Senator Scott Brown, the Republican running for re-election in Massachusetts, is receiving criticism that he is running a racist campaign against his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren.
The Maddow Blog points out when this line of attack against Warren, specifically for her ethnic heritage, sank to its lowest and most disturbing point. Specifically, Brown’s taxpayer-funded aides mocked Native Americans with fake war whoops and tomahawk chops at a rally for the senator’s campaign over the weekend. The Cherokee nation issued the following statement, in which they accused Brown’s aides of “offensive and racist behavior,” and demanded an apology:
“The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse,” the chief, Bill John Baker, said in a statement. “The use of stereotypical ‘war whoop chants’ and ‘tomahawk chops’ are offensive and downright racist. It is those types of actions that perpetuate negative stereotypes and continue to minimize and degrade all native peoples.”
When asked about the video (embedded below) in which Scott Brown’s aides seemingly mock Native Americans, the Senator issued this statement:
“It is certainly something that I don’t condone,” he said. “The real offense is that (Warren) said she was white and then checked the box saying she is Native American, and then she changed her profile in the law directory once she made her tenure.”
The DailyKos notes that the statement does not contain an apology, and is re-directed into another attack at his opponent.
However, The Boston Herald reports that Elizabeth Warren has attempted the shift the focus away from questions regarding her heritage, despite other Native Americans demanding that she explain or prove her heritage claims. Earlier this month, she told reporters at the Democratic National Convention: “I’ve answered these questions, what I’m here to talk about (is) what’s happening to America’s working class families.”
Questions regarding her heritage re-emerged after members of a council of Democratic Native Americans were reportedly outraged that Warren listed herself as a minority in a law school directory (for at least nine years) without any proof to back up the claim.
Two wrongs certainly don’t make a right, and if Brown’s aides still have their jobs, then he’s a fool for sure. However, Warren is playing fancy rhetorical footwork regarding her heritage, and something tells me we’re not getting the whole story from her. She may very well have lied for personal advantage, or it was an honest mix-up, but her reluctance to clarify is troubling. In any case, I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that Brown is purposefully running a campaign with “racism” in the action-item list.
In any case, the real victims here are the Native American population, who are being insulted and abused by both candidates in this race. They probably deserve an apology from both candidates, just to be safe.
Scott Brown aides video:
Native American delegates at the DNC on Warren’s claims: