Title: Little House on the Prairie
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
It was that Indians didn’t have a concept of land ownership that brought them to living huddled on reservations. This one thing encouraged white people to believe they were entitled to it and drove the Native people to shrug as pioneers erected their fences and structures.
The word entitlement has been seeing a lot of mileage recently. In the 80’s it was often used to deride welfare recipients. It’s been used more recently to describe the way that men behave around other people’s bodies and how they touch them with or without consent. It’s been used to describe millennials and what they expect to have.
Here’s the thing to focus on when that word is trotted out. Who has the power? Because it seems that word is used to both point to or obscure who has it. In sexual assault cases, the man involved usually has it. Welfare recipients have little to no power in the 80’s or otherwise. Here the word misdirects what would otherwise be legitimate income inequality concerns toward those with the least responsibility and power. When directed at millennials, it often functions the same. A generation of people who got full time jobs with benefits and enough income to buy a house at 21 level this at a group of new workers who will have none of those things.
The book is remarkably kind to the Native Americans, and yet completely unconscious of the land grab that was actually taking place. They rationalized that the natives weren’t using it. But I think by using it they meant farming it like they do. The natives were using it, just in a different way.
Who had the power? The people with the most guns then. Now it’s little more subtle but still pretty easy to sort out.
The remainder was an interesting look at pioneer living. Holy Moses was that rough. The next time I feel like whining about… well, almost any niggling thing in my cush life, I will swallow that feeling right down.