Prof. Tiya Miles on NPR Discussing Identity and the Warren Controversy

From NPR

MARTIN: Professor Miles, I’m going to give you the final word here. You know, it’s interesting, we live in a time when it seems that we’ve talked a lot more about identity and what it means than many people ever thought we would, in part because we have a president who is biracial, and even now we’re still talking about this. Do you envision that there will be more conversations about this going forward, or do you think that this is just one of those kind of weird happenstances of the fact that this is a person who is participating in a hotly contested political contest?

MILES: I don’t think this is the end. I think that given that we’re having more and more interracial marriages and people who are claiming mixed-race identities who also might want to claim what I’ll call it a fixed-race identity simultaneously, we’ll be approaching this question again and again I think in different circumstances that we can’t even imagine right now.

MARTIN: Is there anything else you wanted to say about this that I didn’t have to wit to ask you?

MILES: Well, I would just like to add, I think part of the crucial issue here is that claiming an identity – at least in my view – has two parts to it. One can claim but I think one also has to be claimed in order for that identity to be fully rounded and I think that’s part of Elizabeth Warren’s trouble, that she claimed this native identity but she has not been claimed nor does she seem to have really reached out to try to be claimed by Cherokee people and by other native academics.

3 thoughts on “Prof. Tiya Miles on NPR Discussing Identity and the Warren Controversy

  1. Richard Monette August 19, 2012 / 4:23 pm

    Hi all. When I first saw this my gut was not to touch it with a ten foot lodgepole. A few days later: what an important topic to garner such thoughtful and voluminous response! Is it just too trivial to address? Do we avoid it? Are we afraid to say something silly about such an important topic? Professor Miles is courageous and thoughtful, and yet I felt my sarcastic blood rising when I read that Professor Warren might help her cause by reaching out to other native academics. (I apologize, Professor Miles, I really do think I know what you meant.) After some discussion among friends we concluded one reason may be (or is) that we have other Profs, including among our ranks, perhaps even who are the most ambitious, even self-promoting, among us. I’m sure I would be the last to provide the most thoughtful commentary on this topic. I simply think of all the family, relatives, friends, and fellow Members who suffer from losing an opportunity to get into school, to get a grant or scholarship, to get a job. I think of how a whole peoples suffer from a few others fraudulently misrepresenting themselves, selling their views as ours, disseminating sometimes even hurtful information, or flat out wrong. I think of classrooms filled with unsuspecting students taking buying fraudulent or simply wrong information hook, line, and sinker. It would be difficult indeed for someone similarly situated to Professor Warren to cast the first stone. Perhaps impossible for someone living wigwam to throw stones at all. Anyway, I will leave my tired biblical signs aside and readily concede and defer to those more thoughtful on the subject. But I will restate my point: this important topic seems to be stiflingly muffled, completely drowned out by the most pregnant of silences. In our field of study, as cases like Adarand make ominous references to Morton/Mancari, or as VAWA resurrects the legal and political significance of membership and residency once again, why must we be so quiet?

  2. Richard Monette August 19, 2012 / 4:26 pm

    oh, can I reply to myself first? When I first write a comment on the side and then paste it in, it always seems to lose a word here and there…

  3. Matthew L.M. Fletcher August 19, 2012 / 4:47 pm

    I think you can edit. I don’t really know. Haven’t made any mistakes yet. Hahaha. 🙂

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