Naturally, I thought of that this weekend.
The thing is, Tucker Carlson is wrong. So is she, though, and just where she apparently doesn't see it.
The United Nations this weekend was talking about how the USA needs to give some land back to the Native Americans. It's easy to mock the UN here, but let's look at the substance of the complaint.
Close to a million people live on the US's 310 Native American reservations. Some tribes have done well from a boom in casinos on reservations but most have not.
Anaya visited an Oglala Sioux reservation where the per capita income is around $7,000 a year, less than one-sixth of the national average, and life expectancy is about 50 years.
The two Sioux reservations in South Dakota – Rosebud and Pine Ridge – have some of the country's poorest living conditions, including mass unemployment and the highest suicide rate in the western hemisphere with an epidemic of teenagers killing themselves.This is the reason why Native Americans are granted affirmative action benefits. If someone fights out of Pine Ridge and makes it to college, they've already overcome a massive burden. The whole point of the practice is to correctly judge just how much harder it was for them to get there than it was for those who had an easier road. We ought to want this. That's where Tucker is wrong: the system isn't unjust by nature. For them, we ought to want it.
"I should in that case hold you," replied the yeoman, "a friend to the weaker party."
"Such is the duty of a true knight at least," replied the Black Champion; "and I would not willingly that there were reason to think otherwise of me."The problem with what Warren did was that she made a mockery out of the system. This is where Greene was wrong. The question isn't whether she was qualified -- even well-qualified professors, when they are looking for a job at Harvard, are looking for any advantage that may come to hand. That she is already a strong candidate is just the point. This is not a system for the strong to use to tilt things even further in their favor. It is a system that is meant to uphold the weak against the strong.
I'm just as Cherokee as Elizabeth Warren -- to judge by "blood quanta," which is apparently the standard that we're now supposed to apply. Apparently the currently serving Cherokee Nation Chief is no more than that. In my case it comes even further back in the family history, when this was frontier country and white women were very rare (a constant in the story of the American frontier is that women move to the frontier, wherever it is in any generation, rather more slowly). A couple of my frontiersman ancestors took Cherokee brides. It works out to the same percentage. It also means my family is American since the mid-1700s, which counts for... exactly nothing, in determining who is a "real American," according to what I'm given to understand is the acceptable standard.
Never once in my life did I think of marking myself as "Native American" for some advantage. It would be a positive insult to those people on Pine Ridge if I did. I've suffered nothing for it; everyone whose family has been in the South for two generations, black or white or otherwise, has that much Native American "blood quanta" if they care to track it down. For the people of Pine Ridge, it's everything; for us, it's a very minor part of the story of what it means to be American.
Most of us would be called "white boys" by our FOX News commentator; and why not? I have no reason to buck the term if Lewis Grizzard wouldn't. Nevertheless I'll bet if you looked, he was at least 1/32nd Native American. All of us are, and that means nothing at all. It's wrong to help yourself by taking from the weak and the poor. If law or custom make it easy to do so, we are wrong if we take advantage -- and if the law backs us in our wrongness, then the law is just as wrong as we are. Everyone knows that.
Grim, last winter.