The Last Of The 'Pretendians'?
A U.S. Supreme Court decision may discourage the practice of lying about one's race or ethnic identity to secure admission to a prestigious college or to advance one's career.
Andrea Smith has been a prominent professor / activist in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside, for two decades.
She’s a graduate of Harvard University and the UC School of Law whose work focuses on violence against women of color, especially Native American women.
She’s a co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color against Violence, the Boarding School Healing Project, and the Chicago chapter of Women of All Red Nations.
Smith is not a woman of color.
Smith is not a Cherokee.
Smith is one of a stream of people who have be caught making false claims of ethnic or racial minority status to advance themselves professionally.
She is a “pretendian,” which is a combination of pretend and Indian.
The most famous pretendian may be U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, who claimed in the 1980s that her father’s family wouldn’t allow him to marry her mother because of her mother’s Cherokee heritage so the couple had to elope. A 1997 Fordham Law Review law review article described Warren as the “first woman of color” hired by Harvard Law School.
Warren apologized to the Cherokee Nation in 2019.
Then there was Rachel Dolezal, a former leader of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, WA, and one-time instructor of Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University. She claimed to be black. Dolezal was caught when she claimed to be the victim of a race-related hate crime and her parents told police she was white.
Race Bias Admissions
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision may reduce the incentive for making false identity claims.