A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man…. Capt. Richard C. Pratt, Founder Carlisle Indian Industrial School
There have been several Op-Eds creating some off-the-wall arguments about Americans, American culture, and DNA among other things. There are a number of common threads binding these Op-Eds together. Starting with the total lack of knowledge about genetics, culture, and for that matter American history.
Consider Kathleen Parker’sGetting Bubba:
Full-bloodedness is an old coin that’s gaining currency in the new American realm. Meaning: Politics may no longer be so much about race and gender as about heritage, core values, and made-in-America. Just as we once and still have a cultural divide in this country, we now have a patriot divide.
Later she says:
What they know is that their forefathers fought and died for an America that has worked pretty well for more than 200 years. What they sense is that their heritage is being swept under the carpet while multiculturalism becomes the new national narrative. And they fear what else might get lost in the remodeling of America.
The problem is, this leaves out a lot of other Americans who have fought and died for that same vision. Native Americans fought alongside US troops in the revolutionary war. In point of fact, the US has had Native American allies in every war it has ever fought. An interesting piece on NPR explores the experience of Native Americans in Boarding Schools – schools such as those run by Capt. Pratt. This quote symbolizes the experience:
“Saturday night we had a movie,” says Toledo. “Do you know what the movie was about? Cowboys and Indians. Cowboys and Indians. Here we’re getting all our people killed, and that’s the kind of stuff they showed us.”
It’s also the kind of stuff they were taught in history class. One could say the same about most ethnic groups. African-Americans have also fought in US armies in every war we have fought. They, like the Native Americans, have made important contributions to American culture yet when a person of with some African-American genes in his ancestry runs for president this is what happens. The problem is that “…an America that has worked pretty well for more than 200 years…” has ignored and belittled the contributions of most of it’s members.
The history of humanity is the history of migration – any physical anthropologist or archaeologist could point you to hundreds, if not thousands, of studies documenting the intermingling of cultures and peoples during the course of the last 50,000 years. American history is no different. Medved uses this to weave a glittering fantasy of freemarket capitalism and DNA creating the noble American culture that is, well, not French, or something. He seems to be arguing that immigrants are plucky, aggressive, and adventuresome. Consequently, all their DNA is American and therefore we have some sort of competitive edge against outsourcing and the loss of all our manufacturing jobs. We may all be unemployed soon, but thanks to our superior DNA, our dopamine receptor systems will still be superior.
I don’t take either column seriously and I don’t think the Medved and Parker do either, rather they seem to be laying the groundwork for the Republican attack on Obama.