After seeing some of the debate Thursday night between Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, I was angry. Brown said something that was so racist, I was stunned. He wasn’t claiming to have special insight into Warren’s family history when he claimed, “She checked the box claiming she’s a Native American, and clearly she’s not.” Instead, he was saying, “Clearly she’s white!”
This gave me an idea for a poster: a picture Elizabeth Warren in a Cherokee headdress with a caption that read, “Satisfied Scott?” I thought that got to the heart of Brown’s thinking. He seems to be saying that he knows what a Native American looks like because he’s seen lots of westerns. But brilliant as I thought my poster idea was, I was afraid that people might take it the other way. They might think that I was implying, like Brown, that it was ridiculous to claim that Warren was part Native American.
So I did a Google image search of “Elizabeth Warren Indian.” And I found tons of images like the one on the left. None that I have found are making the point that I was trying to make. Instead, they are examples of what I was trying to spoof.
Yesterday, a Scott Brown staff member and other supporters were caught on video doing “tomahawk chops and war whoops” outside a Brown campaign event. Brown said that he didn’t condone these actions, but he said he wouldn’t apologize because it is Warren who should apologize for claiming to be 1/32 Native American.
This isn’t about the substance of Brown’s claim that Warren got an unfair advantage in her academic career by using this heritage. I don’t think anyone can take this seriously. Warren is a brilliant attorney and that’s why she has reached her position in academia and politics. But Brown can try to make that case.
What comes across is that Brown and his supporters are at best insensitive to our national history of genocide and theft from native peoples. It is horrible and it reeks of desperation.