Feature

The absurdity of racial classifications

Is Elizabeth Warren really a Cherokee?

Jeff JacobyThe Boston Globe

Is Elizabeth Warren really a Cherokee? That should be an utterly irrelevant question, said Jeff Jacoby, but it’s been a major distraction in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts. The Democratic challenger, who once listed herself as a Native American because she’s supposedly 1/32 Cherokee, has been mocked by incumbent Sen. Scott Brown as a blond-haired, blue-eyed “Fauxcahontas.” In response, Warren has accused Brown of “attacking my family.” It’s a nonsensical argument, except for one fact: Employers are still legally using racial preferences to achieve the goal of “diversity.” That’s undoubtedly why Warren once listed herself in a directory of “minority law teachers”: Since a great-great-great grandparent was a Native American, she might get special consideration when applying for jobs. So is Warren white, or is she not? Who cares? Classifying people in neat racial categories is both impossible and foolish. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of the day when people would be “judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.” It’s time to embrace that dream. 

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