Just days after the Democratic Party committed to Elizabeth Warren’s floundering campaign for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, black ministers are attacking Warren’s perceived abuse of affirmative action policies to promote herself on the basis of dubious membership in a minority group, the Boston Globe reports. Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry remain unproven–and many other claims about her family have been proven false.
The Globe reports:
“It is within bounds to raise the question of whether or not a white woman used the minority card for her professional advantage,” said [Rev. Eugene F.] Rivers.
“Ancestry is not the issue,” Rivers added, saying that Warren’s handling of the controversy raises questions beyond her heritage. “Did you tell the truth? Because you marketed yourself as the good-guy, straight-shooting-populist, representing-poor-people candidate.”
“Affirmative action — that issue becomes important because it points to who you are,” added the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, executive director of the TenPoint Coalition, who pointed to an assertion that she is 1/32 Cherokee. “I’m thinking to myself, if I was 1/32 white, or of European descent, would I be able to put on an application that I was white? And if you look at a picture of me, you see what I’m talking about. The question is not a trivial one, or one that can just be dismissed as a Republican tactic. And I say this as someone who campaigned for Martha Coakley and I’m independent in terms of my political status.”
Democrats are trying to dismiss concerns about Warren’s claims by accusing Republicans of “race-baiting,” aiming to prevent working-class whites from supporting her candidacy. But there is no more basis for that inflammatory claim than for Warren’s claims of Cherokee (and now Delaware) heritage.
At stake is more than Warren’s candidacy–namely, the reputation of Harvard University, the liberal bastion where she teaches law, also hangs in the balance:
The controversy also gains steam because it involves Harvard — an elite institution that represents the intellectual capital of the country and, to conservatives, the center of liberal idealism.
“Harvard as an institution, as part of Massachusetts’ self-image, is colossal,” said [Republican analyst Todd] Domke. “Whether people want to joke about it, criticize it, or exalt it, it’s still bigger than this Senate race in terms of the whole reputation of the state. It won’t go away because of that — because people feel there’s something a little scandalous about Harvard claiming diversity with a woman who is, according to her family lore, 31/32 Caucasian.”