Elizabeth Warren has had a tough couple of weeks.

First, the Massachusetts Senate candidate struggled to produce evidence of her Native American ancestry. It now appears that Warren may not be Cherokee, but in fact a descendent of a Tennessee militiaman who forcibly removed Indian families from their land in the lead up to the Trail of Tears.

Ouch.

Warren’s selective claims of her Native American roots has elicited considerable backlash from her detractors and Cherokee leaders for her misuse of affirmative action policies to advance her career.

Her case is reminiscent of another incident out of Massachusetts involving the Malone brothers. The twin brothers, who identified as white Irish men, applied to the Boston Fire Department in 1975 but were rejected after failing the Civil Service exam. After discovering that their maternal great-grandmother was a light-skinned black woman, the Malones reapplied in 1977 – this time identifying as black. They were hired.

The brothers were later booted from the department after officials questioned their racial status, but clearly, they had gamed a system that was not meant to benefit them.  

Demographically we are moving toward a society where racial and ethnic ties are becoming increasingly harder to define. Since 2000, the number of multi-racial births increased by 50 percent, and over two-thirds of Americans can claim to belong to some minority or special interest group.

While Warren’s episode may make for good political fodder, it should also serve as an opportunity to reflect on the current state of affirmative action policy. Is it wise to keep emphasizing race as the main determinate in assessing need when people are able to exploit remote family ties to claim special preference?

Like Elizabeth Warren, I also have Native American ties. According to my family history, my great-grandmother was full-blooded Yaqui Indian. I take tremendous pride in my heritage and would never claim it as a badge of victimhood, but I also wouldn’t want my family tree held out for national scrutiny to prove my eligibility to perform a certain job.

Whether you are for or against affirmative action, it’s hard to deny that the policy has created a disturbing environment filled with the likes of the Malone brothers who are desperate to find a victim in their family history rather than prove they are best fitted for the job. It is also creating an atmosphere where people are forced to defend their lineage in order to prove their racial purity.  

Wasn’t this the world that affirmative action was designed to end?

Alexis Garcia is a political producer and correspondent for PJTV.com. She also worked as a communications aide for the Giuliani and McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaigns.

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Alexis Garcia is a political producer and correspondent for PJTV.com. She also worked as a communications aide for the Giuliani and McCain-Palin 2008 presidential campaigns.

Follow us on twitter.com/foxnewslatino
Like us at facebook.com/foxnewslatino