While speaking to a historically black university on Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told students that she couldn’t understand what it was like to live as a “person of color.”
“I’m not a person of color,” she said, according to The Washington Post. “And I haven’t lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the color of your skin.”
Her comments came amid controversy surrounding Warren’s heritage and how much Native American ancestry she had.
She claimed that heritage in a law directory before applying to Harvard University, prompting some to allege she unfairly received admission.
When Warren, a likely 2020 contender, released DNA test results, she was roundly criticized. As the Boston Globe noted at the time, “The generational range based on the ancestor that the report identified suggests she’s between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”
The Cherokee Nation even released a statement deriding her attempts to claim tribal heritage.
Cherokee Nation statement: "Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage." pic.twitter.com/qkMOAJZpsc
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) October 15, 2018
The group accused her of “undermining tribal interests” and claimed a DNA test was “useless” for determining tribal citizenship.
During her speech, Warren also accused the government of discrimination. “Rules matter, and our government — not just individuals within the government, but the government itself — has systematically discriminated against black people in this country,” she said.
While it’s unclear what exactly she was referring to, Warren has been in hot water over a similar statement she made about the criminal justice system.
As IJR previously noted, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions rebuked her after she claimed that the criminal justice system was “racist […] front to back.”