thought she was Native enough to do so.
The counterargument, I guess, is that she secretly researched her heritage and found she wasn't Native. Or that she should've sought tribal enrollment if she believed she was Native enough. Or that she should've consistently listed herself as white or Native, even though people with some Indian blood often use both labels.
The so-called satire--war whoops and tomahawk chops--conveys none of these subtle arguments. It doesn't convey anything except a racist notion of what an Indian is. It's no different from what sports fans do when they're encouraging a Native-themed team. Or what little kids do when they ignorantly stereotype Indians as savages.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: When a so-called satire is indistinguishable from a racist attack, there is no satire. We can't mind-read Brown's supporters to learn which ones intend the "satire" and which ones don't. What they're conveying isn't "Warren would be an Indian if she had 1/32 Indian blood and enrolled in a tribe, but she's a phony because she hasn't met these conditions." What they're conveying is "Indians are savage brutes who would rather scalp someone than play by the rules. And so is Warren."
For more on this subject, see:
"Jokes" without punchlines are racist
Landover satirizes "Injun sin"
DJs learn not to satirize Natives
Okay to satirize in "satires"?
Racist to spurn Indians?
When an individual so deliberately and consistently refuses to engage with a specific minority group, such aversions are generally regarded in and of themselves as commensurate with one pillar of personal bigotry. Imagine if any other candidate so repeatedly declined to acknowledge African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, LGBT men and women, Catholics, Mormons, Christians, or the members of another cultural community. Such demographics should consider how effectively Professor Warren will champion their interests in the Senate when she projects such transparent antagonism and explicit contempt toward the people with whom she insists she is so “proud” to share a heritage that has “always been a part” of her identity.
1) Do we know that Warren has met with "African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, LGBT men and women, Catholics, Mormons, Christians, or the members of another cultural community"? I don't and I doubt DeLaune does either.
2) Indians are only partly a "cultural community." Unlike the groups on DeLaune, they're a political group as well because of their sovereign status. Has Warren met with representatives from China, Iran, or Palestine? Would she if they demanded to see her for the purpose of challenging her position? I doubt it.
3) The reason Warren is avoiding Indians is because she doesn't want to answer their questions. Not because she has some sort of aversion to them. In a tightly controlled political campaign, a Democrat usually doesn't give interviews to Rush Limbaugh, the NRA, or anti-abortion groups. Indians are like that at the moment--a political (not racial) group--that she wants to avoid.
I agree with DeLaune's arguments about what Warren should do: meet with Indians, answer their questions, and so forth. But I don't consider her "racist" because she hasn't done them. Sure, she may be prejudiced against Indians despite choosing to be one occasionally. But refusing to address their politically-based questions isn't evidence of racism.
Meanwhile, DeLaune is giving a free pass to Scott Brown for some unaccountable reason. Brown has stoked a race-based crusade against Warren based on an inconsequential part of her history. He didn't fire any of his staffers for the racist actions he provoked. All he did was claim he doesn't condone those actions.
Well, whoopee. Coming from the guy who's trying to launch a mini-race war, that's nothing. Brown is pandering to his white followers' racial fears, and they've responded the way whites always respond. Namely, with ugly stereotypes to bolster their weak-kneed courage against the scary "other." Brown has encouraged people to attack Warren and he's ultimately responsible for those attacks.
For more on Elizabeth Warren, see My Thoughts on Brown vs. Warren and More Racism from the Brown Campaign.
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