A few month’s back, Senator Elizabeth Warren underwent a DNA test to prove she is Native American. The test, which was conducted by Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford, ultimately found Warren was somewhere between 1/32 and 1/1,024th Native American.
Or, to put it another way, less than 1 percent.
As one might expect, critics have cried foul. However, as someone who has personally wrestled with a similar ancestral revelation, I can’t help but empathize with Warren’s situation.
I too once took a DNA test. The results showed I was 1/1,024th Narnian. But while this might have come as a surprise to some, it merely confirmed the stories that had been passed down to me through the generations.
More importantly, it confirmed what I have felt all along in my heart.
Like Elizabeth Warren, my family has suffered greatly over the years because of our Narnian heritage. We have had our land stolen from us. We have been routinely portrayed as witches and sorcerers by the media. And despite contributing more than $12 billion annually to the economy, many of us continue live below the poverty level, lacking access to basic necessities like magic closets and snow.
Few have experienced discrimination like my own mother. Despite meeting the man of her dreams as a young woman, her fiancé’s parents adamantly opposed marriage out of fear she might have a cloven hoof. It was an ignorant and hurtful stereotype. But had they made an effort to see past her pointy ears, they would have learned cloven hoofs depend on what part of Narnia you come from.
Her experience speaks volumes about the privilege many people take for granted daily. Five toes might not seem like a big deal to some. But for Narnians, the toe struggle is real. In fact, one in every three Narnians suffer from a cloven hoof. Fortunately, my mother was able to alleviate their concerns by simply removing her shoe and proving she had five toes (although his family still demanded to see the other foot).
These are just a few of the many incidents my family has faced through the years because of our Narnian heritage. Yet like Warren, I am continually confronted by skeptics who belittle and question my dedication to Narnian cuture.
Such criticisms are misplaced. Sure, I have never personally been to Narnia. I didn’t grow up in a Narnian neighborhood. I don’t have Narnian friends. Nor have I ever publicly expressed an interest in vital Narnian social issues. However, I do own “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” I’ve even watched it twice.
But that’s beside the point. The point is I feel Narnian. Therefore, I am Narnian. And anyone who questions this is a science denier. Because at the end of the day, my DNA test proves I’m Narnian.
Editor’s note: The confederation of Narnians has since issued a statement condemning Brandon Loran Maxwell’s use of a DNA test to claim he is Narnian.
Brandon Loran Maxwell is a writer, speaker, and prize winning essayist. His writings and commentary have appeared at The Hill, Salon, Townhall, The Washington Examiner, The Oregonian, FEE, and Latino Rebels Radio, among others. He regularly speaks on a variety of social topics, and has been cited at outlets such as The Los Angeles Times, Vox, and The Washington Post. His personal essay “Notes From An American Prisoner” was awarded a Writer’s Digest prize in 2014, and his one-act play “Petal By Petal” about drug and alcohol addiction was performed at The Little Theater in 2009. In addition, Brandon has fronted various punk rock and hip hop groups. He holds a B.S. in political science, and often writes about prison reform, immigration reform, pop culture, music, and Chicano culture.