Genetic ancestry tests often confirm more than family stories of distant kinship. Sometimes the results expose an innate prejudice in the mind of the person tested.
Take Elizabeth Warren as an example. She has been in the news again over her claims of Native American ancestry, possibly from Cherokee or Delaware origins. Her claims are based on family stories handed down through the generations to her mother and then to her.
Many Americans have similar family stories. We tell them to our children or talk about them at family reunions. Other than bragging about them in elementary school, such stories are kept in the family. Not so with Elizabeth Warren. She took her family stories a step further when she used them to self-identify as a Native American minority during her law school days.
Warren continued with her ancestral claim until it was accepted as fact. Later on as a Harvard Law School instructor, Warren’s Native American ancestry was used to shield the university when it was criticized for having a lack of diversity within the faculty.
Warren’s ancestral claims were challenged during her 2012 Senate race. She clung to them without offering any corroborating evidence. Donald Trump has been taunting her publicly since then.
As a way to prove her family stories true, Warren recently submitted her DNA for a genetic ancestry test. The result? She has a smidgen of Native American DNA. She rolled out the news in a video explaining the test and that her Native American ancestor existed some six to ten generations ago.
Warren’s DNA test may validate her claim of distant Native American genetic ancestry but her reliance upon it brings to mind the “one-drop rule” or, as the courts termed it, the “traceable amount rule” that used to apply to African-Americans. Created during slavery days and continued by the Jim Crow era segregationists, the rule meant a person was considered black if he had any traceable black ancestry regardless of his cultural upbringing.
While waving her DNA results in Trump’s face, Warren revealed how little she understands the differences between race, ethnicity, and culture – strange since she comes from a political party addicted to practicing identity politics.
Warren’s belief that a drop of Native American genetic material somehow mystically transmutes to her the Native American experience along with the right to claim a minority status is inherently racist and insulting to those minorities who have truly experienced racial oppression.
Regardless of her genetic tests, Warren’s cultural identity springs from her white middle-class Oklahoma Methodist upbringing. We know this by understanding that genetics, not blood, determines a person’s race. Shared experiences, beliefs and behaviors shape a person’s culture. A sense of shared cultural identity creates a person’s ethnic group and that race may or may not be a significant part of defining that ethnic group.
Democrats exploit these differences. Having turned almost completely to identity politics as their main political strategy, the Democratic Party has ceased to be a mainstream party and have become a coalition of extreme outliers ready to explode over the latest social media fueled pseudo-crisis. They relentlessly attack traditional cultural values while promoting beliefs shared by few Americans. Victory for them comes from an America kept divided by past oppressions, as defined and redefined by them, rather than an America united with future opportunities open to all.
Donald Trump understood this during the last presidential campaign. Democrats bet on small group identity politics. Trump bet big on American exceptionalism and won. Undeterred by defeat, Democrats continued with their small group strategy culminating in the Kavanaugh confirmation debacle. They lost to Trump again when Kavanaugh was confirmed.
In a recent New York Times opinion piece, Ross Douthat declared that the biggest culture war in the Trump era is about sex and gender, not race and ethnicity. He is wrong. The biggest culture war is the war waged by Democrats on American exceptionalism and opportunity. Americans seem to understand this now and the upcoming mid-term elections should result in another Democratic Party failure.