- Written by Roger Clegg
Recently the Center for Equal Opportunity learned that there will be a push during the lame-duck session of Congress to pass the so-called Akaka bill, named for U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii. The bill would allow Native Hawaiians to become recognized as an Indian tribe. The reason for this counter-historical exercise is to make it easier to defend racially preferential programs for this particular ethnic group, since Indian tribes are not considered to be racial or ethnic classifications.
This brings to mind one of President Lincoln’s favorite jokes: If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? The answer is still four, since calling tail a leg doesn’t make it one.
Likewise, calling the Native Hawaiians an Indian tribe doesn’t make them one as a matter of historical fact. This is just a scheme to justify another set of racially preferential programs in a whole variety of areas. For example, in the case that prompted this bill, the Supreme Court struck down a Hawaii law that limited voting on this basis in certain elections! Racial discrimination of this or any other kind—politically correct though it may be—is divisive and unfair. It balkanizes an island, and sets a precedent for balkanizing other parts of the country.Who will be next in line to ask for recognition as an Indian tribe: Mexican-Americans in the Southwest? African-Americans in Mississippi? Irish-Americans in Boston? The mind reels.
The Center for Equal Opportunity will be fighting this bill in the days ahead—as we have been fighting it for over a decade now. The worst ideas never seem to go away. We’ve won so far, and with your support we’ll do our best to keep this bill from passing before the lame-duck Congress finally goes home.
Another bad idea that doesn’t seem to go away is school busing for no purpose other than achieving a politically correct racial and ethnic mix in schools. The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that such race-based student assignments are unconstitutional, in line with a brief that the Center for Equal Opportunity filed with the Court at that time. But organizations like the NAACP continue to push this idea.
Not only is what they want unconstitutional, but it is also bad policy. Such busing is a waste of money and students’ and parents’ time, as well as being discriminatory. I talk about all this in a widely distributed Associated Press article, here.