It’s always funny to see what gets under your skin and what doesn’t. Probably I should know better than to read the comments under an article on Native Americans. The comment thread was under an article about the relationship between economic development and property rights on Native American reservations which is currently on the Atlantic website. The article brought up some interesting points, but was marred by an anti-government agenda which put the interesting points at the end of the article, after a bit of whining about social justice warriors. I actually agree with the author’s point that the matter of racist names for sports teams is trivial compared to the question of economic development. In fact, I was just ranting to my sister last week about people whose only interest in native issues is to tweet about sports teams’ names. It’s a classic case of virtue signalling. However, dwelling on the right/left pissing match distracted from some of the more potentially interesting parts of the article, for instance proposed legislation in Canada called “First Nations Property Ownership Act.”
Unlike what many people in the cultural mainstream expect, native issues don’t align neatly along a right-left or conservative-liberal axis. Also, many people in the mainstream who have not paid intense attention to native issues don’t understand either the history or the legal issues involved. When reading about native issues, I often find my own opinions torn due to competing goods.
Anyway, here’s a screen shot of the exchange that got me so mad:
Anyway, like I said, it made me really mad. It’s funny, because normally I’m highly uncomfortable with identity politics. Of course, I’m usually blissfully oblivious to the fact that this level of ignorance and hostility towards native people exists.
A bit of free association:
They dyed his hair and hid his feathers
And told him he was Latin
‘Til he came chanting down the street
Like a cannibal in Manhattan