Native Americans and restitution from the US Government

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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 22, 2003 4:10 am

Wild-Eyes wrote:The entire premise of your argument, James, suggests that the Native Americans should just give up their old ways and join the rest of the world. How imperialistic and naive.

You are making more than a few assumptions about my views on this issue here, but I will go ahead and argue your points. Just think a moment before you call me imperialistic and naïve.

Here is my first question to you. The Native Americans that choose to live on reservations rather than leaving the reservations and joining American society have chosen to live in a past that cannot continue to exist. Society evolves as time passes, and the American government is here to cater to modern society. Why should they make unique accommodations for someone that does not want to be a part of their society?

Wild-Eyes wrote:Their lands were taken from them, and it's impossible to give those lands back. They were given lands that were the worst possible, because the good farm land went to the whites years ago. They have had two choices for most of the United States' existance: assimilate entirely, or isolate. Give up your way of life that you have every right to live, or keep it but don't ask for anything. Blending is now an option, but hardly a simple one.

The purpose established with the Indian Claims Commission is to assimilate and relocate Native Americans off reservations and into cities. The government still no longer wishes to honor the Native American way of life; they wish to let it be a cultural ghost -- present but changed.

We get into my point above. The government should not focus resources on supporting people who don’t want to be a part of modern society. The Native American way of life was bound to change at some point. Society everywhere has evolved, and in many cases it is moving into industrialization. The Native Americans in reservations won’t accept this, and remain away from society. At the same time they expect the government to support them when the world has become something completely different over the years. Reverence for nature and the wild world is not something we have to live on a reservation to appreciate.

Wild-Eyes wrote:The descendants of many of those ancestors still live on the reservations. In order to move off those reservations, they must get money. In order to get money, they have to have a job. There has to be a job available for them...and for that they need education and training...and for that, they need schools and training programs, and transportation. You can guess how little of that is available.

Enough for them to join the real world. Not all jobs require experience, and it isn’t that hard to start from the bottom and work you way up. It just takes true dedication, something too many people lack.

Wild-Eyes wrote:People have no idea what the poverty is like on the reservations. Mothers are wrapping their children in newspaper to keep them warm because they don't have blankets. Drug use and alcohol use is at an incredible high. Most people believe that's the Native American's choice; but in a world where you have to walk miles to get to a store, or to a job, or to civil services and live in poor conditions because you can't afford anything better, drugs and alcohol are a wonderful escape. The wrong escape, but a wonderful one. The situations on the reservations are equivalent to that of underdeveloped (ie third world) countries.

I am sorry, but this is their choice. This is a perfect example of how living in the past rather than becoming a part of the modern society (however horrible it may be) is no longer a viable option. A family at a reservation could easily move into a city, get jobs, and set up in a basic apartment. Even if the whole family was only working at minimum wage this would work in most cities. And this doesn’t even take into account the benefits they can receive as Indians. I could live my whole life with only a minor part time job with the benefits my girlfriend would have received.

Wild-Eyes wrote:These people in poverty are not dependent on anything. They do not get the money. The bureaucracies set up by the US government in the tribes get it to distribute, and bureaucracies take a great deal of money to run. …

Everything remaining is pretty much covered by my argument. I do not believe our government should support the objective of building a whole entire society inside our own. They need to support the mainstream society and anyone that chooses to be a part of it. The American Indians are perfectly capable of leaving that life behind, but whatever their reasons (pride, reminiscence, fear, or spite) they choose not to.
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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 22, 2003 4:18 am

The Yellow Dwarf wrote:Good point. I'm against monetary reparations to African Americans and Native Americans. However, I would like to some programs that actually do work, and I would like to see the government putting some heart into actually trying to improve the lives of minorities instead of just trying to pretend that they are. I would like to see the government at lleast bringing them up to the level of everybody else in terms of equal oppurtunities and equal access to the services that the majorities enjoy.

Even if they have the options and chances to rejoin society, and choose not to, I am still not opposed to some forms of government assistance. The problem with welfare and other benefits of that nature is that they provide liquid cash. You can use your welfare check to buy alcohol. How does that solve problems? If we are going to support someone’s progression in society we should give free education (or monitored money toward that goal), or job placement assistance. The government only creates more problems by placing a pile of money in someone’s hand and hoping for the best. The Native Americans, in most tribes, usually get education assistance, rent assistance, food assistance, and some of them also get liquid cash. Other common features include health care, or full funding for rent, education (up to a four or six year degree), or food.

For example, the lady I was with, a part of the Pima Indian tribe, would have received full education (up to six years), rent (up to $600/month), health benefits, and grocery coverage.
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Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Sat Feb 22, 2003 4:29 am

James wrote:For example, the lady I was with, a part of the Pima Indian tribe, would have received full education (up to six years), rent (up to $600/month), health benefits, and grocery coverage.

I hope that's six years of higher education. Hmm...Interesting. Basically they have every chance to assimilate into the mainstream society but chooses not to, despite the fact that the government has helped them to that end. Not to doubt your sources, I'm just wondering if it is the case for every tribe. Even though they might have a culture they wish to preserve, the only way to become subsistent is to live the American life. Maybe assimilation is inevitable.
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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 22, 2003 4:50 am

The Yellow Dwarf wrote:I hope that's six years of higher education. Hmm...Interesting. Basically they have every chance to assimilate into the mainstream society but chooses not to, despite the fact that the government has helped them to that end. Not to doubt your sources, I'm just wondering if it is the case for every tribe. Even though they might have a culture they wish to preserve, the only way to become subsistent is to live the American life. Maybe assimilation is inevitable.

No, it is not the same case with every tribe. I know a certain degree of benefit is provided by the government (a lot of what is mentioned above) and the rest comes from the tribe itself. A tribe can provide additional services to fully verified members to go along with government benefits, and many of them do. The only pitfall is if you don’t have proper documentation (birth certificate, etc.) in which case things get difficult.

Edit: And to clarify, in this instance it is not six years of education, it is education up to a six-year degree.
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Unread postby Mu Shu » Sat Feb 22, 2003 4:54 am

James wrote:Affirmative action is too broad a topic to be encompassed in this particular issue. Furthermore, I am not arguing that the government should stop support to the American Indians. Many of them are dependant at this time, and to just cease their benefits would cause some serious harm. That said, I will continue to debate my personal view on this issue.

The very act of providing someone with something that other people don’t get, when the other people in question can see no reason why those people should receive the special treatment, promotes segregation. For example, if an African American feels that society is holding him back, and sees compensation as a solution, that will solve things on his end, but what about everyone else? They will see it as unfair. They are being forced by their government to pay someone restitution for something they never did. Many of them will adopt a hateful or spiteful view on this matter, and some of that group will take it to tangible levels.


Your argument is very logical. I am tempted to agree but there is also the other side to consider. It is common knowledge that the majority of African Americans feel that American society is not completely fair to them. So this fairness argument goes both ways. And can get very heated in both directions also.

My argument is that racial tension is a bad thing for America. The underlying cause of racial tension is often economic in nature. The current affirmative action policy strives to decrease the economic disparity.

James wrote:We can’t always step back and take the solution that “works” if that solution brings about more problems. You can’t always take the easy way out.


No, this is obviously not the easy way out. The easy way out is to ignore the problem and wait until it becomes a terminal illness. In other countries which have chosen to ignore these economic problems very bad things have happened. For example the rise of the Nazis and racial riots in Indonesia.

This is the hard solution because it require sacrifice from the majority of Americans to help the minority of Americans.

James wrote:And as a government, it is not fair to take money from people for things they do not believe in. The government does it all the time, but all hell breaks loose when they do it over something that people understand and pay attention to.


If people understand what is in their best interest they will do what is necessary. I am not saying that Affirmative Action is the best solution. I am simply saying that people should look at the big picture and the long term before coming to a conclusion.

James wrote:That aside, it sounds to me like you support compensation for African Americans. Can you explain your view?


No, I don't support compensation. As I said, I support which ever method works for the benefit of society as a whole. Perhaps what you are proposing is best. Perhaps the current system has its merits. Its beyond my ability to predict which is better.
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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 22, 2003 5:12 am

Mu Shu wrote:Your argument is very logical. I am tempted to agree but there is also the other side to consider. It is common knowledge that the majority of African Americans feel that American society is not completely fair to them. So this fairness argument goes both ways. And can get very heated in both directions also.

My argument is that racial tension is a bad thing for America. The underlying cause of racial tension is often economic in nature. The current affirmative action policy strives to decrease the economic disparity.

Here is my theory on the matter, and I do not present it as fact. Until we treat everyone equally (no benefits or downfalls based off culture or race) society will never have the tools required to become equal. When you provide specific benefits to a minority the majority feels a degree of spite. Most of them, of course, choose not to let them harm how they treat their fellow man, but some of them give way to prejudice. I think the African American today is just about as prejudice as the white man today. There is no longer anything holding them back in society, they can reach for the stars. They can run for president if they want (Colon Powell is a good example of high government office).

If we segregate them by singling them out as a different person, even in the act of giving them money, we are still singling them out. Even if this makes them feel better and more loved, more members of the majority (or other sub cultures) will be spiteful. “How come I don’t get money?” others will say. And prejudice will be reborn in yet another form, to merge with the collective pool of hate.

Mu Shu wrote:No, this is obviously not the easy way out. The easy way out is to ignore the problem and wait until it becomes a terminal illness. In other countries which have chosen to ignore these economic problems very bad things have happened. For example the rise of the Nazis and racial riots in Indonesia.

I think we have learned that ignoring a problem is not the easy way out, it is the easy way into a bigger problem. Right now the enemy is the quick fix, as opposed to the longer more dedicated fix.

Mu Shu wrote:This is the hard solution because it require sacrifice from the majority of Americans to help the minority of Americans.

1) It would never be accepted by the majority.
2) Even if it were accepted, it is still wrong.

Mu Shu wrote:If people understand what is in their best interest they will do what is necessary. I am not saying that Affirmative Action is the best solution. I am simply saying that people should look at the big picture and the long term before coming to a conclusion.

As am I, and that is why I oppose this sort of unwarranted assistance.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Feb 22, 2003 6:56 am

Ok, I'll try to respond to some of the many points here, and I've chosen to pick on James. Just because. Anyway, I'm not sure of how the American system works, so my arguments are going to be based on what I know from interacting with the First Nations in the Pacific Northwest.
James wrote:The Native Americans that choose to live on reservations rather than leaving the reservations and joining American society have chosen to live in a past that cannot continue to exist.

I'm interested to know by what you've judged that the Native Americans living on res are living in "a past that cannot continue to exist". Sure, some forms of livelihood, such as hunting, are not viable anymore because of what's happening to the environment. But many of the traditional occupations, such as fishing, teaching, art, healing, etc are not incompatible with what you call "modern society". Their community organisation is different from that of the "mainstream", but it's just the manifestation of the same need to support each other in times of need, to provide good leadership that can see the community through in times of change. They have their own ways of teaching and belief systems that seem outdated -- and some of them probably are -- but I don't see how the wisdom contained in them are any less than what the "mainstream" believes. Of course, to try to live as one did 100 years ago is pure stubbornness, but there is no reason why people can't modify tradition to fit the reality of the world today. For example, one nation that I know of in BC started a very successful vinyard business (now starting to make golf resorts too) on res land; the community worked on it as a whole, and the community benefitted as a whole as well. These people are living in the present, while maintaining their traditional community values and teachings. They have chosen to live in the present while honouring the past.
Society evolves as time passes, and the American government is here to cater to modern society. Why should they make unique accommodations for someone that does not want to be a part of their society?

Because they are a part of American society already. Diversity is key to survival. Who's to say that the way American society is going is the best way and not in reality self-destructive? Not that I'm saying that it is (self-destructive), but the existence of different cultures and traditions provide different perspectives on issues that affect all of us.

Ok, on to the actual question. This question presupposes that they don't want to be a part of North American society. That isn't 100% true. But to the extent that it is true, is this unwillingness to assimilate completely unreasonable? I think not. First, native communities are still suspicious of the intentions of the "mainstream" government, which isn't unfounded based on the terrible track record that we've had. Then, they are not ready to buy into a set of values that often seem contradictory to what they believe in. Also, how willing is the "mainstream" society to help the native peoples fit in? People generally don't want to move into an environment where they have no community support, where they'll have to deal with racism, where their traditional values are denied, where their identity will be lost. Sure, people who truly detest the rest of North American society probably don't deserve to be supported by this rest of the society, but most people I know don't detest the rest of North America. They just can't see a way how they can contribute to the society while remaining true to themselves, because you really can't do much for the society if you've denied who you are.

Society everywhere has evolved, and in many cases it is moving into industrialization. The Native Americans in reservations won’t accept this, and remain away from society. At the same time they expect the government to support them when the world has become something completely different over the years.

Again, if your premises are true, then I accept your conclusion. However, see my points above.

Reverence for nature and the wild world is not something we have to live on a reservation to appreciate.

Nor is this the whole point of living on res. Reservation life is about community, which off-res Native Americans don't usually get. It's also about drawing energy from being able to name the rivers and the history/legends beind them. Can you imagine how upset people'd get if the Statue of Liberty gets bombed? That's probably just as upset people get when their traditional structures/ways of life are demolished, and they are forced to go into hostile lands.
Not all jobs require experience, and it isn’t that hard to start from the bottom and work you way up. It just takes true dedication, something too many people lack.

One First Nations woman I know quite well worked very hard. She's put herself through college, and is now working on her Masters. Considering that her husband died early and left her with four kids, and that for a while she had lost her status and her community support since her husband was non-native, that's some dedication indeed. But she still can't get a permanent job. Well, it's hard to get a job for anyone these days, period, but the facts that she's an older woman and that she's "different" probably are against her as well.

And she's done well already. Most First Nations peoples are still suffering from the repercussions of the residential school system (what they call boarding schools in the States, where children of native ancestry are taken forcefully from their homes, given a "mainstream" education, and all traces of nativeness attempted to be wiped out from them). People often have to quit school and work to support their family at a young age. Thus, even with dedication, people seldom get access to better education -- the road to better jobs and social standing. They are still recuperating from the government's intervention in their lives in the past. And as long as the goverment is trying to destroy their society rather than rebuilding it, they're not going to get over it.
A family at a reservation could easily move into a city, get jobs, and set up in a basic apartment. Even if the whole family was only working at minimum wage this would work in most cities.

That sounds easier than done. First, if they have drug and alcohol problems already, how is this going to work? Many people don't become drunks for no reason, but it's part of the vicious cycle that got started when their livelihoods, their lands, their identies were taken away from them. I'm not saying they should do alcohol abuse, but unless this problem is corrected first, re-integration into society (whether native or mainstream) cannot happen.
And this doesn’t even take into account the benefits they can receive as Indians. I could live my whole life with only a minor part time job with the benefits my girlfriend would have received.

Perhaps this is an American thing. Similar statements cannot hold in Canada.
I do not believe our government should support the objective of building a whole entire society inside our own. They need to support the mainstream society and anyone that chooses to be a part of it. The American Indians are perfectly capable of leaving that life behind, but whatever their reasons (pride, reminiscence, fear, or spite) they choose not to.

Again, I'll put to you these questions: Is it impossible for a society to exist within "our own", as long as it participates as a member of the larger society, as a symbiosis? Many Chinatowns, for example, are ethnic-based societies within the larger society, where the traditional culture of the people may be kept, and yet which serve as a portal for these people to interact with the larger society. What is the "mainstream" society? Why can't we define "mainstream" as all who are citizens of North America? Why should the Native peoples be forced to leave their life behind, while something like forcing all Americans to abandon their driving culture would be unthinkable? Where do pride, reminiscence, fear, and spite come from, and why do they retain them?

Ok, this is way too long already, so I'll stop here.
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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 22, 2003 7:38 am

Here goes a healthy chunk of my day, hehe. :)

Lady Wu wrote:I'm interested to know by what you've judged that the Native Americans living on res are living in "a past that cannot continue to exist". Sure, some forms of livelihood, such as hunting, are not viable anymore because of what's happening to the environment. But many of the traditional occupations, such as fishing, teaching, art, healing, etc are not incompatible with what you call "modern society". Their community organisation is different from that of the "mainstream", but it's just the manifestation of the same need to support each other in times of need, to provide good leadership that can see the community through in times of change. …

The old ways of the Native American are no longer realistic simply because they must now live on reservations in lands that do not generally support their way. They can survive now by interacting with society (via commerce, politics, etc.) and that is how they get along. Those things aside, as pointed out earlier they are in many cases very far away from modern conveniences like a supermarket or other commercial entities (which they have to make use of now that they are stuck on a reservation).

It doesn’t work because they want to interact with society for survival, but at the same time they want to remain independent. Obviously the government isn’t standing behind a group of people that wants to exist outside of society as much as possible, they are working to get them into regular society. While they can preserve much of who they were, it isn’t anything they can’t do with more freedom away from a reservation. They are placing a limitation on themselves that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and it doesn’t add up in my eyes.

Lady Wu wrote:Because they are a part of American society already. Diversity is key to survival. Who's to say that the way American society is going is the best way and not in reality self-destructive? Not that I'm saying that it is (self-destructive), but the existence of different cultures and traditions provide different perspectives on issues that affect all of us.

It would be different if they were actually inside American society like the rest of us, but for whatever reason they choose to remain independent in reservations with obvious serious limitations. A government should not promote segregation, and forming a compound for your people only counts as segregation in my eyes. Do no prevent it if it gives them a “home”, but do not support something that removes a culture from the whole.

Lady Wu wrote:Ok, on to the actual question. This question presupposes that they don't want to be a part of North American society. That isn't 100% true. But to the extent that it is true, is this unwillingness to assimilate completely unreasonable? I think not. First, native communities are still suspicious of the intentions of the "mainstream" government, which isn't unfounded based on the terrible track record that we've had. Then, they are not ready to buy into a set of values that often seem contradictory to what they believe in. Also, how willing is the "mainstream" society to help the native peoples fit in? People generally don't want to move into an environment where they have no community support, where they'll have to deal with racism, where their traditional values are denied, where their identity will be lost. Sure, people who truly detest the rest of North American society probably don't deserve to be supported by this rest of the society, but most people I know don't detest the rest of North America. They just can't see a way how they can contribute to the society while remaining true to themselves, because you really can't do much for the society if you've denied who you are.

I won’t blame them if they aren’t fully trusting of our government, but I think it is safe to say that the government is not working against Native Americans that want to be a part of society. If they were working against them there would be no restitution even today. Furthermore, the American population as a whole is actually not hostile to Native Americans much at all. In many cases, there is a large degree of respect, kindness, and in some cases, as much as I hate it, pity. They can use the first two, but they can do without the pity. Pity isn’t hate though. Furthermore, regarding spiritual practice and belief, my own spiritual directions and practices are similar in many ways. I get along just fine in society, and I find that you don’t have to live in a reservation to have a reverence for nature.

Lady Wu wrote:Nor is this the whole point of living on res. Reservation life is about community, which off-res Native Americans don't usually get. It's also about drawing energy from being able to name the rivers and the history/legends beind them. Can you imagine how upset people'd get if the Statue of Liberty gets bombed? That's probably just as upset people get when their traditional structures/ways of life are demolished, and they are forced to go into hostile lands.

I do not see why they have to break away from society into reservations to have a community. None of the other sub-cultures here in the United States need to do that. Now it would be a nice thing if these reservations were wonderful places to live, but because they are broken away from society there are serious commercial issues.

Lady Wu wrote:One First Nations woman I know quite well worked very hard. She's put herself through college, and is now working on her Masters. Considering that her husband died early and left her with four kids, and that for a while she had lost her status and her community support since her husband was non-native, that's some dedication indeed. But she still can't get a permanent job. Well, it's hard to get a job for anyone these days, period, but the facts that she's an older woman and that she's "different" probably are against her as well.

If her own people aren’t supporting her choices, and are opposed to her being a part of society to the point of hurting her in one way or another, it just goes to prove how much segregation this is really causing. I don’t know about Canada, but here in the United States, at least in the states I have visited (and Utah/Arizona are major Native American states) they are not held back by society. Sure, they may not teach their religious and spiritual beliefs in school, but they have to keep that close to their heart on their own. Christianity is hostile to this sort of thing, but that is a global problem.

If they are held back in schools here, it is news to me. Can anyone enlighten me as to how the United States school system is hostile to Native Americans?

Lady Wu wrote:That sounds easier than done. First, if they have drug and alcohol problems already, how is this going to work? Many people don't become drunks for no reason, but it's part of the vicious cycle that got started when their livelihoods, their lands, their identies were taken away from them. I'm not saying they should do alcohol abuse, but unless this problem is corrected first, re-integration into society (whether native or mainstream) cannot happen.

They have the same rehabilitation systems that everyone else has. Furthermore, they have had a little bit of time to get over the past, in all honesty here. What else is the government supposed to do? Can you guess how they would take a government program to sober up the Indians? I can see where that will go.

Lady Wu wrote:Perhaps this is an American thing. Similar statements cannot hold in Canada.

In Canada you can’t get buy with a part time job to pay your utility bills when your government and tribe cover pretty much everything else? That leaves Utility bills, assuming they aren’t covered as well. Rent alone wouldn’t be that difficult to swing with a part time job if everything else was taken care of here in Utah. I imagine New York and California would be more difficult, but Utah is one of the higher rent states.

Lady Wu wrote:Again, I'll put to you these questions: Is it impossible for a society to exist within "our own", as long as it participates as a member of the larger society, as a symbiosis? Many Chinatowns, for example, are ethnic-based societies within the larger society, where the traditional culture of the people may be kept, and yet which serve as a portal for these people to interact with the larger society. What is the "mainstream" society? Why can't we define "mainstream" as all who are citizens of North America? Why should the Native peoples be forced to leave their life behind, while something like forcing all Americans to abandon their driving culture would be unthinkable? Where do pride, reminiscence, fear, and spite come from, and why do they retain them?

“Is it impossible for a society to exist within "our own", as long as it participates as a member of the larger society, as a symbiosis?” No, certainly not. China Town is a good example. Furthermore, I see no reason why the Native Americans can’t do the same if they so desire.

“What is the ‘mainstream’ society? Why can't we define ‘mainstream’ as all who are citizens of North America?” For purposes of this discussion I will consider mainstream society to be society that functions in full coherence with other elements of society, unlimited by race, belief, or background.

“Why should the Native peoples be forced to leave their life behind, while something like forcing all Americans to abandon their driving culture would be unthinkable?”
Leaving a reservation by no means requires them to leave their life behind. In fact, the Native Americans I have met outside of reservations, which continue to follow their beliefs, are truly happy, spiritual, and refreshing people. Furthermore, does a reservation really preserve their beliefs? I think it is causing damage…

“Where do pride, reminiscence, fear, and spite come from, and why do they retain them?”
I would say the two major answers, among many elements, are cultural belief passed from generation to generation, and a fear of the past.
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Unread postby Mu Shu » Sat Feb 22, 2003 1:42 pm

James wrote:I think we have learned that ignoring a problem is not the easy way out, it is the easy way into a bigger problem. Right now the enemy is the quick fix, as opposed to the longer more dedicated fix.


Perhaps there is something I am missing here. But it appears that removing affirmative action is tantamount to removing the "quick fix" for no fix at all. What do you mean by "longer more dedicated fix."? I'm a bit confused because I don't see any solution being offered except for: let things take care of themselves... which is equivalent to letting the disease take its course.

James wrote:
Mu Shu wrote:This is the hard solution because it require sacrifice from the majority of Americans to help the minority of Americans.

1) It would never be accepted by the majority.
2) Even if it were accepted, it is still wrong.


Affirmative Action was choosen by the majority of Americans. It would not have been possible without the support of the majority of Americans. One of the characteristics of a democracy is that the majority usually decides.

So to say that it would not be accepted is contradictory to the fact that it was already accepted in the past.

Now is it wrong? Let me draw an analogy. In the past many people believed that Capitalism was "wrong" and "evil". So they choose Communism. Well, their sense of "fairness" cost them very dearly.

I don't believe that the majority needs to worry too much about being short-changed. It is clear the majority that will decide the future of this issue. The question here is whether those who propose a drastic change in policy are misguided (choosing a moral but impractical policy like Communism for example). I am not taking sides on this issue, but I am saying that many perspectives should be carefully considered.


HERE ARE TWO SCENARIOS:
Assume affirmative action and Native American benefits are removed.
1.) Native Americans become integrated into main stream American society. African Americans are no worse off than before. It becomes apparent that affirmative action policies were either misguided or they were once useful but no longer useful.
2.) Native Americans and African Americans are worse off than before. Discontent fourishes due to economic iniquities. Crime, riots, and terrorism increases. It become apparent that reform is needed and the old affirmative action laws are re-instated.
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Mu Shu
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Unread postby James » Sun Feb 23, 2003 12:24 am

Mu Shu wrote:Perhaps there is something I am missing here. But it appears that removing affirmative action is tantamount to removing the "quick fix" for no fix at all. What do you mean by "longer more dedicated fix."? I'm a bit confused because I don't see any solution being offered except for: let things take care of themselves... which is equivalent to letting the disease take its course.

I think affirmative action is a good thing as long as it is justified, but not when it is used as a tool to reward the group that complains loudest. Doing so sounds a lot like an out-of-court settlement given to avoid publicity. We are also talking about a large problem, which would require some dedicated and clear thought from more than just one person, but I think I know where the solution would have to start.

I think we would have to gradually remove groups (minority or majority) off dedicated government support at a rate that does not damage their lives. We have to kill the dependencies and teach people to survive on their own. We have to remove any actions (be they in the name of good or evil) that segregate and replace them with equality. Once this is done, there will no longer be any government inspired segregation (at least in the present) and then it just comes down to people to solve their differences. This would require some radical thinking, time, and some firmness from the government when facing a minority. I fear there may not be enough spine to go around in a solution like this, but it wouldn’t have to be fully implemented. We cannot remove bias, but we can stop creating it on a governmental level.

Mu Shu wrote:Affirmative Action was choosen by the majority of Americans. It would not have been possible without the support of the majority of Americans. One of the characteristics of a democracy is that the majority usually decides.

As mentioned before, I am not opposed to affirmative action, but I am opposed to what is basically a “oh stop crying, here is some money” approach. Inspired bias and hate does not require a majority, and killing a man only takes another man. Even if the majority favor a system, is it worth it if a small amount of people (who knows, something like 0.4%) find new prejudice leading to more hate crime?

Mu Shu wrote:Now is it wrong? Let me draw an analogy. In the past many people believed that Capitalism was "wrong" and "evil". So they choose Communism. Well, their sense of "fairness" cost them very dearly.

Approving affirmative action, and facing this particular issue are two different things from where I stand. Let me ask you this question before we proceed. Do you think our government should give money to a minority simply because they feel like they deserve it for something that does not impact their lives, simply to put a smile on their faces? Are you not worried about later occurrences of the event? What about the other minorities in the United States?

Mu Shu wrote:1.) Native Americans become integrated into main stream American society. African Americans are no worse off than before. It becomes apparent that affirmative action policies were either misguided or they were once useful but no longer useful.

This would be a possibility if it were taken care of properly. The problem? I don’t think the government can handle the problem this well, making this a fairy tale.

Mu Shu wrote:2.) Native Americans and African Americans are worse off than before. Discontent fourishes due to economic iniquities. Crime, riots, and terrorism increases. It become apparent that reform is needed and the old affirmative action laws are re-instated.

And now we get back to what I said in my first post. I do not think or government should end these benefits now that they are already giving them to people, to do so would cause more depression and discontent (creating the scenario above). If they were to terminate Native American compensation they would have to do it gradually over a few generations, never reducing compensation for those that are already in the program, but as years pass reducing the compensation to new entries to the program. My argument is specifically as to whether or not they deserve the compensation, not whether or not our government should cut them off.

That said, even if they started to reduce the compensation there would be serious problems if other non Native Americans in American society opposed the government movement, a very likely reality I suspect, and another reason why if the government ever did such a thing now is probably not the right time.
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