Skip to main content

View Diary: "Native languages in 'a state of emergency'" (256 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Without economic freedom, (14+ / 0-)

    no choice is made with liberty. Indian peoples were forced to not learn or speak their languages, until the present generation no longer has teachers, or if it does have potential resources it does not have many options in procuring security and livelihood. The neutral choice to learn somethign like one's language as a "hobby" is missing. There may not be a fluent speaker in the family, there are generation gaps, poverty and tight work conditions also are important.

    The Dawes Act and the intention of similar laws--assimilation--has gone successfully for a century through Indian peoples like a jagged knife. Most youth now live in communities where languages are a historical fetish, tongues for ceremonial but not secular use, or novelty. But to bury the language--which many Indians see as more critical to Indian identity than blood or sometimes hair--would be to side with the assimilationists, wouldn't it? It's not a choice for liberty but to cooperate in coercion.

    •  What gives you the right to negate the value (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dennisl

      of an individual's choice today?

      What makes that any different than denying them a choice in the past?

      Note your use of pejorative assumptions - "burying the language", etc. - when all I asked is, where does an individual's right to choose fit into the schema?

      If you read my comment carefully, it opened by noting the complexity of issues, and our tendency to ignore that complexity in favor of simple solutions that often stem from ideology rather than practicality - sometimes at the expense of the very people we intend to empower.

      The historical failure of efforts to impose upon others solutions "for their own good" should dictate caution when tempted by similar efforts today.

      There are benefits - both individual and collective - to common language, in human groups of all sizes. Clearly, those should be weighed against the value of maintaining distinctions.

      But, a knee-jerk, ideologically-driven impulse tends to lead to ineffective, even counter-productive policies.

      Every major city in the US is full of monolithic concrete cellblocks that are the result of well-intentioned efforts to provide housing to America's poor.

      People are complex, and their needs are complex.

      We don't have the Dawes Act in effect right now, and we should be vigilant to ensure that individuals have the maximum freedom to choose that is consistent with avoiding greater social harm.

      That freedom includes the right of young people of indigenous lineage to choose to speak, dress, and practice whatever the hell they want to and to fit in to the greater society of which they are a part in whatever way is most comfortable for them.

      If there is sufficient interest and demand by individuals to preserve a language, then we should ensure that all barriers to that preservation are removed. But we should be careful not to force people to remain distinct, who wish to become part of a greater whole.

      If you find substantive disagreement with the actual arguments made in the actual comments above, I welcome your response.

      I hope you will avoid the temptation to demonize my position and argue against straw men of your own construction.

      Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

      by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 04:15:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Individual rights? (9+ / 0-)

        It's not that you don't have reasonable points, it's that I'm not sure in which context they arise. Non-Indian children don't get to choose what they learn in school, and for next generations to be fluent in their historical languages, it would have to be education in their youth--even infancy if you're conservative in the application of the term fluency.

        The choice for an adult to use a language or not is their's.

        The Dawes Act may not be in effect now but the intention of the act--born out of an era of progressive imperialism--succeeded. It was so successful that a vast number of tribes ceased to exist after the 1950s when the Termination Act was signed by Congress after some serious lobbying and bribery at all levels. Indian policy from the 1850s-1930s influences Indian culture in profound ways even today beyond the control of the individual.

        •  How about dropping the attitude and being real? (1+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          dennisl
          Hidden by:
          Abra Crabcakeya

          It's not that you don't have reasonable points, it's that I'm not sure in which context they arise.

          Then, perhaps you should consider the option of directly addressing the points in the message, rather than obsessing about the secret, nefarious agenda of the messenger?

          How do you propose to address the situation of vanishing languages?

          Why is it necessarily a bad thing, since languages have vanished and morphed continuously throughout history?

          Is there any positive value to common language?

          Should individuals have the right to make a decision, for themselves and their children, regarding the language they choose to speak and learn in?

          I think these are all interesting questions, and I also think that, from a practical matter, discussing them can lead to better and more effective policies.

          Sadly, any and all attempts to bring up nuance on Daily Kos always results in frontal personal attacks and stereotypical Us vs Them hostility.

          If you presume to represent the lessons of your native culture by all this hostility, straw men and hyperbole, I'm not particularly impressed.

          Talk of Final Solutions and prejudicial comments about how us white folks with our individualism are inferior to your superior red ways are really not going to produce effective policy.

          Prejudice is just as ugly and divisive when it is manifested by a member of a minority as a majority.

          I have asked some admittedly provocative questions here. In contrast, you and others have made hostile attacks.

          I think questions are better. Assuming answers without even asking the right questions rarely produces impressive results.

          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

          by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 05:05:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your comments are intentionally disruptive , (6+ / 0-)

            extraordinarily rude  , and inarguably bigoted . If you are not interested in the information here why not go read something else? Arguing is a sport for fools.

            •  You have a misapprehension (0+ / 0-)

              If you are not interested in the information here why not go read something else? Arguing is a sport for fools.

              See, that is what news sites that disable comments are for.

              Discussion forums are for, um, "discussion".

              That includes people who argue different points of view.

              If you are incapable of entertaining the possibility that others with different opinions might have something to contribute to your thinking, and if you are too self-centered to be interested in the possibility that sharing your ideas might contribute to the thinking of others, then you may find yourself a bit disconcerted by the Internets.

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 08:59:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Abuse of HR, remove or be reported (0+ / 0-)

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 10:36:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Are you sure of the premise of your argument? (6+ / 0-)

        We don't have the Dawes Act in effect right now, and we should be vigilant to ensure that individuals have the maximum freedom to choose that is consistent with avoiding greater social harm.

        "We don't have the Dawes Act in effect right now...consistent with avoiding greater social harm."

        Haven't had philosophy or logic since being an undergraduate, which social philosophy are you taking your premise from (too lazy to go get the books and look them up)?

        She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

        by Winter Rabbit on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 04:25:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Being that this is Daily Kos (0+ / 0-)

          I am expressing a common principle of democratic progressive thought, that individual freedom and the greater good should be carefully balanced in a just society.

          History has shown us the error of sacrificing individual freedom in favor of collective control, and reason has taught us the error of sacrificing common interest for individual freedom.

          My philosophy seems completely consonant with the basic principles of this website.

          Attacking it through a backwards argument from authority is unpersuasive.

          It is also evasive. I asked where, and whether, an individual's right to choose fits in a discussion about preservation of native language.

          Other than accusing me of supporting a Final Solution, forced assimilation, and condescendingly telling me that my inferior white individualism makes me incapable of understanding the superior collective wisdom of the Native, I have heard no constructive response to my question.

          I'm still waiting for anything other than name-calling and bigotry in response to a simple set of thought-provoking questions.

          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

          by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 05:12:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I expected you to cite someone like (5+ / 0-)

            Locke, Marx. You don't have one, do you? Won't feed you anymore. All you do is accuse others of making ad hominems after being given the opportunity to clearly express the basis for your views. But a lot of musicians today don't know the history of music, either.

            She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

            by Winter Rabbit on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 05:23:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Arguments from authority are a logical fallacy (0+ / 0-)

              "the basis for my views" - what views exactly would those be?

              I asked some questions. I was met with prejudice and personal insults, condescension and an utter lack of substantive response to my questions.

              I am told I support a "Final Solution", "forced assimilation", "individualism for the sake of individualism", and that my kind can "never understand" the superior ways of indigenous people.

              I have asked the questions again.

              I still await a respectful engagement with my questions.

              Questions are what learning is all about. Why the fear and hostility to engage respectfully in discussing questions?

              Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

              by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 07:26:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  While repeating nonsense endlessly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                capelza

                and taking yourself massively seriously, is, I suppose, better than arguing from authority.  If WR was.  Or if you had a clue what those words meant, I suppose.

                But by now, we know how the Obama administration deals with those who would destroy it: it goes straight for the capillaries. --Krugman

                by mbayrob on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 07:53:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Still no substantive comments? (0+ / 0-)

                  Just more ad hominems?

                  Why such reluctance to address any substance? Is your position so weak you can't even handle a mildly thoughtful set of questions from someone who, despite assumptions to the contrary, fundamentally in support of policies designed to effectively address the concerns articulated in this diary?

                  Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 08:42:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  So, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, Tyto Alba

        do you even know the social philosophy(ies) are you taking your premise(s) from?

        She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

        by Winter Rabbit on Sun Aug 01, 2010 at 05:06:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Indian Reorganization Act may have reversed (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, Winter Rabbit, kyril, Tyto Alba

        the Dawes Act's aggressive advocacy of the allotment of tribal lands, but allotment continued long after the 1930s, and there is little momentum behind any efforts to return allotments to full tribal jurisdiction.  Therefore, the Dawes Act is still, in fact, in effect.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site