On Monday, I lost a great deal of respect for Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
She allowed Donald Trump to bully her into taking a DNA test that revealed nothing that most of us didn't suspect all along. Yes, she probably has a little bit of Native American blood in her. So do a lot of people.
Science has long proven that there is no pure race in America, especially when it comes to European Americans. We are all mixed with a little bit of something. That makes this entire debate over Warren's ancestry foolish.
But more than that, this senseless feud between Warren and Trump trivializes the struggle Native Americans face in a country that has taken away everything that once belonged to them.
It is another slap in the face from a government that established itself as the trustee of American Indian land and then mismanaged it to the point that Native American reservations are among the poorest communities in the country.
It is an argument that, in the end, can only benefit Trump or Warren. And once again, it strips away another layer of dignity from our nation's indigenous people.
Most of us weren't surprised last year when Trump cracked a joke about Warren's ancestry at the most inappropriate time. It was supposed to be a ceremony honoring a small group of Navajo code talkers at the White House. But Trump couldn't resist.
"I just want to thank you because you're very, very special people," he said. "You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her 'Pocahontas.'"
Since then, Trump has continued to use the nickname at political rallies, though it is widely considered to be offensive. During a rally in July, Trump offered to donate $1 million to a charity of Warren's choice if she took a DNA test and "it shows you're an Indian."
For whatever reason, be it political or personal, Warren took the bait. She enlisted Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamante, an expert in the field of DNA, to do an analysis, and the results were less than shocking. Six to 10 generations back, it turns out, a Native American likely was part of her family.
If that's the case, I might even be more Native American than Warren is. I haven't had a DNA test, but like Warren, my family has passed stories of our ancestry down through generations too.
My great-grandmother was half Creek, the daughter of a slave and a Native American who owned a plantation along the Chattahoochee River in Heard County, Georgia. If the story is true, that would make me three generations removed from Native American heritage. I have a framed picture of my Grandma Sarah Jones in my hallway, along with photographs of other relatives.
But I don't claim to be Native American. I am African-American. Warren is a white American.
Back in the 1990s, when she was a professor at Harvard University, she listed herself as a minority in an Association of American Law Schools directory. She insists that she never benefited from it and that she did it in hopes of networking with others who have Native American roots.
There are lots of people out there who would try to use a minority status if they thought it could help them get a job, win a contract or get some other advantage.
For Native Americans, though, race is not just about leveling the playing field. It is about preserving a fading presence on American soil. It is about recognizing a heritage that represents fortitude, bravery and allegiance.
The little bit of Native American blood running through Warren's veins doesn't make her one of them. Their heritage is not only about biological ancestry; it is as much about cultural identity. It is also about tribal sovereignty, which means a tribe gets to determine Native American identity, not a DNA test or family lore. Warren is sorely lacking in the Native American experience.
There is nothing we can do that would make up for the terrible way we've treated Native Americans over time and continue to dismiss them today. The least we can do is stop trying to get a piece of the little they have left of this country.
Trump has no intention of donating that $1 million to the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center, as Warren suggested.
As much as I dislike his politics, Trump doesn't owe her a dime. However, it would be a wonderful gesture if he made a donation to the program that protects Native American women from violence anyway.
But Elizabeth Warren is not Native American. If anything, the DNA test proved nothing.
Shame on her for continuing to insist that she is.