News & Politics

Rob Lowe's Joke About Elizabeth Warren Isn't Racist, Because She's Not Native American

Rob Lowe's Joke About Elizabeth Warren Isn't Racist, Because She's Not Native American
Rob Lowe attends the "Lowe Files" panel at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Friday, July 28, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Way, way back in the old days before October 2018, it was racist to make fun of Elizabeth Warren for claiming to be Native American. We were supposed to assume that it was her true heritage because she said so, and therefore any jokes about her were racist. (In addition to being sexist, of course, because she’s a woman.) Then Warren took a DNA test that conclusively proved she’s not Native American, although for some reason she and her enablers in the press initially thought it was a vindication of her claims that she’s Native American. Now that she’s been forced to admit she’s not Native American, you still can’t make jokes about her because it’s, um… racist?

Enter: Actor and possible immortal Rob Lowe. The other day he made this joke:

See what he did there? Commander in “Chief”? Because there are Indian chiefs, and Warren’s not actually an Indian even though she claimed to be one for decades. She even put it in writing.

Lowe’s quip is perhaps not the most clever or original joke anybody has ever told, but it’s just a joke. He didn’t hurt anybody. He certainly isn’t a racist. Is joking about Rachel Dolezal’s false claim of African-American heritage racist? No, it isn’t. Neither is this.

Elizabeth Warren has made a complete fool of herself, and it’s funny. Calling her “Chief” or “Fauxcahontas” or “Lieawatha” isn’t an insult to Native Americans, because she’s not Native American.

But Warren is running for president as a Democrat, so her fellow Democrats feel duty-bound to protect her. Most of Lowe’s Hollywood colleagues are, of course, Democrats. And if there’s one thing Democrats love to do, it’s flinging accusations of racism at anybody who crosses them.

Lowe got some pushback, and this was his response:

But that’s not good enough. Watch ’em circle the wagons for their favorite fake Indian!

Yikes. Trouble in the West Wing?

Speaking of the “openly racist President,” this joke is considered off-limits as well:

A lot of people are angry that Trump is apparently making a reference to the Trail of Tears. I dunno. If you want to get angry about Trump tweets in 2019, go ahead. It’s in bad taste, yes. He should stop tweeting altogether, I agree. But he’s not going to, and nobody can make him. I happen to think that Elizabeth Warren lying about her heritage for 30 years, and taking away career opportunities from authentic Native Americans, is worse than tweeting distasteful jokes. But sure, feel free to get outraged about whatever you want.

Nobody made Elizabeth Warren lie about her heritage. Nobody’s making her run for president, after lying about her heritage. She made these choices herself, and one of the consequences is that people are going to mock her for lying and screwing up.

And how.