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Native American and Harvard Alum Blasts Warren, Harvard

5:34 PM, Jun 11, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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A registered Native American and alumna of Harvard has co-authored a column denouncing Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and Harvard University for perpetrating "nothing less than ethnic fraud."

Margo (Kickingbird) DeLaune is a registered member of the Kiowa tribe who attended Harvard's education graduate school and says she is a "lifelong Democrat." In the column, DeLaune blasts both Warren and Harvard for allowing Warren to be listed as a "minority professor" without any proof to the affirmative. From the column:

As an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, 1981 alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, veteran scholastic administrator, and lifelong Democrat, I am profoundly disturbed by the emergence of recent details concerning Harvard and one of its law school’s senior faculty members, Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. Over the course of the past month, facts have come to attention that leave little doubt that the HLS bureaucracy and Professor Warren perpetrated nothing less than ethnic fraud. The development of this saga has elicited a disappointing response from all parties involved and reflects not just a single offense of intellectual dishonesty but, rather, a broader and systemic racial masquerade rooted in egregious insensitivity. Media commentary from both polarities has failed to articulate the troubling implications involved in the deceit in which Harvard Law and one of its most prominent contemporary staffers have engaged for over a decade. I urge fellow Native alumni of Harvard, as well as all American Indians presently associated with any of the University’s schools, to denounce the conduct of HLS and Professor Warren....

What’s so confounding about the efforts of the Warren camp to deflect attention from these realities is that a consideration of the mainstream progressive ethos she publicly embraces fails to support her actions. Rather, the central question here is one of intent: why did Professor Warren list herself as a minority in the AALS directories and in federal compliance statistics when the implicit purpose of the opportunity to ethnically self-identify in a professional context is a function of equal opportunity aspirations? If we lived in a color-blind America, questions of race would not appear on scholastic and employment paperwork because they would be irrelevant; as it is, their presence is not an invitation for entertainment and networking. A seasoned veteran of academia in her late thirties would presumably recognize as much.

If one proceeds from the premise that the objective of affirmative action is to promote mosaics of perspective as didactic apparatuses in and of themselves, then Warren is not an individual who can refer to a personal history defined by either Native culture or Native genetics. It is wonderful that her “family lore” aspires to inclusiveness with its nods to “high cheekbones” but to argue that such vaguely defined allusions are of similar value in shaping a unique world view as regular exposure to and celebration of specific custom, doctrine, and ideology, would be patently false. And if white privilege exists, as numerous proponents of liberalism contend, then it has to be aesthetic as well as cultural. Warren’s experience has, by and large, been that of a Caucasian female American. And so Warren’s motivation in emphasizing a claim to Native lineage becomes a central issue in regard to her credibility.

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