Zach Kessel writes for National Review Online about the latest evidence of an academic lying about being a minority.

Looks like Elizabeth Warren has company.

Andrea Smith, a “prominent ethnic studies professor” at the University of California, Riverside, has agreed to retire after years of accusations that she has lied about being Native American, according to the New York Times. This is not Smith’s first brush with professional consequences for her alleged dishonesty. In 2008, she was denied tenure at the University of Michigan amid questions about her ethnicity and the revelation that — despite her claims to be Cherokee — she had never registered as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

Now, it’s understandable that Smith would be forced out of her position upon the discovery of some sort of fraud. But what readers might wonder is why, exactly, she felt it necessary to pretend to be Native American.

Funnily enough, Smith answers the question herself. In a 1991 essay the New York Times describes as “heralded,” the disgraced former professor derided white feminists who pretend to be Native American:

“When white ‘feminists’ see how white people have historically oppressed others and how they are coming very close to destroying the earth, they often want to dissociate themselves from their whiteness. They do this by opting to “become Indian.” In this way, they can escape responsibility and accountability for white racism.” …

… Her argument here sheds light on a troubling frame of mind on the left. Given the critical race theory–infused idea that there are only two types of people in the world — oppressed and oppressors — and the social benefits derived in leftist circles from victimhood status, some on the left with identities deemed oppressive desperately seek some way to share in the spoils. 

Combine this with the idea that white people have no business teaching about, writing about, or portraying fictional characters having anything to do with minority experiences, and it’s easy to see why a professor might take on a different identity.