Tomahawk chops, war whoops, and the bubbling racism at the heart of Scott Brown’s Senate campaign

I thought, a few days ago, in their first televised debate, when Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts said of his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, “professor Warren claimed that she is a Native American… a person of color… and, as you can see, she’s not,” that we’d reached the nadir of this campaign. I was proven wrong yesterday, though, when the following footage of ‘war whooping’, ‘tomahawk chopping’ Brown staff members surfaced on the web.

The men leading the contingent of doughy-faced, loud-mouthed, middle-aged, white racists, who had gathered outside of the Eire Pub in Dorchester, have been identified as Brown’s Constituent Service Counsel Jack Richard (in the camouflage shirt) and Massachusetts GOP operative Brad Garrett (in the tan baseball cap and gray hoodie).

Brown’s uncanny ability to detect race by visual inspection not withstanding, it would seem that Warren is, as she has stated, 1/32 Native American, as her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, according to the Boston Herald, was identified as Cherokee on her Oklahoma marriage certificate. Brown, though, for the purposes of his campaign, has chosen not to accept this fact, and, instead, paint his adversary as a lying opportunist, who falsely identified herself as Native American in order to attain a faculty position at Harvard.

The Native American community, as you might expect, is not too happy with Brown. Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, who is himself only 1/32 Cherokee, demanded an apology today for what he called the “uneducated, unenlightened and racist portrayal of native peoples.” Baker went on to say, “The Cherokee Nation is disappointed in and denounces the disrespectful actions of staffers and supporters of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse. The use of stereotypical ‘war whoop chants’ and ‘tomahawk chops’ are offensive and downright racist.”

Brown, who is behind Warren in the polls, declined to apologize. He did, however, say that the behavior of these men was not something that he “condoned.” But, right after saying that, he added, “The apologies that need to be made and the offensiveness here is the fact that Professor Warren took advantage of a claim, to be somebody, a Native American, and used that for an advantage, a tactical advantage.” Warren, when asked to respond, said only that she was ­“appalled” by the video of Brown’s staffers. “If this had happened on my staff,” she said, “there would be consequences… serious consequences.”

The whole thing turns my fucking stomach.

Thankfully, however, this may just be the last gasp of a dying movement. At least, that’s what I keep trying to tell myself, as I continue to do my part to eliminate the white race through inbreeding… Speaking of which, did you happen to see South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s quote a few days ago? “The demographics race we’re losing badly,” he said. “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” One hopes that he’s right.

I was going to go on and rant some more, but, instead, I though that I’d share the following clip from an op-ed penned by Kevin Noble Maillard, who, like Warren, happens to be an Oklahoma-born law professor of native ancestry.

If you are 1/32 Cherokee and your grandfather has high cheekbones, does that make you Native American? It depends. Last Friday, Republicans in Massachusetts questioned the racial ancestry of Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate. Her opponent, Senator Scott Brown, has accused her of using minority status as an American Indian to advance her career as a law professor at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas. The Brown campaign calls her ties to the Cherokee and Delaware nations a “hypocritical sham.”

In a press conference on Wednesday, Warren defended herself, saying, “Native American has been a part of my story, I guess since the day I was born, I don’t know any other way to describe it.” Despite her personal belief in her origins, her opponents have seized this moment in an unnecessary fire drill that guarantees media attention and forestalls real debate.

This tactic is straight from the Republican cookbook of fake controversy. First, you need a rarefied elected office typically occupied by a certain breed of privileged men. Both the Presidency and the Senate fit this bill. Second, add a bit of interracial intrigue. It could be Kenyan economists eloping with Midwestern anthropologists, or white frontiersmen pairing with indigenous women. Third, throw in some suspicion about their qualifications and ambitions. Last but not least, demand documentation of ancestry and be dissatisfied upon its receipt. Voila! You have a genuine birther movement.

The Republican approach to race is to feign that it is irrelevant — until it becomes politically advantageous to bring it up. Birthers question Obama’s state of origin (and implicitly his multiracial heritage) in efforts to disqualify him from the presidency. They characterize him as “other.” For Warren, Massachusetts Republicans place doubts on her racial claims to portray her as an opportunistic academic seeking special treatment. In both birther camps, opponents look to ancestral origins as the smoking gun, and ride the ambiguity for the duration.

Proving Native American ancestry is a complex, bureaucratic process. It’s more than showing up at the tribal enrollment office with a family bible and some black and white pictures. Many people are rejected, even when family lore tells them otherwise. Tribal citizenship depends on descent from an enrolled ancestor, and every tribe has its own requirements.

In the Cherokee Nation, there is no minimum blood requirement, which would allow someone with as little as 1/128 Cherokee blood to enroll (that would be a great-great-great-great-great grandparent). Finding that remote relative is not conclusive, however. The ancestor may not have enrolled himself. Or he could have favored assimilation and counted himself as white. Or her application was rejected or she became ineligible for citizenship…

The bottom line is that Scott Brown, down by over two points in the polls, made a decision. Instead of campaigning on real issues that are important to Massachusetts families, he chose to be a despicable, pathetic, race-baiting piece of shit. One hopes he gets what’s coming to him on election day, and the voters of Massachusetts give him the tomahawk chop.

If you’d like to join me in contributing to Warren’s campaign, you can do so here.

[Speaking of racism, today’s post was brought to you by Dearborn, Michigan, “the place where Amarica comes to hate Muslims.”]

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  1. Eel
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I wish Ed Ames were still alive.

  2. anonymous
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Here’s the scenario I’d like to see play out. Romney opens the window of his plane to get some fresh air, gets sucked out, somehow manages to land safely in the middle of a reservation, and gets set upon my war whooping, tomahawk chopping “savages.” It would be a delightful end to this campaign season.

  3. Mr. X
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I think what you meant to say, Anonymous, is that Romney would open the window, and that Brown would be sucked out, landing among the Native Americans, right?

    I’m not one to wish harm on anyone, but I would love to see Scott Brown and his staff try that shit in front of a gathering of the Cherokee Nation.

  4. John Galt
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    You would think, with all their drinking, that Indians would have a better sense of humor.

  5. Elk
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I feel terrible for thinking it, but I think it would be incredible if, halfway through their next debate, a tomahawk came flying from the audience, and split Brown’s head in half.

  6. R2Me2
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    For a liberal state MASS is pretty fucking racist.

  7. Meta
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    There are other reasons not to support Brown. Take this one for instance.

    “Scott Brown Has Held 30 D.C. Fundraisers But Zero Open Town Halls Since Being Elected”

  8. i spy occupy
    Posted September 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    While all of you are “so offended” about some stupid rednecks, America becomes more of a police state. It is ok though, just as long as it is not a repub at the helm, right guys?

  9. Meta
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Their second debate is tonight.

  10. Meta
    Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Brown was at it again during tonight’s debate.

    As with their first debate a week and half ago, the evening began with continued questions about Elizabeth Warren’s claimed Native American heritage.

    “You know, I have answered this question many, many times,” Warren said. “And it starts with the fact that from the day I was born until the day my mother died, she told me about how I am, who we are, who my brothers are, who my family is. And I have never used the information about our Native American heritage to get any advantage — Not to apply to college, not to apply to law school, and not to get hired for any job. I was listed in a directory — I listed myself as Native American. I was listed there. It’s part of who I am.”

    But Brown persisted in casting doubt on Warren’s honesty, saying that she has failed a test of trustworthiness

    “She has also said that as time goes on, I cannot change of who I am. That is the nature of her commercials, I can’t change who I am,” Brown said. “But as we noticed throughout her life — up until she was 38 years old, she was white. And then she self-reported as she referenced, and she changed her nationality to Native American. And as she was being considered for recruitment as a result of that directory, she was being recruited to Ivy League schools. At the pinnacle for success, when she became tenured at Harvard, she then changed back to being white. So when she says she can’t change who she is, she did it twice.”

    Warren replied by pointing out that Boston Globe investigated the story, and found that according to everyone who had hired her — including former Reagan-era Solicitor General Charles Fried, who said he has voted for Brown — this was not a factor or something they were aware of.

    Read more:

  11. Meta
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Karl Rove’s robo-calls against Warren have begun.

  12. Meta
    Posted October 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Warren did great in the last debate.

  13. Robert
    Posted November 4, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    For all you yahoo political commentators, I’ll just re-post my comment from January 26, 2010, regarding Scott Brown’s narrow win in that special election:

    “The significance of this is being overplayed by both sides. The underdog party in any state has its best chances in a special election like this. That is especially true when the underdog is the GOP due to the fact that almost everywhere higher turnout benefits the Democrats.

    For one thing, money flowed in from the entire country for Brown because it was the only race in the country at the moment.

    The turnout was 54% of what it was in the 2008 general, and only about 40% of total registered voters. In that perfect environment for the GOP, they got 51.9% of the vote – not a terribly huge margin. It couldn’t be repeated under even slightly less favorable circumstances.

    The Democrats’ loss of the Governor’s race in New Jersey back in November was a more significant upset statistically.

    Of course the GOP and the Tea Party are going to get as much PR from this Brown win as they can. Likewise, the Democrats are going to try to use it as a “wake-up” call to their base of Obama supporters. Therefore, everybody has an interest in exaggerating the significance of Brown’s win.

    Here’s my prediction; No matter what happens, that seat will be held by a Democrat by 1/4/2013. Either Brown will switch parties or he’ll be beat in the 2012 general…even if Obama loses his bid for a second term in the same vote.

    I’ll take bets on that one if anybody’s interested.”

  14. Mr. Y
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I know this conversation has been dead for some time now, but I think it’s worth pointing out that Glenn Beck is a racist asshole.

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