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There was a fun controversial play in last night’s baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros in the American League championship series involving two of the best and shortest players in baseball. The Astros’ Jose Altuve, last year’s MVP, hit a long flyball that was coming down in the stands. The Red Sox’s Mookie Betts, likely this year’s MVP, leapt above the wall, but there his glove ran into the hands of Astros fans trying to catch the homer hit right at them.

The umpire called the hitter out due to fan interference and sent the baserunner back to first. If he’d called it a homer, that would have scored two runs, which wound up being how many the Astros lost by to fall behind 1 and 3 in best of 7 series.

My view is the umpire was mistaken. The fans were not flagrantly reaching into the field of play to interfere where they did not belong, they were sticking their hands out to try to catch the ball and keep it from whomping them in the groin. I’ve only rarely have had a hardball hit near me in the stands at an MLB park, but it’s pretty terrifying, if it gets past your hands toward your body or face it will hurt. The fans in Houston were engaging in perfectly reasonable self defense against the ball that had been hit 400 feet and was coming at their bodies in the stands..

So I would not have called fan interference. But then what? Was it a homer or was it just a ball in play, probably a double? Baseball does not have a rule like in football where a touchdown is scored the moment the nose of the football touches the imaginary plane rising up from the front of the goalline stripe. If Betts had leaned into the stands and caught the homer, it would have been an out even though the ball had crossed the line between the field and the outfield bleachers and into the promised land of the homer. But it appeared that the ball struck Mookie’s glove, which had been inadvertently closed by his glove slamming into the hands of fans trying to catch the ball so it wouldn’t hurt them. The ball seemed to mostly bounce off Mookie’s glove and back down onto the field.

So I’d say: no interference, no homer, a live ball, probably a double for Altuve.

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From the NYT Opinion section:

Elizabeth Warren and the Folly of Genetic Ancestry Tests

DNA can’t tell us about identity.

I realize I am a horrible extremist, unlike the folks who pronounce so confidently in the New York Times, but it would seem to me that DNA can tell us some things about human identity, which is an interestingly complex subject.

For example, Honolulu preppy Barack Obama may well have had less “lived experience” while growing up of being an African American than did Rachel Dolezal, who grew up with black (adopted) siblings. But Obama had the DNA (and a 150,000-word memoir explaining that his “Story of Race and Inheritance” was all about his “Dreams From My Father”), while Dolezal didn’t have the DNA.

By Alondra Nelson

Dr. Nelson is the author of “The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations and Reconciliation After the Genome.”

Oct. 17, 2018

… The truth is that sets of DNA markers cannot tell us who we really are because genetic data is technical and identity is social.

Or maybe identity is a little more complicated than that?

… To be Native American is to be a member of a tribal community and recognized by that community as such. DNA cannot vouchsafe tribal identity or any other community affiliation.

I’ve often made a similar argument in regard to Senator Warren’s claim, but let me flip that around and point out there are probably individuals who are clearly Native American by biological ancestry without qualifying for membership in any one tribe. Say you have one great-grandparent from each of four Indian nations that require a 1/4th “blood quantum.” Then you wouldn’t qualify for membership in any single tribe, but you’d be half American Indian. It would be quite reasonable for you to therefore self-identify as possessing a reasonable claim to genetic membership in the Indian race as a whole even though you wouldn’t qualify legally for membership in any single Indian nation.

There are probably other cases, such as adoptions and cuckoo’s eggs, where somebody couldn’t legally qualify for tribal membership but would have a decent claim for genetic relationship. For example, on Mike Judge’ sitcom King of the Hill, Bobby Hill’s friend Joseph Gribble is legally the white son of Dale and Nancy Gribble, but is obviously the natural son of their Indian friend John Redcorn, although conspiracy theorist Dale Gribble doesn’t notice.

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Pnin is calculating that if Harvard simply selected admittees randomly among the top 10% of its applicants (as measured on test scores and high school GPA) then

- the Asian share at Harvard would rise from 24.9% to 51.7%,

- the white share would drop slightly from 37.6% to 35.5%,

- the Hispanic share would plummet from 14.9% to 2.7%

- the black share would vanish from 15.8% to 0.9%.

This current black share number (15.8%) is extremely high. Is this related

These numbers come from Table 5.3R on p. 110 of

Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard
No. 14-cv-14176-ADB (D. Mass)

Professor Arcidiacono of the Duke Econ department is a hired gun expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Harvard discrimination case. He’s battling Harvard’s hired gun economics expert David Card. So keep that in mind when evaluating their statements.

This offers an interesting riposte to the ACLU’s recent tweet:

I’m surprised that Harvard has let the black share get so high because my impression is that Harvard has largely been hard-headed about not doing self-defeating things with its admissions policy. Harvard, which is now 382 years old, has been pretty competent over the centuries in admitting students who will be good for the Harvard brand. But making one-sixth of their admittees black means they are getting deep in declining marginal returns.

Perhaps Arcidiacono is playing some kind of game with the data?

Perhaps there is a ratchet effect in terms of black shares? At some point, Harvard’s endowment is doing well, so they spend a lot of money to boost their black share. But then Stanford gets a big windfall and ups the bidding war for black talent. And then Yale jumps in with massive money. Harvard should respond by letting its share of blacks fall as other vastly rich universities go hog wild about bribing blacks to attend. But any decline in blacks could lead to Bad Publicity, so it doubles down. And around and around, until blacks wind up absurdly over-represented at Harvard relative to their academic skills.

Looking at how Asians would be a majority at Harvard under a more objective system, current Harvard president Lawrence S. Bacow must now understand how Harvard president Abbott Lawrence Lowell felt in 1922 when he imposed a quota system to keep the then rising ethnicity’s share down.

The worry in both cases was that if they just let in the top students, Harvard, like Yogi Berra’s former favorite restaurant, would get so popular that nobody would want to go there anymore.


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Asians continue to pull away from the field in college admissions tests, while American Indian well-being appears to be collapsing in recent years.

Otherwise, nothing much ever changes in racial average test scores.

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From The New Yorker:

Elizabeth Warren Falls for Trump’s Trap—and Promotes Insidious Ideas About Race and DNA

By Masha Gessen October 16, 2018

The Trumpian taunt is a trap. A video released by Senator Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, on Monday demonstrates just how it works. …

When ancestry-testing services first appeared in this country a dozen years ago, they found that Americans, at least, tended to have fairly reliable stories about their family heritage. An exception was people who had a family story, usually passed down through a number of generations, of having Native American blood—most often, the legend said that they were Cherokee. For years, geneticists had trouble finding any corroboration for this claim. It’s possible that their tests weren’t sensitive enough, or that they were looking in the wrong place; it is also possible that family stories of having descended from Native Americans were particularly unreliable. Over time, the tests learned to detect ever more subtle signs and patterns, as Warren’s case appears to have done.

First generation testing services had an amusing knack for reporting Ashkenazi Jews as part American Indian: famously, Larry David was declared to be 3/8ths Native American in 2009, which sounds like a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, but actually happened. But they’ve gotten a lot more competent over the years.

… The senator’s video is carefully worded. Warren says that she is laying no claim to citizenship in a tribe. She frames her understanding of her ancestry in terms of experience, though this experience seems fairly well removed: the defining event in Warren’s family was her father’s family’s disapproval of his marriage to her future mother; Warren says that it was the Native American heritage that made her father’s family suspicious. Talking heads from the universities where Warren was employed assure the audience that she has never used her heritage to advance professionally.

I’d find these kind of declarations more persuasive if they included a list of Harvard Law Professors who indeed were hired for Diversity reasons. For example, I’d be impressed if a former dean said on camera: “Senator Warren was completely not a quota hire, unlike, say, Derrick Bell, who is only here because he’s black. If Derrick Bell were white, we wouldn’t have hired him in a million years even if he were the last white man on earth. But Warren was totally different that Bell.”

That’s the kind of hard-hitting inside investigation I’d pay to read.

But, in general, almost nobody in the 49 year history of affirmative action has ever been personally singled out by the Establishment as benefiting from affirmative action according to insiders who made the hire. You are allowed to be vaguely aware that affirmative action exists, but you aren’t ever supposed to think about who exactly got in because of it.

… Warren ended up providing one of the clearest examples yet of how Trumpian rhetoric shifts the political conversation.

Why is the President allowed to intrude in The Conversation? We need to have a national conversation over who is allowed into the conversation. And, more importantly, who isn’t. Why can’t Trump understand that the phrase “the conversation” means STFU, YT?

… She is also reinforcing one of the most insidious ways in which Americans talk about race: as though it were a measurable biological category, one that, in some cases, can be determined by a single drop of blood. Genetic-test evidence is circular: if everyone who claims to be X has a particular genetic marker, then everyone with the marker is likely to be X. This would be flawed reasoning in any area, but what makes it bad science is that it reinforces the belief in the existence of X—in this case, race as a biological category.

Warren’s video will hardly convince a Trump voter, who will see only a woman who feels that she has to prove something. Trump himself has already walked back his promise of a million-dollar charity donation. Warren, meanwhile, has allowed herself to be dragged into a conversation based on an outdated, harmful concept of racial blood—one that promotes the pernicious idea of biological differences among people—and she has pulled her supporters right along with her.

We need to have a conversation about not having a conversation about DNA and race.

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From the New York Times today:

Why White Supremacists Are Chugging Milk (and Why Geneticists Are Alarmed)

By Amy Harmon
Oct. 17, 2018

Amy Harmon is a national correspondent covering the intersection of science and society. She has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for her series “The DNA Age,” and as part of a team for the series “How Race Is Lived in America.” Follow her on Twitter @amy_harmon

One of the many HateGraphs published in the NYT today to show how evil white supremacists are using facts, logic, and science.

Nowhere on the agenda of the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, being held in San Diego this week, is a topic plaguing many of its members: the recurring appropriation of the field’s research in the name of white supremacy.

“Sticking your neck out on political issues is difficult,” said Jennifer Wagner, a bioethicist and president of the group’s social issues committee, who had sought to convene a panel on the racist misuse of genetics and found little traction.

I will put in bold all words like “misconception” and “distortion” so you can know what is Goodthink. (Otherwise, you might, almost, get the impression that Ms. Harmon is trolling the Goodthinkers by dumping a lot of politically incorrect science on them in the guise of deploring what the Badthinkers are up to.)

But the specter of the field’s ignominious past, which includes support for the American eugenics movement, looms large for many geneticists in light of today’s white identity politics. They also worry about how new tools that are allowing them to home in on the genetic basis of hot-button traits like intelligence will be misconstrued to fit racist ideologies.

In recent months, some scientists have spotted distortions of their own academic papers in far-right internet forums. Others have fielded confused queries about claims of white superiority wrapped in the jargon of human genetics. Misconceptions about how genes factor into America’s stark racial disparities have surfaced in the nation’s increasingly heated arguments over school achievement gaps, immigration and policing.

Instead of long-discounted proxies like skull circumference and family pedigrees, according to experts who track the far-right, today’s proponents of racial hierarchy are making their case by misinterpreting research on the human genome itself. And in debates that have largely been limited to ivory-tower forums, the scientists whose job is to mine humanity’s genetic variations for the collective good are grappling with how to respond. …

One slide Dr. Novembre has folded into his recent talks depicts a group of white nationalists chugging milk at a 2017 gathering to draw attention to a genetic trait known to be more common in white people than others — the ability to digest lactose as adults. It also shows a social media post from an account called “Enter The Milk Zone” with a map lifted from a scientific journal article on the trait’s evolutionary history.

In most of the world, the article explains, the gene that allows for the digestion of lactose switches off after childhood. But with the arrival of the first cattle herders in Europe some 5,000 years ago, a chance mutation that left it turned on provided enough of a nutritional leg up that nearly all of those who survived eventually carried it. In the post, the link is accompanied by a snippet of hate speech urging individuals of African ancestry to leave America. “If you can’t drink milk,” it says in part, “you have to go back.”

In an inconvenient truth for white supremacists, a similar bit of evolution turns out to have occurred among cattle breeders in East Africa.

Checkmate, racists!

Scientists need to be more aware of the racial lens through which some of their basic findings are being filtered, Dr. Novembre says, and do a better job at pointing out how they can be twisted.

But the white nationalist infatuation with dairy also heightened Dr. Novembre’s concerns about how to handle new evolutionary studies that deal with behavioral traits, such as how long people stay in school.

Anticipating misinterpretations of a recent study on how genes associated with high education attainment, identified in Europeans, varied in different populations around the world, the lead author, Fernando Racimo, created his own “frequently asked questions” document for nonscientists, which he posted on Twitter.

Racimo has come up with a hypothesis somewhat similar to that of David Piffer’s that we can already guess the findings of the next decade or so of racial genomics research by looking at the genetic-driven traits already discovered to have been under different selection pressures among different populations and assume that we will discover more such DNA to have been selected for by the same selection pressures.

I find that theory interesting, but I’m also perfectly happy to wait out the decade or whatever it will take to find out for sure through ever more accurate huge sample size brute force genomic studies. For instance, we saw the first one million sample size study of the genetic correlates of educational attainment published in July.

The Racimo-Piffer theory might turn out to be a brilliant shortcut, or it might turn out to be mostly wrong because, for example, it could be that blacks are so different from whites genetically that studying how white genomes work doesn’t tell you much about how black genomes work. (That would be ironic.)

For example, if I recall correctly (and I may not), Pygmies appear to be short for genetic reasons that aren’t particularly similar to the genetic reasons why short Europeans are shorter than tall Europeans.

The genetics of height, while still complicated, appears to be much simpler than the genetics of intelligence, so height will likely provide us with possible examples of the various natures of racial differences before IQ gets wholly unraveled (if it ever does).

Anyway, time will tell.

And in a commentary that accompanied the paper in the journal Genetics, Dr. Novembre warned that such research is “wrapped in numerous caveats” that are likely to get lost in translation.

I linked to Dr. Novembre’s commentary in my iSteve blog last May.

“Great care,” his commentary concludes, “should be taken in communicating results of these studies to general audiences.”

As I blogged in response, endorsing Novembre’s caution, “This seems like a pretty reasonable way to proceed.” On the other hand, it’s important that the public keeps an eye out for explicit or tacit agreements among scientists not to investigate major questions, such as the genetics of racial differences in intelligence, for reasons of political correctness.

For example, the Cochran-Harpending theory of why Ashkenazi IQs are high on average, has, to my third hand awareness, been seriously proposed as the subject of a medical study three times, with each time the study getting called off before it began for fear that the results, whatever they might turn out to be, would be politically unpopular.

Back to the NYT:

Already, some of those audiences are flaunting DNA ancestry test results indicating exclusively European heritage as though they were racial ID cards. They are celebrating traces of Neanderthal DNA not found in people with only African ancestry. And they are trading messages with the coded term “race realism,” which takes oxygen from the claim that the liberal scientific establishment has obscured the truth about biological racial differences.

Some scientists suggest that engaging with racists would simply lend credibility to obviously specious claims. Many say that they do not study race, in any case: The racial categories used by the United States census correlate only imperfectly with the geographic ancestry groupings of interest to evolutionary geneticists. “Black,” for instance, is a socially defined term that includes many Americans who have a majority of European ancestry.

Of course, what that means is the opposite of what poor NYT subscribers assume it means: In reality, the average traits of self-identified blacks, including, for example, Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland, Ben Jealous, who looks more like a golfer than a cornerback, are going to be less distinctive in behavior from whites than if only blacks who are genetically highly black are studied.

For example, the last 64 finalists in the Olympic 100m dash going back through 1984 have all been socially identified as black. Judging from their pictures, only a small handful (such as Frankie Fredericks and Jimmy Vicaut) appear to have had much white admixture.

But as the pace of human population genetics research has accelerated, it has yielded results that, to many nonscientists, appear to challenge the idea of race as a wholly social construction. Genetic ancestry tests advertise “ethnicity estimates” (Senator Elizabeth Warren appealed to the perceived authority of DNA this week to demonstrate her Native American heritage, in response to mocking by President Trump), and some disease-risk genes have turned out to be more common among certain genetic ancestry groups. Doctors use patients’ self-identified race as a proxy for geographic ancestry, because individual readouts of DNA are costly, and though the correlation is imperfect, it exists.

As DNA databases tied to medical records and personal questionnaires have reached a critical mass for individuals of European descent, moreover, so-called polygenic scores that synthesize the hundreds or thousands of genes that contribute to many human traits into a single number are being developed to predict health risks, and in some cases, behavior.

Last summer, researchers developed a score that can roughly predict the level of formal education completed by white Americans by looking at their DNA. And while those scores cannot yet be compared among racial or population groups, the new techniques have prompted some scientists to feel it is the field’s responsibility to head off predictable misrepresentations.

“You have to make a judgment when you have powerful information that can be misused,” said David Reich, a Harvard geneticist who has publicly called on colleagues in a recent book and in a New York Times Op-Ed to more directly address the prospect of identifying genetic differences between populations in socially sensitive traits.

There is no evidence, scientists stress, that environmental and cultural differences will not turn out to be the primary driver of behavioral differences between population groups.

At the same time, the advances in genetic technology have put white supremacists into a kind of anticipatory lather.

“Science is on our side,” crowed Jared Taylor, the founder of the white nationalist group American Renaissance, in a recent video that cites Dr. Reich’s book.

Dr. Reich was among those to decline an invitation to lead a discussion on the topic at the San Diego meeting. “I really wanted to return to research,” he said.

The widespread uncertainty among Americans over what scientists know about genetic differences between racial groups, experts say, has left many flummoxed in the face of white supremacist claims that invoke genetics. …

And when a blogger at the far-right Unz Review noted that the DNA variations associated with high IQ in a 2017 study of Europeans were at the lowest frequency among Africans,

No link is given (must protect readers’ innocent eyes), so I don’t know whether that was me, Anatoly, or Dr. James.

the study’s lead author, Danielle Posthuma, wrote in a published reply that such cross-population comparisons were spurious.

Although I’ve mentioned Dr. Posthuma’s name frequently, I’ve been cautious about letting the published papers speak for themselves. We will know more about genetic racial differences and their relation to IQ and educational attainment, if any, with a higher degree of certainty soon enough, so I’m content to wait.

“This,” she wrote, “is a very deep-rooted misunderstanding.”

Update: Although the NYT would not provide a link, that was the Unz Review blog post “Comments on Piffer from Prof Posthuma” by Dr. James Thompson of University College London.

Back to the NYT:

Many geneticists at the top of their field say they do not have the ability to communicate to a general audience on such a complicated and fraught topic. Some suggest journalists might take up the task. Several declined to speak on the record for this story.

And with much still unknown, some scientists worry that rebutting basic misconceptions without being able to provide definitive answers could do more harm than good.

And so forth and so on. A most interesting article

By the way, here’s Ms. Harmon’s 2007 NYT article “In DNA Era, New Worries About Prejudice” about what’s happening now that “genetic information is slipping out of the laboratory and into everyday life, carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA.”

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The brilliant term “Fauxcohontas” appears to have been coined by Mark Steyn around May 4, 2012. But you’ll notice that Donald Trump didn’t use this multilingual neologism, instead reverting to the more straightforward “Pocohontas.”

Now somebody (who?) has come up with the great “Picohontas.”

My guess is that Trump will never, ever use “Picohontas.” This has a double utility to Trump. By not using it, Trump doesn’t alienate the vast percentage of voters who don’t know that “pico” means “one-trillionth.” (I personally guessed it meant one-billionth.)

But also, because Trump doesn’t use a supremely clever insult, he lures in the Establishment Media to insult him as a low brow and thus keep the controversy alive on Trump’s terms: that Senator Warren isn’t very Indian.

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NFL QB Sam Bradford when he was at Putnam City HS in Oklahoma City, along with his parents. Bradford is 1/16th Cherokee and his father, who also played football for the U. of Oklahoma, is 1/8th Cherokee.

There seems to be a lot of confusion over just how American Indian Senator Elizabeth Warren is compared to other white Americans.

Much of this seems to be that few Americans, other than genealogy enthusiasts, can do power of two arithmetic or take reciprocals in their heads. Heck, I screwed up my first tweet on Monday, announcing that Prof. Bustamante’s finding of one unadmixed Native American ancestor within a probability range of 6 to 10 generations ago, most likely 8 generations ago, meant she was most likely 1/256th Indian (which I got right), or 0.2% (which is wrong, it’s 0.4%).

Carl Zimmer of the New York Times is adamant that Senator Warren might have additional Amerindian ancestry that, through her bad luck, has been genetically lost. It’s important to keep in mind that the genetic reshuffling that happens at conception is not exquisitely random, it’s more like a child’s lumpy attempt at shuffling decks of cards.

For example, it’s likely that millions of Americans are descendants of King Edward I of England (1239-1307). On the other hand, most of his current descendents have zero DNA segments that directly descend from this king, so a DNA test would not prove they were descended from him if his bones were dug up and sequenced. On the other hand, a few of his descendants probably do have segments of his DNA.

So Zimmer’s point is true, but it’s also true that Senator Warren’s Amerindian ancestry might appear exaggerated in a DNA study through luck. That’s why Prof. Bustamante estimated a range of six to ten generations ago, with eight as the most probable.

Somebody tweeted that Warren might be less Indian than the average self-identified white American. If Warren had a single Native American ancestor ten generations ago, that would make her 1/1024 Indian, or 0.1%. A 2013 study by 23andMe of their customers who self-identified as white found they were 0.18% American Indian on average.

On the other hand, Bustamante said Warren appeared to be about 10 times more American Indian than his reference sample of self-identified American whites, who were drawn from Utah (i.e., mostly Mormons).

Utah whites have been used by geneticists going back to the HapMap about 15 years ago as a proxy for Northwestern Europeans. The Mormons tended to be recruited either from white Americans who weren’t frontiersmen or from northwestern Europe.

Screenshot 2018-10-17 02.24.13

George Romney, Self Portrait

For example, the Romney family arrived in America from England, where Miles Romney, a convert to Mormonism, was a first cousin of the superb English society painter George Romney, who was intensely English-looking.

In contrast, other ethnicities of American whites, such as East Coast ethnics like Martin Scorsese and Donald Trump aren’t very Amerindian at all.

On the other hand, the Scots-Irish might be slightly more likely to have an Amerindian ancestor because they tended more often to be frontiersmen.

For example, I have a brother-in-law who was born in West Virginia and served 20 years at the bottom of the ocean as a nuclear sub powerplant technician. Whether he has any Indian ancestry or not is uncertain (he was orphaned young), but he’s a teetotaler: whether he’s part Indian or all Scots-Irish, he thinks it’s a good idea to avoid liquor.

It’s a complicated question whether there was more stigma or glamor associated with being somewhat American Indian by ancestry in the past. Current Year people tend to assume that the stigma associated with being part black applied to other races, but that’s not at all indisputable. For example, Westerners such as Mark Twain tended to be prejudiced against part-Indians (e.g., compare the villainous half-breed Injun Joe in Tom Sawyer to the lovable slave Jim in Huckleberry Finn), but Easterners such as James Fennimore Cooper tended to be prejudiced in favor of part-Indians.

Over time, as Indians stopped being a threat, opinion shifted in their favor. For example, Herbert Hoover’s vice president Charles Curtis may have been 3/8ths Indian. As a child, he lived on an Indian reservation in Kansas and spoke Kaw before he spoke English. This seems to have added a little glamor to his resume.

Oklahomans, such as Warren, tend to be the most mixed of Old Americans. For example, consider the journeyman NFL quarterback Sam Bradford, who won the 2008 Heisman at the U. of Oklahoma. From the New York Times in 2008:

Sooners’ Bradford Is Accidental Cherokee Hero

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — … Entering Saturday’s Red River Rivalry between No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 5 Texas, Bradford is at the forefront of Heisman Trophy conversations, and at the center of attention in the Cherokee Nation, the second-largest tribe in the United States.

Bradford is believed to be the first Cherokee to start at quarterback for a Division I university since Sonny Sixkiller, a full-blooded Cherokee, who was born here and starred at Washington in the early 1970s.

But Bradford is just one-sixteenth Cherokee and until Oklahoma publicized that heritage last season, his father Kent said he had probably only talked to his son about it two or three times as he grew up in Oklahoma City. Kent Bradford said his great-grandmother, Susie Walkingstick, was a full-blooded Cherokee.

The elder Bradford, who was an offensive lineman at Oklahoma in the 1970s, said: “There’s a lot of people in Oklahoma that have Indian blood. I wasn’t brought up to really know much about it. I can’t really give him a lot of information either.

“At times, it’s somewhat awkward in that he and I are indeed portrayed as Indians,” he said. “We do have some Indian blood, but that isn’t us out there counting that.”

Warren’s home state of Oklahoma, the former Indian Territory that Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer light out for at the end of Twain’s masterpiece, is famous for its high percentage of people who are part white and part Indian. Famous Americans born in Oklahoma include:

Jim Thorpe, the great athlete who is thought of as Indian, but was part white on both of his parents’ sides.

Will Rogers, the radio comedian who might have been the most popular celebrity in America in the early 1930s. He is said to be 9/32 Cherokee.

Maria Tallchief, the most famous American ballerina of the 1950s, whose father was the chief of the oil-rich Osage Indians.

Chuck Norris, martial arts actor, claims to have some kind of Cherokee roots.

Johnny Bench, catcher for the 1970s Reds, is said to be 1/8th Choctaw.

Robert L. Owen, one of the first two Senators from Oklahoma (along with the blind Thomas Gore, Gore Vidal’s beloved grandfather). In 1906 as the lawyer for the Eastern Cherokee, he won a settlement of nearly $5 million from the federal government for Cherokee lands in the east taken in the 1830s. In the Senate, his Glass-Owen bill founded the Federal Reserve. His mother was 1/8th or 1/16th Cherokee, but skillfully emphasized her Indian roots.

Other Oklahomans claiming Indian descent include evangelist Oral Roberts. American Indians who ended up in the Oklahoma territory, include Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, and Stand Watie, the Confederate general. Oklahoma-born celebrities who probably weren’t at all Indian include Mickey Mantle and Woody Guthrie.

I get the impression from looking at lists of famous Oklahomans that Oklahomans, for better or worse, tend to be more American than you or I could ever hope to be.

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In her new book Not All Dead White Men, woke classicist Donna Zuckerberg denounces Pick-Up Artists Roosh V and Roissy for reading Ovid’s Art of Love for tips. But is real target of her ire her brother Mark Zuckerberg’s obsession with the Emperor Augustus?

From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

From Classics to Grievance Studies

One of the more curious books of 2018 is Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age by Donna Zuckerberg. She is the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is America’s leading fan of the Emperor Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire.

Dr. Donna, who has a Ph.D. in classics (the study of ancient Greece and Rome), is alarmed and angered. Exactly why is less than clear, but she’s found an amusing ostensible target: the new right’s enthusiasm for her discipline.

Read the whole thing there.

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Or maybe Don’t Believe Beckys!

Also Abolish All False Positives by ignoring potential costs (such as death, rape, and robbery) of False Negatives.

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Tariq Nasheed is right. From the Washington Post in 2011:

One of the nation’s largest American Indian tribes has sent letters to about 2,800 descendants of slaves once owned by its members, revoking their citizenship and cutting their medical care, food stipends, low-income homeowners’ assistance and other services.

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In a surprise announcement this afternoon, Senator Elizabeth Warren was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine / physiology for dispelling decades of “Race is just a social construct” obfuscations by demonstrating that race is a scientific biological reality that can increasingly be measured down to tiny fractions. The citation lauds Senator Warren for her breakthrough discovery of the racial elementary particle now known as the “micro-smidgen.”

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I am looking forward to the rebound controversy tomorrow in which the Prestige Media takes Trump’s bait and runs stories denouncing Trump for LYING that Senator Elizabeth Warren is only 1/1000th American Indian when the Settled Science suggests she is actually more likely 1/256th American Indian.

In his recent memoir of working for Richard Nixon in 1966-68, Pat Buchanan pointed out a trick Nixon repeatedly played on the press. Pat would write a line like, say, “A recent audit of the Bureau of Indian Affairs found that 92% of the budget was wasted.” Nixon would change the number to 98%.

The press would run his remarks about 98% wasted, then the next day make a big deal about how Nixon was WRONG, the real number isn’t 98% wasted it’s just 92% wasted. Nixon pointed out to Buchanan that that way he got the story he wanted to campaign upon in the newspapers for two days instead of just one day.

More generally, how is this controversy between the Establishment Media and the President over exactly what tiny fraction of Senator Warren’s ancestry entitled her to apply for Affirmative Action and claim the mantle of Diversity as an American Indian going to work for the Democrats’ benefit in November?

Normally, the establishment press really, really doesn’t like talking about the workings of the affirmative action system at all, only bringing it up usually when it reaches a court case. But now everybody is talking about this farcical case.

We are all supposed to be talking about White Privilege and how Race Is Just a Social Construct, not about how an extremely white woman engaged in Flight from White as she was building her career and defends herself today by saying race is so incredibly scientifically real that scientists can measure her 1/256th Native American ancestry.

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From CNN:

Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test with ‘strong evidence’ of Native American ancestry
By Rebecca Berg, CNN

Updated 7:54 AM ET, Mon October 15, 2018

Senator Warren had her DNA analyzed not by the usual commercial testing services but by a Stanford professor, Carlos Bustamante, who writes:

(3) The total length of the 5 genetic segments identified as having Native American ancestry is 25.6 centiMorgans, and they span approximately 12,300,000 DNA bases. The average segment length is 5.8 centiMorgans. The total and average segment size suggest (via the method of moments) an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the pedigree at approximately 8 generations before the sample, although the actual number could be somewhat lower or higher (Gravel, 2012 and Huff et al., 2011).

If I’m doing the arithmetic correctly, eight generations is 1/256th or 0.4% Native American. Eight generations ago would be a single great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent.

Am I doing the math right, or is there a different way of interpreting “8 generations before the sample”?

Senator Warren has been claiming that her Cherokee ancestor was only five generations ago, which would have made her 1/32nd Indian. But her hired geneticist Prof. Bustamante concludes that that isn’t in the range of probability:

Conclusion. While the vast majority of the individual’s ancestry is European, the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the individual’s pedigree, likely in the range of 6-10 generations ago.

What this implies is that one of Senator Warren’s great-great-great-grandmothers was, most likely, about 1/8th American Indian but nobody in her family would ever let her forget it: Make sure that Great-Grandma only gets a glass of sarsaparilla and not any of the the corn likker, or she’ll go on the warpath, cuz you know how those redskins are.

As I explained in my Taki’s column “The Affirmative Action Honor System,” the affirmative action system doesn’t collapse into farce, the way it is doing in Brazil, because white Americans, with Senator Warren as a conspicuous exception, seldom try hard to exploit its ambiguities.

Senator Warren, for instance, claims that one of her 32 great-great-grandparents was a Cherokee or Delaware Indian (or both). Nor do most Americans have a pedigree as thoroughly documented as do thoroughbred racehorses, whose ancestors can sometimes be documented back to the 17th century.

To deal with this, American Indian nations each have their own rules for who is entitled to membership (and thus, in recent decades, who gets a share of the profits from the one casino each tribe has the right to own).

For example, the Cherokee require members to be directly descended from at least one person on the Dawes Final Rolls of 1907. Of the two tribes of Delaware Indians in Oklahoma, one uses a similar rule and the other requires applicants to be at least one-eighth Delaware by “blood quantum.”

Senator Warren qualifies under none of these measures. Yet, she did have herself listed as Native American at Harvard Law School, which used her assertion to statistically claim greater diversity of faculty. (Warren also contributed several old family recipes to a 1984 cookbook of American Indian cuisine entitled Pow Wow Chow, including that essential Plains Indian dish: crab with mayonnaise. This recipe may have been lifted from a 1979 newspaper column by a French chef who says this dish was a great favorite of legendary Indian chiefs Cole Porter and the Duchess of Windsor.)

Warren is a law professor from Oklahoma, so she surely knew that the Cherokee have a bright line system for determining who gets to call themselves a Cherokee and that she definitely didn’t qualify.

On the other hand, one could theoretically be descended from enough American Indian tribes without qualifying for membership in any single one that an outside observer might consider you to have a legitimate claim to be a generic Native American. But what level of descent that would require has never been established, and if it ever were, Senator Warren would be unlikely to meet it. (Just look at her.)

In any case, being part Indian has never been all that detrimental in American history. For example, Herbert Hoover’s vice president, Charles Curtis, grew up speaking Kaw. His Indian blood just added a touch of glamour to his résumé.

Well, at least we now know, according to the Democratic Party, that race not only exists, but the biological reality of race is extremely real.

Update: Nick Patterson comments:

I’m a population geneticist who has worked extensively on admixture, including the genetics of the Americas.

1. Carlos Bustamante is a world expert in exactly the area of admixture of indigenous genetics into the general population of the Americas. He may be a “hired geneticist” but you should believe his technical results. In this specific area he will be more reliable than the big commercial outfits.

2. A 5th generation “Cherokee” ancestor might easily be 50% White. Thus the actual Native American ancestor would be 6th generation. You can’t expect family lore at this remove to be exact.

The simplest conclusion is that Senator Warren has been telling the truth here. This issue should be dropped. A slim hope indeed.

Nick Patterson

This is his first comment on my iSteve blog. Nick Patterson shouldn’t be confused with other commenters named Nick.

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From the New York Times today:

The Senate: Affirmative Action for White People

And why it’s time to make Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., the 51st and 52nd states.

By David Leonhardt
Opinion Columnist

Oct. 14, 2018

The biggest racial preferences in this country have nothing to do with college admissions or job offers. They have to do with political power. And they benefit white Americans, at the expense of black, Asian and Hispanic Americans.

These racial preferences are the ones that dictate the makeup of the United States Senate. Thanks to a combination of historical accident and racism, the Senate gives considerably more representation to white citizens than to dark-skinned ones. It allows a minority of Americans — white Americans — to wield the power of a majority.

I wrote in VDARE in 2009:

No states have been added to the Union in a half century. But the issue dominated American politics in the 40 years preceding the Civil War. And it’s likely to emerge again.

The Democrats have solid reasons to promote Washington D.C. and/or Puerto Rico to statehood whenever it looks like they can get away with it. Each would provide them with two additional Democrats in the U.S. Senate, along with five or six Democratic members of the House of Representatives for Puerto Rico and one for Washington D.C., with corresponding advantages for the Democrats in the Electoral College.

Of course, the last time Puerto Rican statehood came up for a vote in the House, it was pushed through to a 209-208 victory by a Republican, Speaker Newt Gingrich, motivated by the delusion that Puerto Rican statehood would somehow attract Mexican voters to the GOP! …

Newt’s misadventure illustrates why statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. is likely to come up again. It’s kind of like gay marriage—which, after losing 31 straight times when put to the electorate, has been renamed “marriage equality”. What, are you against equality? Likewise, statehood for D.C. and P.R. will at some point be turned into racial equality issues—which are hard to withstand under our age’s reigning mindset.

You’re against electoral equality? What kind of racist are you?

Threatening to split Texas into five states would be an effective Republican counter-gambit.

I have no idea if this is actually true, but I was told when I went to college in Texas that Texas has the right, under its terms of admission in the 1840s, to split itself into five states. The average population of these five states would be about 5.7 million, just under the average state in the country, and considerably bigger than depopulating Puerto Rico and much bigger than D.C.

States have split before. …

Depending upon how adroitly the state borders are gerrymandered, splitting Texas could create a net gain for Republicans in the Senate of two or four Senators. Texas currently sends two Republicans to the Senate. Five Texases would likely send seven or eight Republicans to the Senate, for a net increase of two or four—assuming most of the Democrats are corralled into a new Hispanic-dominated state of South Texas along the Rio Grande. Creating a heavily Hispanic state in south Texas would almost certainly add two Latinos to the Senate—how could anybody be against that? Republicans would be delighted to demonize Democrats who opposed splitting Texas as racists who don’t want Hispanics to have their own state.

Here’s Nate Silver’s 2009 map of what the five states of Texas might look like:

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This genre of anecdote won Ta-Nehisi Coates a $625,000 MacArthur Genius Grant for his tale of an Upper West Side white lady who was mean to his son on an escalator.

I’m sure your $625,000 will be along shortly, too, @gabrielsherman.

Oh, wait, you’re not black, so nobody cares.

Never mind.

By the way, that reminds me of all the smart white people who claim to be absolutely convinced by TNC’s argument that nobody should ever be allowed to notice that blacks on average aren’t as smart as some other races because that is dehumanizing to blacks.

Personally, I would find TNC more persuasive on this score if he’d refused his $625,000 MacArthur Genius Grant as dehumanizing all the other blacks who aren’t official Geniuses. But for some reason, TNC didn’t find his own logic terribly smart when it came time to cash his $625,000 check.

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Victoria Bissell Brown, retired Grinnell history professor and author of Washington Post op-ed “Thanks for not raping us, all you ‘good men.’ But it’s not enough,” is almost certainly the daughter of the late character actor Whit Bissell (1909-1996). Most references to him mention that one of his daughters is named “Victoria Brown” and her Facebook page says she grew up in Santa Monica.

Whit Bissell was a WASP blueblood and yachtsman, son of a prominent NYC surgeon, who went on to do many supporting roles as white male professional authority figures in sci-fi and horror movies and TV shows.

Basically, he made a nice living playing men like his father, the surgeon. For example, he was the commanding officer on the TV show The Time Tunnel, which was a favorite of mine about 50 years ago.

He had a lot of real life command presence as well, being a leader in the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy. When, late in life, he moved into the SAG old folks home in Woodland Hills, he immediately became a leader among the residents.

Here’s Professor Bissell Brown’s dad testifying as a psychiatrist in The Caine Mutiny:

Here is Whit as Mr. Lurry in the famous “The Trouble With Tribbles” episode of Star Trek:

Whit also played a mad scientist psychiatrist to Michael Landon’s teenager in I Was A Teenage Werewolf.

So maybe her hysteria is a tad histrionic?

Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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