Before we get too deeply involved in the silly story about Elizabeth Warren having to prove through DNA testing that she is, indeed, part Native American, let’s not forget something too much of the mainstream media has allowed to drift out of everyday conversation. The man who kept demeaning Warren by calling her “Pocahontas” is the man who also tried to demean the nation’s first black president in a similar way.
Donald Trump is the face of the bigoted birtherism conspiracy theory that asserted that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States, which supposedly makes Obama a non-American. Never mind that men such as Ted Cruz and John McCain were not born on U.S. soil, and still ran to become president of the United States. Most of the folks who believed the bigoted birtherism theory about Obama had little problem with Cruz or McCain—the issues raised about them were mostly about arcane readings of the Constitution or simply political. For Obama, it cut deeper and resonated with nearly all of the Republican Party.
If the message they sent was too subtle, here it is: White men like Cruz and McCain are automatically considered full Americans until proven otherwise. Black men like Obama are suspect, and will forever remain suspect, even when idiotic theories are debunked a thousand times over.
And for those who believed Trump’s wife, first lady Melania Trump, would be some kind of steadying force in the White House obviously missed all the times she revealed herself to believe in the bigoted birtherism theory just as much as her husband.
Yes, even a woman who was born in a foreign country and whose U.S. citizenship was granted under suspicious circumstances had the audacity to suggest that the first black president wasn’t fully American. That’s why no one should be surprised that Melania Trump declared recently that she was sending a not-so-subtle message to the media with her much-discussed jacket—something the White House denied at the time.
And even after Obama took the unprecedented step of releasing his long-form birth certificate—something none of the white presidential candidates had to—Donald Trump kept up the bigoted conspiracy theory. That’s who we are dealing with. That’s who Warren was responding to with the release of her very personal DNA results.
It’s nauseating. But it has convinced even some mainstream journalists to ignore the bigotry of Trump’s gambit and instead try to turn this into a legitimate question about Warren’s history:
“While Warren’s DNA analysis might placate some critics, it doesn’t really address why she would professionally identify as a minority/Native American, when in fact it’s a minuscule fraction of her heritage,” tweeted CNN political reporter Rebecca Berg.
People. Stop allowing the Trumps to lead you by the nose. They are comfortable with bigoted conspiracy theories. That doesn’t mean we have to give them credence. Neither should we allow the fast-moving 24/7 news cycle to convince us to forget that this is who they are and likely always will be.