Here’s a reasonable take on Warren’s DNA results:
Using this data, the original analysis, which was prepared by a respected geneticist, determined that five segments of Sen. Warren’s DNA — totaling about 12.3 million bases (“letters”) — are of Native American ancestry. That might sound like a lot, but the human genome contains more than 3.2 billion bases, which means that only about 0.4% of Sen. Warren’s DNA sequence can be attributed to Native American ancestry.
Thus, the vast, vast majority of her DNA is of European descent. Though her pedigree probably contains a Native American ancestor, he or she existed six to ten generations ago. If a generation is roughly 25 years, that means that Sen. Warren’s (possibly one and only) Native American ancestor lived 150 to 250 years ago.
While that means that Sen. Warren is technically correct that she has Native American ancestry, it falls far short of her rather boastful claims: “I am very proud of my heritage… These are my family stories. This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad, my mamaw and my papaw. This is our lives. And I’m very proud of it.” Alex Berezow, “Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test Tells Us Nothing” at American Council on cience and Health
Yes, that was the problem.
It’s true, people sometimes make up stuff about themselves and come to believe it, and it doesn’t usually matter. As Berezow adds, “I’m proud of my heritage, as well. I might be related to Charlemagne. And Nefertiti. And you probably are, too.” We could all make up stories about ourselves around the marshmallow roast if we wanted to.
But in the age of legal affirmative action and identity politics, it does matter when a major politician makes such claims because they involve entitlements, benefits, and the historical record. Or, as in her case, they do but shouldn’t.
It’s been a curious controversy. For example, there was Warren’s supporters’ tone-deafness to statements like this:
In a stunning rebuke, the Cherokee Nation released a statement saying, “Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage,” and that Warren’s DNA test “makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven.” Ben Shapiro, “Democrats Know They Can Always Count on the Media” at Townhall
“When my momma was 19, and my daddy was 20, they eloped,” she said of her parents, because her father’s family did not approve of his marriage to Warren’s mother, “because my mother’s family … was part Native American”. Jamiles Lartey, “Elizabeth Warren’s DNA release proves it: she’s running for president” at The Guardian
This is a dramatic claim about events in living history. That is, if Warren is 69, her parents were contemporaries of mine (O’Leary for News). If her parents had to elope in the mid-twentieth century because of racism—based on so slight a connection as they must have had to any “race” other than the current census majority in the US—they, and later she, must have lived in an odd community indeed. Yet none of her supporters seem suspicious…
No wonder it is hard to get people’s attention for the progressive war on science.
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See also: Elizabeth Warren Agrees With the Ku Klux Klan on the “One Drop Rule” (Barry Arrington)
Science writer: Academia is in meltdown Berezow: A new survey by Gallup shows that only 48% of U.S. adults have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in academia, down from 57% in 2015.