Giving a commencement address on Friday at Morgan State University, a historically black institution, Sen. Elizabeth Warren – who for decades has described herself as a Native American – finally admitted that she is not a “person of color.”
The comments come after the Massachusetts senator and likely 2020 Democratic presidential candidate tries to clean up what many viewed as an embarrassing misstep, after she publicly released a DNA test showing she had no significant Native American heritage, but claimed it proved otherwise.
“I’m not a person of color,” Warren said, “and I haven’t lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the color of your skin. But rules matter. And our government, not just individuals within the government but the government itself, has systematically discriminated against black people in this country.”
In the past, Warren said her parents had to elope because her father’s family was prejudiced against her mother’s Native American ancestry. When she worked as a professor, Harvard University described her as among their minority law professors.
The Hill reports:
In her speech, Warren sought to convey that her progressive stance on issues could benefit minorities.
Warren cast herself as an ally to communities of color in what she said was a fight against “rigged” rules that work against them.
“People with power and influence rigged the rules to line their own pockets. The rules are rigged because the rich and powerful have bought and paid for too many politicians,” she said. “And if we dare to ask questions, they will try to divide us. Pit white working people against black and brown working people so they won’t band together and demand real change. The rich and powerful want us pointing fingers at each other so we won’t notice they are getting richer and more powerful.”
Warren’s speech comes as she mulls a possible 2020 presidential bid.
Her possible candidacy hit a roadblock earlier this year when she publicly released a DNA test in an effort to put to rest a years-long debate over her claims of Native American ancestry. The test infuriated some Native Americans who said the move diminished an ethnicity and identity to a genealogy test.
Warren, the Post notes, has never sought to join a Native American tribe, but has identified as Native American previously.
Following the DNA controversy, some have cast doubt on Warren’s possible presidential aspirations.
The Boston Globe’s editorial board earlier this month said Warren would be a “divisive figure” at a time when Democrats need to present a united front against Trump.