Thursday, October 06, 2011

Another successful Indian tribe membership drive

Steve Sailer makes an interesting point.
Years ago, I had an extended online argument with a sweet young thing who was irate about the US Government's "genocide" against Native American tribes. How was this "genocide" being effected? By redefinition.
In order to be counted as a Native American for one government program, a person had to be able to trace at least 12.5% his ancestry back to a recognized tribe. And furthermore, all 12.5% had to be one tribe. So someone who was one eighth, say, Navajo, one eighth Pueblo, and one eighth Hopi was not considered Native American.
The Sweet Young Thing objected vigorously when I suggested it had to be about the benefits handed out by the Government, otherwise why in the world would she care what some desk jockey in Washington called her (or anyone else)?
Bob Hope once said of his hyper-exclusive Cypress Point Golf Club in Pebble Beach, CA, "One year they had a big membership drive at Cypress. They drove out 40 members." American Indian tribes, especially since Congress gave each tribe the right to one (but only one) casino, tend to hold similar views of what comprises a successful membership drive. Thus, from today's Washington Post:
One of the nation's largest American Indian tribes has sent letters to about 2,800 descendants of slaves once owned by its members, revoking their citizenship and cutting their medical care, food stipends, low-income homeowners' assistance and other services. 
The Cherokee Nation acted this week after its Supreme Court upheld the results of a 2007 special vote to amend the Cherokee constitution and remove the slaves' descendants and other non-Indians from tribal rolls. 

You'll note that when it comes to defining who gets access to racial/ethnic privileges, Indians behave the opposite of blacks and Hispanics, tending to define access narrowly. Only a handful of blacks, such as Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier, have complained about people (like Barack Obama) with no family ties to American slaves benefiting from affirmative action for blacks. (And Gates and Guinier appear to have avoided mentioning their complaints in connection with Obama.)

How come?

Unlike casino benefits, which are extremely finite legally, affirmative action benefits for blacks and Hispanics have no theoretical limits, so black and Hispanic leaders tend to have expansive views of who should be eligible for quotas as being black or Hispanic. The more who benefit from affirmative action, they reason, the more supporters for affirmative action in the political arena.

Of course, if anybody stopped to think about it, they'd realize that the more beneficiaries of affirmative action, then the higher average costs imposed upon each benefactor, which would tend to increase political resistance among nonbeneficiaries. So, conceptually, it's not obvious that the black/Hispanic approach to winning political battles over racial preferences is a clear-cut winner.

But ... that's racist! So, nobody thinks about it. The easiest way to win political debates is to not hold them because you've redefined thoughts you don't like as crimethink.

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