Thomas Sowell

Editor's note: This is Part IV in a series. Part I can be found here. Part II can be found here. Part III can be found here.

Nowhere is political rhetoric more shameless -- or more dangerous -- than in the pious names that politicians give to the legislation they pass. Perhaps the most egregious example is the so-called "Indian Child Welfare Act," which callously sacrifices the welfare of Indian children.

Time and again, children with some American Indian ancestry, who have been adopted by families that are not of that ancestry, have been suddenly taken by law from the only parents they have ever known and transferred to some distant Indian reservation, to live among strangers in a world they know nothing about.

You might think that the sight of bewildered, desperate and weeping children in court, crying out for mommy and daddy as they are forcibly removed from people who have cared for them for years, might cause those who are seizing them to relent. But no! Such children are routinely sacrificed on the altar to the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The child might be two years old or twelve. But the legal rights of a biological relative and tribal authorities trump the well being of the child, even if that biological relative has been a complete stranger to the child.

Some years ago, the chairman of the Civil Rights Commission visited a 14-year-old girl who had been removed from her adopted parents and was living on an Indian reservation, where she was miserable. But when the story came out, outrage was directed not at those who had ruined this girl's life, but at the member of the Civil Rights Commission who had dared to intrude on the sacred soil of the Indian reservation.

Similar things have happened to black children raised by white foster parents. There is no Congressional legislation in these cases, but the dogmatism of social workers and so-called social welfare departments can lead to the same results. However, the absence of federal legislation enables those judges who have common sense, and common decency, to prevent similar tragedies in these cases.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate