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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Nationalist Pride Day

Fifty-three years ago, Martin Luther King had a dream.  He had a dream everyone lived in harmony and were proud of their heritage.  This January twenty-first, I ask everyone, in Martin Luther King's honor, to stand up and boldly proclaim, "I am proud to be American" to show the world our unity as a nation.

Every day, we have a "Proud To Be" day honoring some subset of Americans.  We have a Women's March; Black History Month; Gay Pride and its offshoot, LGBQT Day; St. Paddy's Day for the Irish; Cinco de Mayo for the Mexicans; and almost every city has their Italian, Ukranian, and Polish festivals.

But nothing to honor Americans.

Tomorrow, I will sign into law making the third Monday of January the federal holiday, Nationalist Pride Day.   This Monday, Americans need to stand up and shout to the world, "I'm American and I'm proud of it."

There's nothing wrong with taking pride in your ethnic or racial background unless you use it to gain favor like Pochantas did.  Squaw Warren might be proud of her alleged Indian heritage, but have you ever heard her say, "I'm proud to be an American"?

No.  She and her liberal peers want open borders so the terrorists, drug dealers, and rapists can erase America from the map and banish Americans to the ash heaps of history.

The good ol' days when we were proud to be
American!
On Monday, when you stir from your siesta, proclaim, "I'm proud to be American," but state it in English, the official language of America.

On Monday, when you're preparing dinner for your husband and kids, give thanks for the bounty America has given your husband to bring home for your family.

On Monday, kiss your welfare check in thanks for the support your country gives you and the other less fortunate living in the ghettos.

On Monday, stand in front of your rainbow door that let's us know who you are and proclaim you are proud to be an American.

On Monday, the world should see smiling pearly whites from Canada to Mexico and sea to shining sea.

Embrace Nationalist Pride Day and Make America Great Again!


Posted by


Donnie Grumplin: So-called president of the conservative world whose tiny little hooves are a tumultuous terror when they hit the keyboard.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Dorchester County Owes Me $125

About a month ago, the county mowers came through on their last run for the season.  They cut into my yard demolishing a tree and some bushes.  This isn't the first time the mowers waged war on my yard.  Six years ago they did the same thing.  This time, I'm sending the bill to the county.

For my readers who may not be familiar with phragmites mentioned in the letter, phragmites are commonly called giant or common reeds.  They grow eight to twelve feet in one season and die back in the winter.  They are highly invasive and grow so thick in one season, they choke out waterways.  Mowing them doesn't kill them although mowing does weaken them, but it takes years of continuous mowing to have any impact.  Skip a year and you have to start the battle all over again.  It is phragmites that causes the view obstruction mentioned in the letter, not our native plants and bushes.


Dear Mr. LeBlanc,

Six years ago, your mowers extended their blades into my yard and cut down some bushes, bushes that were supposed to be replaced in the spring, but never were and I chose not to follow up on it.  I don't remember who came down to look at the damage, but he agreed the mower cut too far in.

"People complain they can't see the deer, " he explained, "so we cut wide to increase visibility.  Our mowers are supposed to know not to cut into people's yards, though."

Before he came down to assess the damage and explain things to me, I went to the county yard to ask what the county's right-of-way is.  A young woman explained, "It depends on the property.  The right-of-way can extend anywhere from fifteen feet in to thirty feet in."

"So your mowers have a map of the road depicting how far they should be mowing and adjust the blades accordingly?"

"No.  They mow as far in as the blade extends."

May as well bring the paving machines down
and make it a four lane highway
After the disaster six years ago, the county didn't mow much past the ditches.  This year, the wide mowing began again.  If obstruction of view and deer are the concern for the county, why wasn't there a concern in July?  The phragmites grow eight to twelve feet high by July every year and the deer are out year round.  If you don't want your mowers carrying right-of-way maps to do the mowing correctly, at least mow consistently.  Fifteen feet in is about to the roadside edge of a lot of these ditches, twenty-two feet in to the other side of the ditch.  A safe bet would be to mow to the other side of the ditch and no further.  Be consistent with the mowing throughout the growing season and homeowners will know where it's safe to plant their trees and bushes.

What's left of the $70 tree, a unique tree that
takes on the form of the prevailing wind like
a living sculpture.
This year your mowers cut well past the ditch.  On my property, they cut thirty-two to thirty-three feet in.  Your mowers leveled my $70 tree and six bushes that I planted for privacy to the ground.  I calculate $125 should cover the cost.  I based the pricing on the pot size larger than what I bought six years ago to get the new plants closer to the size they were before being razed.  Please let me know when I can pick the check up.

Since I am copying our County Commissioner, Jay Newcomb, in on this email, I hope he takes the initiative to introduce a standard policy that governs consistent mowing year after year.  Yes, Mr. Newcomb, please set a standard compromise that every mowing follows.  Since the minimum right-of-way is fifteen feet and the maximum is thirty feet, compromise and set the standard at twenty-two feet.  Every mowing will be done at twenty-two feet and I'm sure no one will complain - except the speeders who want to feel safe from hitting deer while doing seventy on these back country roads.  Since no one should care about the speeders keeping our vultures well fed, their complaints can, and should be, ignored.

Also, Mr. Newcomb, if the county refuses to pay for my losses, then I ask you to demote the supervisor responsible for training mowers.  He's unqualified for the job of supervisor.  If he spent a couple of years as a mower, he would be a better trainer of mowers in the future. 

Thank you and with regards,


A Drunk Redneck

If you have concerns or comments about mowing practices in Dorchester County:

Contact Person for the Engineering Division of the County Highway Department
Greg LeBlanc, County Engineer gleblanc@docogonet.com
5435 Handley Road Cambridge, MD 21613
410-228-2920
410-228-9516 FAX

Dorchester County Commissioner, District 1
Jay L. Newcomb
Cell: (443) 521-6957
E-Mail: jnewcomb@docogonet.com

If outside of District 1, find your commissioner for your district.

Friday, December 28, 2018

My Life's an Open Book - Chapter II

Four months ago, I applied for a position as a Correctional Officer I in Somerset County.  The correctional facility down there is short staffed since half of the officers were arrested on corruption like charges (trafficking drugs to prisoners, for example) and many others left before getting caught.  Long story short (one of the few times I am adept at the shortened version), I applied, took a test, passed the test, and was sent an application package.

I took more than one look at the application package, with lots of hesitation.  I even began filling it out.  After a couple of weeks, I tabled the application and moved on to other career options.

Fast forward four months to today.  I received an email form a correctional officer recruiter asking me to contact him if I wanted to continue the hiring process.  He even left open the possibility that maybe missed emails led to my classification as a "failure to respond."

I assured him my lack of response was intentional, not a failure.  Below is my response to his request that I contact him if I felt my classification of "failure to respond" was the result of missed emails or I simply wanted to restart the application process or even if I had any questions. 

Dear Mr. XXXX,

Thank you for your follow up.

There were several reasons I elected not to follow through with an interview for the position of Correctional Officer I.

First, the application required detailed information of everything about me since I was eighteen and the instructions came with the warning that if I failed to include anything, that would be viewed as deceit and grounds to disqualify me or terminate me if I were already hired.  Almost forty years of personal history meant I was bound to miss something - not out of deceit, mind you - and I wouldn't want the omission discovered after I was hired.   I'm thinking I'm embarking on a productive career, but my omission of a job as a ditch digger for a cable company (I forget the cable company's name) could send me to the unemployment line.

Second, the Department of Corrections pay background investigators to run a check on me.  All they have to do is purchase a report from one of those online Big Data Brokers who are more than happy to tell you more about me than I know about myself - all for the low, low price of $39.95.  The background investigators need to do their job; I don't need to do it for them.

Something I could learn from this job - brevity.
Short, sweet, to the point - John should write
for this Blog.
Third, the application also required transcripts from my high school and the two colleges I attended.   Sealed transcripts cost money and they're not cheap. I don't pay to get hired anywhere and so I will not order them.  Besides, if the Department of Corrections' background investigators were doing their job, they would already have those transcripts.

Fourth, I was extremely uncomfortable with the state aggregating all my personal information (right down to the vehicles I own) and storing it all in one database.  The Department of Corrections couldn't make it any easier for someone to steal my identity.  Nowhere on your application did the Department of Corrections post a privacy policy that explained the purpose for gathering all this information, where it would be stored, for how long it would be stored, who would have access to the information, what the information could be used for other than an employment decision (if that were the case), and my legal recourse if the information were breached.

My very strong opinions on our rights to privacy clashed with the Department of Corrections' application.  While I know there are plenty of people who don't mind a work environment where their lives are open books, I do mind.  I decided that perhaps a career move to a Correctional Officer wasn't a compatible move, either for me or the Department of Corrections.  But thank you for considering me for the position.

Regards,

(My real name instead of "A Drunk Redneck")

I have a sneaky suspicion that after Mr. XXXX receives this email, the Department of Corrections will be shelling out $39.95 of your tax dollars to recruit me into their department - as a convict.


Update (12/31/18)Mr. XXXX responded with a simple two sentence email thanking me for my interest and providing me with a link to government jobs that didn't require an extensive and thorough background check as a Correctional Officer position required.  No "men in Black suits" have come knocking on my door...yet.


Related Links:
My life's an open book - Chapter I

Posted by A Drunk Redneck

Friday, December 14, 2018

Time to Kick the Talk Show Hosts and Pundits to the Curb

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

I must apologize to Susan Monday in advance.  It is her show on WDEL 105.9 Talk Radio this morning (12 DEC 18) that inspired what you are about to read.  Despite this article's blanket statement to kick talk show hosts and pundits to the curb, SuMo, as her fans affectionately refer to her, is an exception in the otherwise bland and bigoted landscape of talk entertainment.  There should be more of her and less of almost everyone else.

Did I say bigoted landscape?

Yes, I did.  Let's start at the beginning.

SuMo did a segment on our so-called president's reality show performance yesterday where he threatened a government shut down if he didn't get his way on the border wall.  The calls poured in well past the segment's allotted time.  Listeners were fired up.

Before continuing, let's fill in some facts and historical background.
  • Trump's claim that ten terrorist suspects were apprehended at the Mexican border is fiction created out of convoluted facts.  In a nutshell, a report on 2017 terrorist or possible terrorist encounters worldwide stated about seven people on the terrorist watch list per day were caught trying to enter the country.  Most planned to fly in.  None planned to walk across our southern border.  Through various administration officials' misrepresentation, including through Pence's office, that figure was twisted over a course of the year to ten individuals stopped at the Mexican border.  The North Platte Telegraph breaks the creation of a lie down in detail. 
  • A 2017 State Department report showed no credible threat from the Mexican border nor a credible threat that Mexican drug cartels have been infiltrated by known terrorist groups.  In fact, the report suggested we should be more concerned with threats coming across our northern border.
  • No proof nor statistics were offered on Trump's claim that immigrants from Mexico bring disease to this country.  In fact, our own government through the National Institute of Health acknowledges Mexico's excellent vaccination program as having achieved a 94% vaccination rate.  The Houston Chronicle reports Mexico's vaccination program beats the US program.  Mexico boasts a 96% fully vaccinated rate for ages 1-4 whereas US children run a vaccination rate of about 71%.  
  • The current crisis in Latin America, primarily the countries of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala, is largely a result of our making.  Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt's Big Stick diplomacy style and our support of unsavory dictators, we helped the Latin America countries (particularly Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala) build corrupt governments that keep the populace in poverty through terror and violence.  The question should be what and to what extent, if any, should we bear responsibility to the people of Latin America for our past mistakes and bad policies.
  • The current influx of "immigrants" from Latin America is not immigration.  They are asylum seekers wanting refuge from the poverty stricken and violent environment in their countries, an environment we were instrumental in building over the last hundred or more years.  There is a very important legal distinction between "immigrant" and "asylum seeker."  One simply wants to come here for a better life.  The other is fleeing danger.  Being returned to their country could mean imprisonment or a death sentence.
When SuMo gave the background of Trump's reality show starring him and his sidekicks, Pelosi and Schumer, she asked her listeners what they thought.  The calls flowed in with no unexpected surprises.  Initially, Trump supporters dominated the line cheering his ploy at transparency.  The Democrats have to be exposed for the open border advocates they are.  Those are disease ridden criminals, rapists, and terrorists trying to enter this country illegally and need to be stopped - not welcomed with open liberal arms.

Get the picture of bigotry rearing its ugly head?

The very human trait of labeling boxes, stuffing everything and everybody who fits the label into the box, and making generalizations of what one would expect to find in the box is hard wired in all of us.  Prejudicial thinking is what helped early man make sense of the world and avoid danger...and, more importantly, death.

"Oh, good Lord," some of you are thinking.  "The drunk redneck is justifying prejudicial thinking."

Think about it.  Most people are instinctively fearful of snakes.  Even those of us who know that garter snake in our garden is completely harmless will still get jumpy around it.  Heck, a puppy that has never seen a snake before is jumpy on its first encounter with a snake.  Preliminary research suggests that several million years of coevolution with spiders and snakes has made us (and most higher mammals) instinctively fearful of these creatures because the few that are poisonous are extremely deadly - (Are We Born Fearing Spiders and Snakes?)  We see a garter snake in our garden and prejudicial thinking kicks in.  There's no time to pause and determine if the snake is deadly.  By the time you figure it out, you might be dead.

"Snakes are slithering evil out to kill me," you think.

The logical side of your brain kicks in.  "Just a harmless garter snake," you reason.

If you let the the logical side of your brain rule and allow the garter snake to continue on its way doing whatever garter snakes do, you've acknowledged your prejudicial thinking and overruled your instinctive reaction.  If you kill the snake in spite of knowing the facts about the snake, you took your prejudicial thinking to bigoted thinking.  Some might even call you an ophidiophobist.

Our fear of spiders and snakes might be our most keenly developed mode of prejudicial thinking, but other examples abound.  As a kid, the Brussels sprout Mom and Dad made you eat nearly gagged you to death.  When Mom and Dad served you any other vegetable that looked or smelled like a Brussels sprout, you already decided you wouldn't like them because they were going to gag you to death just like the Brussels sprouts did.  Prejudicial thinking at work.

An FOIA request to NSA for their profile of a
typical SuMo listener returned this pic.  Dang
government's been spying on me.
The Trump supporters calling in regurgitating the empty rhetoric that defines Trump and his administration is expected.  The passionate emotional calls from our immigrant listeners on Delmarva is expected.  They feel threatened by the prejudicial thinking that crossed over into bigoted thinking by the Trump supporters.  I reckon this is what one calls reality talk entertainment. Had the segment ended with the callers, there would be no article to write.  But the drama didn't end with ill-informed callers playing the talk show circuit.

The callers, like you and me, have full time jobs, are going to school, raising families, and living life that we are experts in.  If we need medical advice, we might Google some stuff to get an idea of how concerned we need to be, but ultimately, we go to the doctor for consultation and the final answer.  If we need legal information, we might Google some stuff to see if we're on the right track, but ultimately, we go to a lawyer for consultation and the final answer.  (Word of advice - avoid any lawyer Trump has hired.)  As individuals, we don't have time to become an expert in everything except the life we're living every day so we rely on others for the information we need or want.

Fortunately, we're social creatures and rely on others to be the expert and others rely on us when they need expert advice.  We rely on doctors to give us sound and current medical advice.  The doctors, in turn, may rely on us to suggest the best product that might fit their needs or the best home treatment plan to prevent pest damage to their homes.

Likewise, we rely on politicians to make the best calls on economic, security, and foreign relations decisions.  We rely on news people to give us accurate, unbiased stories that help shape our opinions of how well our politicians know their jobs.  SuMo's segment on Trump's reality show with Pelosi and Schumer  taught us our elected officials aren't experts at much of anything.  She also taught us the news people and talk show hosts are far from being experts.

First up is Trump's reality skit with Pelosi and Schumer.  Our Constitution is very clear on what the role of the President is.  Bullying congressional members with the threat of a government shut down if the President doesn't get his way is not among the duties our Constitution lists, suggests, nor implies.  In fact, our Founding Fathers and colonial leaders were obsessed with creating a governmental system that would prevent a despotic leader from seizing control and overriding the authority of any of the other two branches of government.  Threatening to shut down the government is a treasonous act undermining the very foundation of our democracy by nullifying our Constitution. So sad none of the callers called out Trump on his behavior regardless of their stance on The Wall (capitalized in deference to Pink Floyd).

Again, it is not the responsibility of a talk show host to step in and "set people straight," so to speak.  Her responsibility is to keep the dialog going in an entertaining (and hopefully respectful and informative) way.  The bedrock of a democracy is let the people be heard regardless how wrong or how right they are.  But a line was crossed when the segment included a call in to another talk show from a news reporter for Delaware 105.9.

Rob Petree, a news reporter for Delaware 105.9, called the Jim Bohannon Show, a nationally syndicated program carried by Delaware 105.9, to voice his opinion on Trump's wall the night before.  While Mr. Petree is entitled to his opinions, when his opinions are showcased on the platform of being a news reporter who should know something more than the rest of us, he better have the facts straight.  He's the expert the rest of us look towards to validate our own opinions or to reshape our misinformed opinions.

In the recorded segment SuMo shared, Bohannon referred to democrats as "slimey."  In a couple of short segments, Bohannon painted himself as the Archie Bunker of the anti-world.  Instead of being funny and lovable as Bunker was in this world, Bohannon was inciting and hateful as you would expect Bunker to be in the anti-world.  My first reaction was what the heck is a news reporter listening to such garbage for let alone calling in to it.  (Bohannon is a throwback to the late eighties Morton Downey Show, the host being credidted as the father of trash TV.)  My second reaction was a definite vow to never listen to a Jim Bohannon show.  Fifty years in broadcasting and the best he achieved is sewer slug that occasionally comes to the surface to exhale his foul breath for some sort of ratings success.

Petree then threw out all the empty rhetoric Trump and his administration spews on a daily basis.  For me, Petree is one of those experts I should be able to turn to for the unbiased facts.  Instead, he ignored the facts and history and reinforced the idea we should have something to fear from those brown skinned, Spanish speaking troublemakers at our southern border.  He ignored the facts and history as he rambled on with his opinion. 

Did SuMo cross the line for dragging Petree's late evening call to the Jim Bohannon show out or did Petree cross the line when he allowed his performance to be put on display?  Considering his near boastful tone as he shared his call-in experience and reiterated his opinion on The Wall, SuMo did an excellent job.  Petree let the ball drop.  In another thirty years, I'll be dead and Petree might be an award winning journalist.  He's young and has a lot of learning ahead of him and experience to gain.  That's my way of saying that what I have to say doesn't mean much and we all make youthful mistakes. But his performance today was disappointing, at best.

Sumo is, and probably always will be, an honorary drunk redneck.  Even if she meets an untimely death within another hundred years, she'll retain that title.  Petree is learning his trade and one call to a talk show shouldn't be the yardstick by which we measure his professionalism.  You, the reader, hopefully learned a bit about our predisposition towards prejudicial thinking, how to recognize it, and how to look past it when you're on the public stage, whether you're calling in on a radio talk show or jabbering on social media.

Me?  Well I learned I need a bathroom break and another beer after about every 250 words I type.  I also regret that a new contract I have agreed to in my job means I won't get to listen to the Susan Monday Show any more except on holidays or vacation because the contract messes all my hours up (I'm self employed).  If SuMo loved me as much as she loves all her listeners, she'd start working the holidays so I don't miss her show.

Ok, I'm practicing the guilt trip tactic old people use to get their way.  I'm surprised Trump still uses the youthful bullying tactics instead of the elderly guilt trip tactics.  Nowhere else but in this article could I get away with using that line.


TL;DR folks:
A review of Susan Monday's talk show the other day.  What do you expect as a summary?  Ok, we got Trump, bigotry, more Trump, and more bigotry, but the take away is there's more to being a talk show host or a pundit.  There's a certain degree of public responsibility.  SuMo has it nailed.  Most everyone else can be kicked to the curb.  If you get a chance, listen to Susan Monday (SuMo if you become a big fan) M-F, 9 am - noon on Delaware 105.9


For your listening pleasure:


Posted by A Drunk Redneck

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Welcome to the New World of Machines

Welcome to the New World of Machines brought to you by the laziness of people.

We know the old adage.  "No one wants to do their job anymore."   Thanks to technology, we can add to that.   "Why should they when a machine can do it for them?"  Walmart human resource people found a way to do less on their job.   Let a machine reject job applicants so a human doesn't have to weed through them all.

Around one in the morning, I applied online for a job with Walmart.   The application is not an easy task.  It took me about two hours to get through it...a lot of time for a job that doesn't even pay a living wage.  The last part of the application process consisted of an online job interview, Walmart's euphemism for personality test.

After taking the test, I checked my email to ensure the application went through.  Waiting for me sat an email from Walmart with the standard, non-original subject line, "Thank you for applying...."  I opened the email and it informed me in short, sweet terms that I was no longer being considered for the position because I wasn't competitive enough.

Since it was two in the morning, I knew no person reviewed my application.  The computer decided I wasn't competitive enough.   Given my experience for the position, I deduced that the computer based its decision on the personality test...oops, online job interview.

Walmart's HR rep who didn't hire me
Best I can figure, my non-competitive nature must've been inferred by the handful of superlative questions asked.  The superlative questions were questions in some form like "you would do anything to meet store goals."  I had four answer choices: completely disagree, somewhat disagree, somewhat agree, completely agree.  For these superlative questions, I answered "somewhat agree."  I wouldn't lie, cheat, or steal to meet store goals.  I wouldn't bad mouth a coworker to ensure I got the promotion.  I wouldn't falsely document records to make it look like I was doing a better job than I was.  In short, "I wouldn't lie, cheat or steal," covered the exception to every superlative question asked.  I could not answer those questions "completely agree" in good faith.

Now I understand why my shopping experience at Walmart is always a bad experience.  A company is only as good as the people it hires.  Walmart appears to want employees who lie, cheat, or steal to get ahead and make the store a success.  When you have liars, cheaters, and thieves working for you, you end up with cameras in the store following your every move.  You end up with signs posted everywhere, including the bathrooms, that shoplifting is a crime that will forever alter your life for the worse.  You end up with store employees boasting about Walmart's security system that takes a picture of your car in the parking lot if you are suspected of stealing.  You have customer service scanning your driver's license if you return an item without a receipt.

Let's back up there.  The growing trend in retail is to scan a customer's license for anything they want to keep a record of.  Walmart and Target scan driver's licenses for returns without receipts.  Goose Creek and Royal Farms convenience stores scan for alcohol purchases.  None of these stores have a privacy policy posted anywhere.  I emailed all four stores asking what information is being stored when the license is scanned, how long it is kept in the database, who has access to it, and what legal recourse an individual has if the database is breached.  None responded to my information request.  It's their secret...and law enforcement's secret.  Perhaps there is some truth to the rumor that every time a store scans your driver's license, the scanned information (including the transaction conducted) is forwarded to the local police and Homeland Security for review.  With liars, cheaters, and thieves running some of these stores, sharing the information with law enforcement wouldn't surprise me.

In the New World of Machines ruling the Police States of America, we're all guilty of something.  Cameras follow us.  Metal detectors and X-rays record what's in our pockets.  Scanned driver's licenses track our moves as we visit buildings or conduct daily business.  It's only a matter of time before a machine not only refuses you a job, but will send the police to your door for that something everyone in power knows you're guilty of...even if you don't know what it is.

The liars, cheaters, and thieves hired by the machines are safe as long as they play by the machines' rules and help catch the rest of us guilty ones.  The rest of us are unemployed oafs one step away from a life sentence without the possibility of parole.



For your listening pleasure:


Posted by A Drunk Redneck

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Who Originally Sang It?

In case you haven't noticed, Hollywood is recycling the glory days of the past with reboots after reboots.  If it isn't reboots, it's an original movie franchised into parts numbering...well some of them numbering more than the fingers I have to count them on.

Music, though, is fresh and new, right?

No.

Surprisingly, music is an industry built on covers that only sound new to the younger generation it is marketed for.  A lot of songs you may have heard aren't original at all.  Let's test your music knowledge with this simple, ten question quiz.

Note:  I'm cheap and used the free version of the quiz maker.  That means I can't format or use links in my answer explanation.  Please pardon the messiness.   If you want to watch any of the videos, you will need to copy and paste the address in another window.  You can either copy and paste as you're taking the quiz or after you are finished.  The quiz will give you a complete rundown of your answers, the correct answers, and the explanations all in one neater list.

You do not have to use your full name or even your real name!  Just type something in the name box.  It won't ask you for anything else.


Posted by A Drunk Redneck

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Someone's Lying

When one is asked what their ancestry is, most don’t hesitate to rattle off a hodgepodge medley of bloodlines that makes them the mutt they are.

“Italian, German, and a little bit of Irish.”

Perhaps they’re ashamed of the Irish or something.

Tragically, Black people can say Africa, but few can say where.  Their answer has the same meaning as a person of French ancestry saying European or a person of Thai ancestry saying Asian.  The answer is rootless.

Thanks to genetic advances and companies like Ancestry.com, and 23andme.com, people can trace their ancestry to specific regions.  Who can forget the Black woman who learned she had Nigerian blood in her?  Turns out, she has Scottish blood, too.  As the Daily Press reports, her genetic test taught her a lot about her family history she didn’t know.  Through genetic testing, her family from many generations ago can tell their story instead of being silent, faded, and forgotten ghosts.

Elizabeth Warren grew up with her family stories of having a Native American ancestor in her family. Six years ago, those stories came back to haunt her.  You can claim any heritage you want…except Native American.

According to Chuck Hoskin, Cherokee Nation secretary of state, being Cherokee or Native American is more than a genetic test or family stories.  People who claim to “have Native American” in their family are guilty of cultural misappropriation.  They are giving Native Americans a bad name and reputation.

I wonder if Italians feel the same way when people of Italian descent over here call their neighborhoods Little Italy and throw festivals celebrating their heritage.  How about the citizens of China?  Do they feel slighted every time a person of Chinese descent opens an all-you-can-eat China Buffet on Main Street, USA?

Turns out Cherokees (and all Native Americans)
are more European than they want to admit.
What a small world after all, huh?
Mr. Hoskin claims the genetic tests can only show genetic markers for Native American heritage, but can’t pinpoint the tribe much less the percentage of Native American blood.  Does that make Ancestry.com a liar for airing this commercial or does it make Mr. Hoskin ill-informed on the science of genetics?

Mr. Hoskin wants to keep the Cherokee Nation “pure” to the point that no one other than a certified tribe member can claim Native American ancestry.   Such thinking is the very definition of racism.  He states that only those who can trace their lineage to the Dawes Rolls are real Cherokee.  What he doesn’t tell us is the Dawes Rolls was created out of racist motives.  Many Native Americans who should have been enrolled never made the cut for various reasons...mistrust of the federal government being a common one.

The five-dollar Indians, White people with little or no Native American Blood, paid government agents five bucks to get on the rolls.  The fraud would benefit them and their generations to come.  There are currently certified Cherokee tribe members with less Native American blood than Elizabeth Warren can now prove she has.  The racist beliefs of Mr. Hoskin preclude her from claiming her heritage unless she doesn’t mind the continual shaming for making her genetically verifiable claim.  Because her ancestors didn’t sign the Dawes Roll over a hundred and twenty years ago, her Native American relatives are relegated to tribeless family stories, stories that should never be uttered out of respect for the tribe, the ancestors who did sign the Dawes Roll, and the five-dollar Indians.

It’s time to dissolve the system of Native American Nations built on racist treaties and driven by capitalist greed.  Since first contact with the Europeans five hundred years ago, Native Americans have gotten the short end of the stick.  Through a mosaic of questionable treaties, many never honored, Native Americans were given the worst lands, a mirage of national sovereignty, and a mythical badge of nobility mostly designed by early cowboy and Indian shows and later honed and perfected by Hollywood.  Despite the illusion we’ve created for them, Native Americans suffer the highest poverty rates, lowest access to quality healthcare rates, and highest premature death rates of any minority group in this country - along the lines of two to three times higher than everyone else.

A couple of hundred years of broken treaties, an illusion of sovereignty, and a fabricated image of nobility hasn’t worked for them.  Chiefs governing tribes under a racist rule of thumb will ensure Native Americans remain as far removed from quality healthcare, education, and prosperity as the physical locations of their lands and gaming casinos currently are.

Mr. Hoskin and other Native American chiefs should look to people like Elizabeth Warren and other leaders who share their Native American family stories and demand they stand by their heritage and ancestors – not shun them as Mr. Hoskin has done.


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Posted by A Drunk Redneck