Excerpt from Dr. William Allen’s article “The New Racism.” (emphasis is Blog Author’s)
Dr. Allen is a Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science; Michigan State University as well as the former Chairman, United States Commission on Civil Rights, August 8, 1988 to October 23, 1989
“…while Congress has the power to alter Indian law and practice, it also has the power to abstain from doing so. In short, Congress may treat Indians just as it pleases, and without regard to the ordinary protections other Americans take for granted. Nor has Congress failed to follow up on this opportunity.
In the very year the ICRA was ruled to be unenforceable in federal courts, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), in which Congress made explicit the tacit premise of all our Indian policy. An Indian is as such not permitted to assert rights of American citizenship, even while Indians are almost universally admitted to citizenship whether on or off reservations. Indians vote in all of our elections; they pay our federal taxes; and they defend our liberties in the country’s wars. Indeed, Indians are dramatically subjected to the obligations of citizenship even in one case in which certain other citizens are exempted: they must pay social security taxes. Congress specifically exempted the “selfsufficient” and “independent” Amish from the need to pay social security—a privilege Indians lack altogether.
In the ICWA the Indian individual, parent and child, is subordinated to the cultural identity of the tribe. By assigning jurisdiction in child custody cases to tribal courts, whether the child and/or parent is on or off the reservation and despite their dissent in most meaningful cases, the Congress has effectively ordered that Indian children be placed specifically with regard to their race and, more importantly, that state courts in particular close their doors to Indian suitors. Congress’s express interest in preserving the integrity of Indian tribes has been executed in such a way as to destroy the integrity of individual Indians. Now is the time to repeat: Indians are almost universally American citizens. Accordingly, what this exercise of power by Congress means is that Congress is free to dispose of the persons and properties of citizens entirely on the basis of race, and without the customary safeguards of-the Constitution.
How came Congress to exercise such power over the American Indian? In a word: treaty relations! One might rightly inquire how it can be possible for the government of a free society to deal with its own citizens (and only some of them at that) by means of treaty—thereby escaping the obligation to assure the equal protection of the laws. Congress has never attempted to answer that question, preferring to hide behind the fiction that treaties executed before Indians became citizens remain in effect after they are citizens. We will not be fooled by that device, however, for we recognize that if treaty obligations persist despite and indeed at the expense of citizenship, then there is no reason assignable why Congress may not enter into treaties with any of its citizens, suitably defined in terms of group affiliation (the most accessible of which is race).
The power Congress exercises threatens not only the Indian, therefore, but every American; for it reveals a device whereby to elude the limitations of the Constitution. Given the rapid Lebanonization of American society that has been inspired by policies of racial preference, the prospect is frightening indeed. It remains now but to answer whether this development is innocent—a by-blcw stumbled across by despotic souls ever ready to aggrandize themselves?
Far from it, it is rather the natural fulfillment of that design which was originally aimed not only at the Indian but at all the United States. The architect of American Indian policy was the selfsame architect of the positive good school of slavery, and the theoretical argument that republican government was inefficacious and should be replaced by government on the model of rationally distinguished interests or cultures engaging in mutual bargaining for the sake of their respective members. The affirmative action regime is not new; it was invented in the 19th century. The Indian policy is only the most advanced stage of the affirmative action regime a glimpse of the future that awaits us.
The 1824 Secretary of War who invented the Bureau of Indian Affairs by his own fiat, and laid out the guidelines of a government serving as a “great father,” in fact bequeathed to us what today we falsely recognize as the “new racism.” It is, in fact, the racism of yesteryear, rejecting in its principle, as it was designed to do, the central tenet of Americanism, the belief in self-government.
Behold the examples of even our most recent policy decisions. See how these decisions aggrandize the power of the state at our expense, and all in the purported service of the new regime. Then inquire anew whether we should not quickly learn to employ George Washington’s language toward the Indian, “our brother,” thence springing to his defense as the surest means to defend ourselves….