Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam put black shoe polish on his face when he was a medical student 35 years ago to pretend to be Michael Jackson in a dance competition. That revelation has brought a torrent of calls for his resignation.

Elizabeth Warren has pretended to be an American Indian for decades to boost her professional and political prospects — the equivalent of smearing her face with red shoe polish — and yet she intends to go ahead with her presidential bid.

What the Democratic Massachusetts senator did is every bit as offensive as what Northam did, perhaps more so. Northam’s bit of poor judgment appears to be an isolated incident deep in his past, committed before he entered public service.

Warren continued her egregious behavior until just days ago, when she finally admitted she was no Indian and apologized.

DNA tests Warren submitted herself indicate she has a Native American ancestor six to 10 generations back. And while she initially waved the report as vindication of her claim to Indian heritage, her 1.5 percent Indian DNA is about the average for European Americans.

My DNA analysis came back 1 percent African. But I would never attempt to pass myself off as African-American to a potential employer.

 Yet that’s what Warren did. When she was hired by Harvard, the university celebrated the addition of a Native American female professor to its staff.

Answering critics, Warren said she never officially claimed to be Indian. Then last week the Washington Post uncovered her 1986 registration card for the Texas Bar, in which she answered the race question by writing in “American Indian.”

Warren explains she was led to believe as a child she was an Indian, despite her Anglo appearance and WASP upbringing.

But she knew that wasn’t true. She also understood the benefits that might be gained from claiming Indian heritage.

Doing so would qualify her for affirmative action programs aimed at increasing minority representation in the workplace. Maybe her false claim had nothing to do with her landing the Harvard post, but the university certainly was proud to have a Native American on its faculty, and boasted of the addition of another woman of color.

What Warren did amounts to a unique form of racism. Claiming minority status to benefit from programs aimed at helping underrepresented groups cheats those who actually have endured bigotry and oppression. Not content with the privileges she already enjoyed as a well-to-do white woman, she grabbed for the few advantages available to minorities.  

Warren was a free rider on the victim train.

If Northam’s blackface moment disqualifies him as governor, then Warren’s career-long deception about who she really is should eliminate her from the presidential sweepstakes, and perhaps even the Senate.

In running for her current office, she told voters she was something she wasn’t — a member of a minority group still struggling for equality in America. Would they have felt the same about just another average white girl on the ballot? 

Elizabeth Warren is a fake. We don’t need another fake in the White House. Or in the Senate.

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