DNA de­ba­cle does num­ber on War­ren’s im­age

Boston Herald - - OPINION - Michael GRA­HAM Michael Gra­ham is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to the Bos­ton Her­ald. Fol­low him @IAmMGra­ham on Twit­ter.

The road to hell is paved with good in­ten­tions, but as Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren is learn­ing, the road to the White House is pot­holed with good-in­ten­tions-gone-bad.

And her dopey “I’m an In­dian” DNA test stunt was very bad, in­deed.

Let’s get the ob­vi­ous-though-all­too-rarely-stated out of the way: Liz War­ren’s prob­lem isn’t her ge­netic legacy, it’s her life­style. She’s never lived one minute as a Na­tive Amer­i­can — pe­riod. If there is some shared cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween the Mo­hawks, Mo­he­gans and Mash­pee Wam­panoags, it doesn’t in­volve Liz War­ren. She’s got a life­time mem­ber­ship in the Great Sub­ur­ban White Peo­ple tribe.

Not that there’s any­thing wrong with that … well, un­less you’re a Demo­cratic pri­mary voter, ap­par­ently.

Now that her party is em­brac­ing iden­tity pol­i­tics, War­ren’s wouldbe POTUS cam­paign is hit­ting the skids. What’s a mid­dle-class white lady from Ok­la­homa to do ex­cept dou­ble-down on a du­bi­ous claim of eth­nic eth­nic­ity?

And so she re­leased the re­sults of her DNA test and, be­cause some­body both­ered to check the math, it was a po­lit­i­cal dis­as­ter. Only — as many of us noted at the time — Liz War­ren didn’t re­al­ize it, which was the big­gest dis­as­ter of all. Any­one with a po­lit­i­cal IQ above Nancy Pelosi’s ap­proval rat­ings knew that a DNA test “prov­ing” you’re 1/1,024th Na­tive Amer­i­can is ac­tu­ally a test that proves … you’re not a Na­tive Amer­i­can.

Fi­nally, that news is reach­ing the in­ner cir­cle of the War­ren cam­paign. The New York Times yes­ter­day re­ported: “Ad­vis­ers close to Ms. War­ren say she has pri­vately ex­pressed con­cern” about her DNA doc­u­ment dump. It “may have dam­aged her re­la­tion­ships to Na­tive Amer­i­can groups and her own stand­ing with ac­tivists,” and they’re push­ing her to is­sue “a strong state­ment of apol­ogy.”

And this is where the “good in­ten­tions” part comes in. The pro­gres­sive mob that will pick the next Demo­cratic POTUS can­di­date is mad at her for us­ing … science.

“Ms. War­ren’s al­lies also say she un­in­ten­tion­ally made a big­ger mis­take in tread­ing too far into the fraught area of racial science … her at­tempt to doc­u­ment eth­nic­ity with a DNA test,” writes the New York Times.

Isn’t there an en­tire branch of science — I think it’s called “ge­net­ics” — based on that same idea? Isn’t that the en­tire premise of the whole “23 and Me” thing? Since when is “my race is de­ter­mined by my genes” a con­tro­ver­sial no­tion?

Not among sane peo­ple or sci­en­tists, it’s not. But among lib­er­als and pro­gres­sives …

The Times quotes Kim Tal­lbear from the Univer­sity of Al­berta, who says Sen. War­ren’s use of DNA to back up her “high-cheek­bone” hy­poth­e­sis pro­motes “set­tler-colo­nial” def­i­ni­tions of in­dige­nous­ness. And that def­i­ni­tion is that the de­scen­dants of Na­tive Amer­i­cans are, well, Na­tive Amer­i­can. And the de­scen­dants of every­one else aren’t.

Not any­more. Pro­gres­sives are declar­ing that your race is now like your sex: What­ever you say it is! Which in War­ren’s case should be a win. She’s been (falsely) claim­ing Chero­kee her­itage for decades. Not so fast — be­cause Liz re­lied on science, she’s a sin­ner who must pray for for­give­ness and atone for her sin.

“If she wants to be con­sid­ered the leader of our party or the leader of the pro­gres­sive move­ment, she needs a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion,” says Jen­nifer Epps-Ad­di­son of the Cen­ter for Pop­u­lar Democ­racy. They want to hear Na­tive voices, she says, not “one white woman’s tale of un­der­stand­ing her DNA.”

Hear that, Liz? She called you a “white woman.”

For­get 2020. You might as well drop out now.

NANCY LANE / HER­ALD STAFF FILE

QUES­TION MARKS: Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren has a lot of ques­tions to an­swer after her DNA test re­sults re­gard­ing her Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage.

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