When really smart people explain things they did in a way that makes no sense, I have my doubts

May 3rd, 2012

Elizabeth Warren, who by all accounts is a genius, and played the academic gig to perfection, had this to say about listing herself as a Native American in the AALS directory:

“I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am. Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off,” said Warren.

What a silly, silly explanation. Warren is a brilliant person who knew how to network and schmooze. She was *recruited* by Harvard. I don’t think she needed to list her nationality in a directory that only hiring committees look at in order to meet people. And she just kept checking the box for 9 years, waiting for a luncheon to happen? I gather if you scanned her CV she would have attended countless conferences, colloquiums, etc. This rationale just seems bogus.

Althouse agrees:

So the assertion is that she used it as a way to make associations with other people, to network, with lawprofs, but this was somehow disconnected from career advancement. That’s a strange line to draw and it makes her sound naive. We are talking about the years from 1986 to 1995. That’s a long time, and it’s a period when there was a tremendous amount of attention to the enterprise of increasing racial diversity among faculty.

At first, I left the race box blank on my AALS form. But a wise Professor told me that as a white male libertarian, if I leave it blank, it will look like I have a chip on my shoulder, or am making some statement about affirmative action. It’s beter to list it. So that’s what I did.