The Local Crank

Musings & Sardonic Commentary on Politics, Religion, Culture & Native American Issues. Bringing you the finest in radioactive screeds since 2002! "The Local Crank" newspaper column is distributed by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

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Location: Cleburne, Texas, United States

Just a simple Cherokee trial lawyer, Barkman has been forcing his opinions on others in print since, for reasons that passeth understanding, he was an unsuccessful candidate for state representative in 2002. His philosophy: "If people had wanted me to be nice, they should've voted for me."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Betraying the Cause

Rachel over at Rachel's Tavern writes an excellent piece on the romanticized feelings many African-Americans feel towards Indians and their acute sense of betrayal due to the actions of the tiny virulent anti-Freedmen faction within the Cherokee Nation. The lack of solidarity between Indians and other non-whites is not a new topic. Vine Deloria, Jr. wrote in Custer Died For Your Sins that there was a basic disconnect between Indians and blacks during the Civil Rights Era because they were seeking fundamentally different things: African-Americans, he said, wanted to be treated like whites; Indians, on the other hand, wanted to be treated like Indians. He even wrote approvingly of Black Separatism, which is the one thing he could relate to the struggle for Indian rights. I'm not sure I agree with him completely, but that's hardly surprising; part of the reason there has never been a true, broad-based "Native American Movement" is that Native Americans themselves remain divided by tribe, social class, blood quanta, assimilation and yes, even race (and now rich tribes versus desperately poor tribes). The inability to put aside these differences and unite for the common defense has been a (maybe even the) major cause of Indian losses since the time of Tecumseh and beyond. And if we cannot even agree among ourselves, how can we possibly recognize what we have in common with other non-whites? And any potential solidarity between Indians and blacks will only be made more unlikely if the betrayal of the Freedmen is allowed to stand.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Ann said...

"there was a basic disconnect between Indians and blacks during the Civil Rights Era because they were seeking fundamentally different things: African-Americans, he said, wanted to be treated like whites; Indians, on the other hand, wanted to be treated like Indians."

A word on that wanted to be "treated like whites."

Many black people before and after the Civil Rights Movement did not want to be white people. They simply did not want to continue to be degraded and humiliated under the regime of segregation.

They wanted the same consitutional rights that whites had; the same rights as U.S. citizens that they were guaranteed by law. Black people did not want to lose their culture any more than Indians did.

White people hearing the words, "social equality' heard that black men wanted to marry white women, take jobs from white people, move into white people's houses.

Black people hearing the words, "social equality" wanted to be treated as EQUALS, not as less than. They wanted the one-way rape/abuse/and mistreatment of black women and girls to stop (I'm sure you've always heard the old saw, "Would you want your daughter to marry one?," but, you've never heard, "Would you want your son to marry one?"), they wanted the right to obtain employment commensurate with their skills, they wanted the right to move about freely in the South, and all of America.

They wanted their labor and contributions to America to be acknowledged, and white America, and pretty much of all of non-black America, has yet to do that in respecting black America.

Native Americans wanted to cease the destruction of their culture and for the thieves and fakers (so-called New Age Indian whites, etc.) to cease defiling and disrespecting native culture, traditions and beliefs. Indians wanted to hold onto what little they were able to keep after all of the European devastation that nearly wiped them off the face of the Earth.

So, to say that black people wanted to be treated as white is incorrect and grossly wrong.

Black people wanted to be treated with respect and humanity, and not as third-class citizens, not as less than an animals.

"He even wrote approvingly of Black Separatism, which is the one thing he could relate to the struggle for Indian rights. I'm not sure I agree with him completely, but that's hardly surprising; part of the reason there has never been a true, broad-based "Native American Movement" is that Native Americans themselves remain divided by tribe, social class, blood quanta, assimilation and yes, even race (and now rich tribes versus desperately poor tribes). The inability to put aside these differences and unite for the common defense has been a (maybe even the) major cause of Indian losses since the time of Tecumseh and beyond."

Because of the ODR of slavery and segregation, vicious white hatred caused black Americans to have a cohesive unit of defense against white rage, white hatred, white hypocrisy.

Segregated unto themselves, rich black and poor black, dark-skinned black and light-skined black, young black and old black, ALL lived in the same segregated neighborhood and drew strength from each other. Depended on each oher. Protected each other. Looked out for each other.

"You and me and us against the world (white world)", was the daily life for black Americans. They all knew that what harmed one black person, harmed all black people. They knew that no matter how intelligent, no matter how poor or rich the black person; no matter what their station in life, they were all "niggers" in the white man and woman's eyes.

They knew where they stood in the white world.

But, black people knew where they stood in the eyes of God and the rest of the world.

That they were human as well as U.S. citizens, and like white people, they had as much right to the laws of the Constitution as any poor white or rich white.

Even today, many black people still have that mindset. We cannot help it. We have been set upon, attacked and annihilated by practically every racial/ethnic group in this country, and we know that the white people are not the only ones who wish to see our demise.

For many black people, the veils are being torn away. It is painful to learn the truth, but, better to know the truth, rather than live in the blissful ignorance of lies and myth.

Many tmes black people have reached out to many non-black races only to be slapped to the ground and then kicked in the face.

What else is new?

But, many black people are no longer letting this bridge called our back to be used as a stepping stone for other's salvation and agendas anymore.

I try not to give up and lose faith in humans but the strentgh can sometimes wane to where it almost burns out.

Black people have not had many allies who stayed with us all the way to the end. And that's our cross we have had to bear and mostly, ofterntimes, bear alone.

I try to not forget the John and David Cornsilks of the world, just as I try to always keep in memory the Viola Liuzzos, and Goodmans, and Scwherners of the world.

There may have been many who wished and sought our destruction from many races, but, on the other otherhand, there have been those who stood by with us and took the blows as they ran the gauntlet with us.

And I thank them for their solidarity.

6/24/2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Let me just plead that I am grossly over-generalizing DeLoria's argument, so please don't let me put words in his mouth. Maybe a better way to phrase his argument would be that he thought African Americans were seeking equality before the (white) law, whereas Indians really wanted nothing whatsoever to so with (white) law and wanted only to be let alone with their own distinct laws, customs, culture and religion. Ironically, if Chad Smith's supposed offer to create a "Freedmen Band of Cherokee" was sincere and plausible, that would end up being a form of black separatism, wouldn't it?

6/24/2007 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Ann said...

"Ironically, if Chad Smith's supposed offer to create a "Freedmen Band of Cherokee" was sincere and plausible, that would end up being a form of black separatism, wouldn't it?"

We black people still live with segregation/separatism. As if white separatism does not still exist, with their gated communities and all-white towns across America? I don't see how black separatism could harm anyone non-black, if anything it would probably give us more peace of mind since everyone wants to appropriate, commodify, imprison, erase us out of America, instead of treating us as fellow human beings.

And whatever Smith had to offer would have paled in comparison to what I would want for Freedmen/women and black Americans.

I don't think any body would accept the parts of America that I think black people should have if we had a separate country.

Talk about the fit hitting the shan.

This country is already balkanized.

It's only a matter of time before it truly acts on it.

6/24/2007 8:10 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

I agree that racial separation is more often imposed on the minority by the majority (either de faco or de jure) than the other way around. And you raise a good (but for me uncomfortable) question: is it hypocritical to support tribal sovereignty (as I do) but oppose racial separatism? I think there's a distinction since tribal sovereignty predates the United States and (the Cherokee vote notwithstanding) is not exclusively based on race. Still, you've given me something to think about, and that's always a good thing.

6/24/2007 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Ann said...

"And you raise a good (but for me uncomfortable) question: is it hypocritical to support tribal sovereignty (as I do) but oppose racial separatism?"

Yes, it is hypocritical.

The CN showed separatism of the most monstrous by removing their own citizens from the tribe rolls. Now tell me, how is that different from white-run America telling black people, "We have now rescinded the 14TH Amendment. Now get the fuck out!"

The CN showed hypocrisy and racism by disenrolling the Freedmen/women. Why disenroll the black, and not the white? Why disenroll them now? Because they thought they could get away with it? Because they hate their history of slavery against black people?

Separatism for black people would be peace of mind to get away from everyone who has used, abused and practically destroyed us. And the Cherokee were no different than the white in their mistreatment of black people. Just because it was Indians who held black people as slaves does not make it any less wrong. Indians do not get a free-pass just because they are Indian anymore than white people who have done wrong to black people. And that's includes the present-day wrongs that the CN has done to the Freedmen/women.

The CN does not want black people in their nation. Why don't they just have the guts to come out and say it?


"I think there's a distinction since tribal sovereignty predates the United States and (the Cherokee vote notwithstanding) is not exclusively based on race."

I don't think there's a difference. Whether sovereignity predates Zinjanthropous or Cro-Magnon, still does not give a nation the right to mistreat its citizens so. And as for it not pre-dating race, maybe once upon a time in the distant past, but not now in present-day America. If anything, race looms large in this issue. No ifs ands or buts about it.

Maybe the Freedmen/women should stop wasting their time with the United States government (which is obviously not in their favor) and take their case to the United Nations.

This is a case of human rights violations.

And no matter what the outcome, black people are going to come off as the scapegoats and evildoers whenever this hell ends.

I mean, what else is to be expected?

Haven't we black people's always been everyones piece of shit to beat up on and stomp down?

"Still, you've given me something to think about, and that's always a good thing."

Nice to hear that, since I'm always stepping on someone's toes and pissing them off when I speak my mind and don't hold back nor sugar-coat it.

6/25/2007 2:00 AM  

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