Those on the political left preach almost incessantly about cultural diversity and the plight of so-called minority groups. At the same time America’s history with slavery is an ever present theme used as a bludgeoning weapon against those who dare question the agenda of the supposedly benevolent cultural crusaders. But, yesterday, in the name of diversity and cultural protection, a 6-year-old girl (“Lexi”) was removed from her California home because she is apparently 1.56 percent Choctaw Native American, and despite the fact that she has lived with her foster family for the last four years, happily and well adjusted, she has been traded – in a very real sense – like any slave from a past generation, to serve the cause of her cultural master. You see, in this circumstance, her happiness and safety and well-being is not hers, its her “culture’s” and in the interest of cultural values – the courts were used to uproot this apparently happy and thriving child – to serve the “greater good.” All of these sentiments, of course, were touted by the culturally sophisticated, but defensive South during slavery.
The basics of the situation are these. Lexi’s foster home placement is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. The stated purpose of the Act is to “keep American Indian children with American Indian families.” But, think about this for a minute. In Lexi’s circumstance, her birth parents struggled with substance abuse, and according to court documents her birth father had a significant criminal history, never lived on a Choctaw reservation and didn’t have any social, political, or cultural ties to the tribe. But, by biology, Lexi is 1/64th Choctaw based on her birth father’s ancestry. So, despite the fact that Lexi has been perfectly at peace with a loving foster family (mother, father and siblings) for the last four years of her six year life – her race and her ethnicity are the legal justifications for uprooting her and forcefully taking her by government officials to a “family” she has never known.
Did the government intervene here to protect Lexi? Was she being abused or neglected? No. According to the National Indian Child Welfare Association the decision to “re-place Lexi” was because “the purpose of foster care is to provide temporary care for children … not to fast-track the creation of new families when there is extended family available who want to care for the child.” This sounds well and good, but where was this extended family when the birth parents were struggling with substance abuse and crime? Also, where was this “family” during the last four years. According to Lexi’s foster family, they’ve been open to “visitation” and similar relationship building efforts to introduce Lexi to her extended biological family. But, the extended family apparently declined.
According to the National Indian Child Welfare Association, “[t]he foster family was well aware years ago this girl is an Indian child, whose case is subject to the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act.” How does that poem go? “Oh what a tangled web we weave…” When the government intervenes – not to protect the rights of a child, or her parents – but to advocate for her race and ethnicity, you get interesting but clearly unintelligent justifications like this one: “The Pages [Lexi’s foster family] were always aware that the goal was to place Lexi with her family, and her permanent placement has been delayed due to the Pages’ opposition to the Indian Child Welfare Act,” the Choctaw Nation echoed in a statement. “We believe that following the Choctaw Nation’s values is in Lexi’s best interest.”
How is the “Choctaw Nation’s values” in Lexi’s best interest? Isn’t it more honest to say that using the force of government to remove Lexi from her home, served the Choctaw Nation’s claimed interests. You see, in modern America the supposedly enlightened, advanced and culturally conscious class has decided that a child’s rights and “interests” are determined by her race and ethnicity – in this case 1/64th Choctaw ancestry. Heaven forbid anyone question the propriety of this action – say, by reliance upon that slave owning Jefferson who penned that all men’s rights came from God – and equally so, regardless of race or ethnicity. Heaven forbid anyone remind these do-gooders that American’s long ago addressed this nonsense by rejecting Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. Does anyone even know what these cases and questions have to do with America and our history?
In case you might not know, Justice John Marshall Harlan, who at one time in his life supported slavery – changed his views, and writing for the descent in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision Harlan argued against the kind of absurdity resurrected in Lexi’s case and set the stage for decades of a philosophical course correction – based upon principles, not sentiment. You see, long ago there were voices in this country who suggested that men like Homer Plessy was not really a full man – because he was mixed race, and had 1/8th African ancestry. These voices demanded that the law recognize his 1/8th blood ancestry as justification for setting him apart as different – a different category of men, where the adjudication of his rights, whatever they were, had to be handled separately and apart from otherwise full and pure blooded white men. In 2016 the logical and principled absurdity of this position is taken for granted. So much so – that few see the application here – to Lexi.
In fact, it would do our supposed “elite” well to review the reasons why Judge Harlan concluded in the Plessy case that the “law regards man as man” not, for example, Choctaw or Caucasian – or any other race or ethnicity.
[I]n view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.
It took almost sixty (60) years for Americans to come around to Judge Harlan’s excellent declaration – and when we did, we helped advance the cause for liberty, prosperity and peace – for millions. But now, as evident yesterday by the removal of Lexi from her home – to serve the racial and ethnic sentiments brought about by Lexi’s 1/16th ancestry, our supposedly benevolent rulers have sold a small child as a slave on the alter of cultural sensitivity, forcing her from the only world she has known. Here, the rights of an individual again are being adjudicated as separate and apart – because Lexi’s blood has 1/16th Choctaw biology.
However this little girl ultimately grows up, it is my honest hope that she grows to live as a free woman who is not bound by cultural sentiments or disparate racial treatment, but instead that she finds the strait and narrow path, that empowers her mind, strengthens hear soul, and gives her confidence to be her own person – free from the pronouncements of others who presume that her “interests” are tied only to a fraction of her biology.
On a side note, isn’t it interesting how a 1/16th biological identity takes unquestioned “cultural” precedence over the other 15/16ths of her so-called racial or ethnic identity. I suppose the other “cultural” ancestors of this little girl don’t mind sacrificing themselves along with her own living, breathing, feeling interests so that our society can feel good about itself – regardless of the hypocrisy and fundamental irrationality at play.
I’m sure there is much more to this story, there always is – but heaven forbid that among all these other circumstances, we might avoid loosing our minds.
*** Read more here: 6-Year-Old Girl Taken From Longtime California Foster Family for Being 1/64 Native American
by ELISHA FIELDSTADT.