Racism - Whether Blacks are even Citizens - A Debate

From SaveTheWorld - a project of The Partnership Machine, Inc. (Sponsor: Family Music Center)

Revision as of 05:08, 9 May 2022 by DaveLeach (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Forum (Articles) Offer Partners Rules Tips FAQ Begin! Donate

     This article was started by (replace this parenthesis with 4 tildes~~)
     Please interact! To interact with any particular point made here, simply click "edit", then right after that point, type four dashes (to create a horizontal line), hit "enter" to start on the next line typing your response, then close with four tildes which will leave your real name, time etc.; then on the last line, four more dashes.
     To vote, Like, rate, argue, change your past comment, add a section with a heading that appears in the Table of Contents, start a new article, use colors, write in Greek, etc. find suggestions and codes at Begin!

This debate was posted at Academia.edu with the article, “What does it Mean to be a Citizen of the United States? The Battle over Birthright Citizenship” by William H. Bishop, School of Security and Global Studies, American Military University, LSTD 510: Constitutional Law. Prof. Kerry L. Erisman, J.D. February 6th, 2022.

If there is any claim of copyright protection for this discussion, my response is that it cries out for critical review, plus I expect this discussion will soon be closed, and I want a place where it can continue.

I hope for the sincerity of Jelani Wilkins El, who dominates this comment stream, But some of the reasoning in it is bizarre. It seems a desperate grasping for a claim of being hurt unjustly, which doubles as an accusation against those who did the hurting. An all too human approach to life, and a way of understanding Eve’s complaint in 4004 BC.

And yet this seems worth addressing, because this “weaponizing” of racial rhetoric, side by side with lingering racial prejudice itself, is still blowing the Mind of America. I can’t just respond in the original comment stream because the zaniness is extensive throughout the thread. Nor can I just summarize it here without clouding the context.

And it seems worth the effort of trying to somehow bringing healing, for this author and for America.

The “days ago” in this stream are as of May 8, 2022.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Power is not something someone can give you. It is something you take.” J.B.’s father, advising J.B.’s brother who wanted more explicit authority over his scheming brother, on the TV serial “Dallas”.

William H Bishop, (Author of the related article) 8 days ago

A discussion into why Americans feel so strongly regarding U.S. citizenship and why there is a disconnect in what that means.

Jelani Wilkins El, 5 days ago

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Seems pretty straightforward until you realize citizenship is reserved for only the White voluntary legal status. US laws can be exclusive, including only Whites by using the word citizen. The devil is in the details, and it explains why Blacks have not been able to use the 14th Amendment (the most used of all).

Citizenship is for only those whose legal status is “white” and “voluntary”? Later Jelani cites an 1800’s dictionary (not Webster) which seems to limit citizenship to whites, and Jelani even suggests that people aren’t citizens unless they want to be.

Jeff Henderson, 4 days ago

So accurate.

don rice, 3 days ago maybe a little inaccurate 🤔

Jelani Wilkins El, 3 days ago

Show us please 🙏.

Curtis Murphy, 10 hrs ago

I think certain parts particular to certain people in America wish and did it's best to ignore the meaning of certain words used by the 14th Amendment. Mr. Bishop words has multiple definitions in the 14th Amendment which allow people to feel strongly and some feel disconnected. A word with multiple definitions can be rightfully used by opposing sides. Therefor it comes down to living with a lie and hoping a lie is taken as the truth.

In other words, Curtis, you mean “No one can ever understand anything, so don’t waste your brain trying to think”? However, Curtis’ resort to this reasoning is an understandable response to Jelani’s over-parsing of words.

Jelani Wilkins El, 6 days ago

The Reconstruction Amendments are legal sorcery. The 14th Amendment could only offer citizenship to non-whites. A foreign country cannot force citizenship on persons outside of their jurisdictions. Dred Scott proved non-whites were outside Federal laws. As John Bouvier's legal definition of citizen states,"therefore it must be presumed, no one is a citizen who is not white.” The 14th Amendment was an offer of whiteness which is synonymous with citizen in our law. To have a birthright and to exercise said birthright are two different concepts and where this problem lies. To have the right to vote doesn't make you a voter, to have birthright citizenship doesn't make you a citizen. If citizenship is the goal race is voluntary and I suggests checking White If you are native or naturalized!

Jelani cites Bouvier’s “Law Dictionary” WAY out of context. His quote is from the way a judge analyzed the word “citizen” in 1 Meigs, R. 331, a slave state, 10 Conn. R. 340, where a lower court judge didn’t think someone “of the African race” could be a “citizen”, [summarized in Dred Scott], and 1 Litt. R. 334

Unlike other dictionaries, a law dictionary does not articulate what words mean now, but tells you how courts have treated them in the past. Since precedents change, there are contradictions. And lawyers on any important point don’t rely just on the “definition” of a law dictionary, but look up the cases to understand the reasoning behind its treatment of the word.

By quoting Bouvier, Jelani quoted from the only dictionary before the 14th Amendment of 1968 that said anything about “white” rights. The others were Ballantine’s Law Dictionary (3rd edition), Black’s Law Dictionary (2nd edition), and Webster’s Dictionary (1828). None of them say anything about “white”. Only Bouvier’s. You can read the others’ definitions here.

Jelani’s Bouvier quote is supposed to make the point that when the 14th Amendment made everyone a “citizen” who is born here, the word “citizen”, as defined then, excluded non-whites. But

(1) the 14th Amendment makes every ‘’“person”’’ a “citizen” who is born here. Not even Sandford denied that blacks are “persons” or are not “human”. Even Roe v. Wade acknowledged that unborn babies are “persons” who are “recognizably human” and “infused with a soul”.

(2) The 14th Amendment doesn’t have a caveat saying Bouvier’s dictionary, not other dictionaries, should interpret the Amendment. Bouvier’s is definitely the minority definition.

(3) Bouvier’s first listed “definition” simply defines “citizen” as “One who...has a right to vote...and who is qualified to fill offices”. (We know from Obama’s eight years that blacks can vote and run for office.)

Then Bouvier launches into “a more extended sense” in which “all white persons born in the United States” are citizens, but also, “naturalized persons born out of the same”. This includes blacks; in the South, before the Civil War, somewhere around 10% of blacks were free.

This undefined “extended sense” contradicts the primary sense of the right to vote, since “This includes men, women, and children.” Women didn’t vote then. Even today, children don’t vote.

(4) Before the civil war, states had their individual rules for who qualifies as a citizen, and people were citizens of those individual states, not of the “United States”. There is no evidence here that any but Southern slave states excluded blacks from citizenship. I presume, without knowing state by state, that the Northern states were more generous, and the Northern states won the war and dominated the process for ratifying the 13th and 14th Amendments. It seems unlikely that by 1868 they were ready to accept a definition of “citizen” as excluding blacks!

Bouvier’s equivocal definition, plus the failure of other dictionaries to affirm Jelani’s Bouvier quote, leaves no foundation for Jelani’s concern that the 14th Amendment leaves native-born blacks without U.S. citizenship.

Joe Dellapenna, 4 days ago

Where does it say that the citizenship of the 14th amendment is limited to whites?

Jelani Wilkins El, 4 days ago

First let's establish the fact that before the 14th Amendment, citizenship was White only.

1790 Naturalization Act

This was the first law to define eligibility for citizenship by naturalization and establish standards and procedures by which immigrants became US citizens. In this early version, Congress limited this important right to “free white persons.”

Citizen- 3. All natives are not citizens of the United States; the descendants of the aborigines, and those of African origin, are not entitled to the rights of citizens. Anterior to the adoption of the constitution of the United States, each state had the right to make citizens of such persons as it pleased. That constitution does not authorize any but white persons to become citizens of the United States; and it must therefore be presumed that no one is a citizen who is not white. 1 Litt. R. 334; 10 Conn. R. 340; 1 Meigs, R. 331.

(A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.)

Now that we understand citizenship is limited to Free White persons, the question becomes when did it change?

I argue it has not, and believe I can prove as much. The above definition makes it clear, all natives are NOT citizens and it gives you examples or scenarios. For example if you are native but claim African origins (Blacks or African American) you are not entitled to be citizens!

This repeats what he posted before. My response is posted after what he posted before.

William H Bishop, 4 days ago (Author of the article that is the subject of this discussion)

Jelani – While I can see the potential in many of your points. I also ask that you circle back to the exact wording of 14A, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” When one examines the use of ‘All persons…’ the original and contextual understanding has meant that every person born under the jurisdiction of the U.S. or within its borders was considered citizens. Indeed, Bingham’s intention here in his hand of drafting 14A was this exact item, especially after a brutal and derisive war that splintered a nation. The goal, and admittedly like many goals not always received as designed, was to allow blacks into the union through citizenship.

Does this mean that states have applied this right equally? Of course not. Most rights aren’t applied equally amongst the states, and that is indeed a problem, but not unexpected. Do blacks still struggle in the U.S. to gain equal footing with whites? Sure do, and it's irritating that this institutional racism still occurs and holds a protected group back. However, arguing that blacks are ‘real citizens” of the U.S. is absurd. There is a difference between the Naturalization Act and 14A in the wording of whom the Act applied to and to whom it didn’t, and as stated above, the Amendment was clear – All Persons.

Again, I appreciate your viewpoint, but I simply disagree.

Jelani Wilkins El, 4 days ago

The Amendment states "all persons....... are citizens." Citizen has a definition and it is clear all natives (persons born here) are not citizens. This is a direct rebuttal and it explains who and why. The definition is from a legal dictionary dated 1856 which was before the 14th. The 14th didn't change the definition or nullify or overturn the cases cited that help coin the definition. All persons are considered citizens until you choose your race and decline the offer of the 14th ot accept by checking White.

Inhabitants- 4.-1. The natives consist, 1st. Of white persons, and these are all citizens of the United States, unless they have lost that right. 2d. Of the aborigines, and these are not in general, citizens of the United States nor do they possess any political power. 3d. Of negroes, or descendants of the African race, and these generally possess no political authority whatever, not being able to vote, nor to hold any office. 4th. Of the children of foreign ambassadors, who are citizens or subjects as their fathers are or were at the time of their birth.

Jelani, you do know blacks in the South were able to vote right after the Civil War, and even to elect black state lawmakers? Until Southerners invented restrictions that deprived many blacks from voting, which were not fully removed until a century later through the ministry of Martin Luther King? So in what sense can you assert that blacks still can’t vote? Are you saying maybe blacks can defacto vote, but in some kind of legal sense of which courts, lawmakers, and lawyers seem to be unaware, they technically can’t?

Question 1. Can citizenship be compelled or does an individual have a choice?

Question 2. If citizenship can not be compelled and an individual has a choice then they can keep the inferior legal status (Black, Freedmen. Refugee, Stateless etc) or accept the superior (supremacy) status of citizen or Whites Just because we feel like choosing citizenship is a no Brainer doesn't eliminate the possibility of people declining. When Puerto Rico natives were offered citizenship there is a record of exactly how many people accepted or rejected.

This is a whole new direction for your train of thought, that has nothing to do with the issue of past restrictions on blacks. Citizenship, compelled? Citizenship is a right to vote. That means you can vote if you want to. Of course somewhere around a quarter of those who have this right, don’t exercise it. That doesn’t take away their right to vote if they can lift their heads out of the sand long enough.

I am trying to guess your point in this kind of talk. As I cast about for reasoning I have heard of that is anything like yours, I wonder, will you reason that you reject citizenship, so your violations of U.S. laws should be exempt from prosecution? Just a wild guess.

Observation- Interesting how you understand the level of disenfranchisement suffered by Blacks, as if they were a second class as if the institutions both public and private operate as if they have not reached the same level of civil and political rights. The lack of citizenship explains the disparities instead of this old argument of "just a little more time," before the playing field balances.

Professor Bishop’s article was about very real, very measurable disenfranchisement of immigrants whose suffering in their home countries, where they must remain because our ignorant laws won’t let them come here, rivals in many cases the past treatment of slaves.

Question 3. Can Mexico pass an Amendment and compelled citizenship on you? Or is citizenship a contract, to which one must offer and the other must accept? Surely being outside of their jurisdictions has meaning and value! What is self determination if citizenship can be compelled?

Question 4. Does having the right to vote make you a voter or must one exercise the right (actually vote) in order to be considered?

Basic contract law is offer, consideration acceptance and delivery. This idea of automatically making a non-citizen a citizen follows no national or international body of law.

See my answer above. Citizenship is not a contract obligating all parties. It is an offer without conditions. It is actually an inalienable right, along with Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, because God instituted it in about 1250 BC under Moses. See Deuteronomy 1:13: the people elected their leaders. Other verses actually say they even elected God, agreeing unanimously to submit to His laws. So under the fundamental principle of American law articulated by Blackstone as “a law contrary to the laws of God is no law at all”, neither our Constitution nor our lawmakers have any legitimate right to deny anyone the right to vote. God prosecutes violations of His laws the same way parents correct the children they love: with experiences designed to discourage them from hurting themselves any more. God helps all who are willing to follow His laws, which are only for OUR benefit, not His, and who will walk with God in correcting governments in violation.

"All persons" is not as clear as you think!

Jelani Wilkins El, 4 days ago

"However, arguing that blacks are ‘real citizens’ of the U.S. is absurd."

I'm arguing that non-whites including Blacks are not citizens, which explains the racism problem we can't get rid of, even when attitudes have changed.

Kris McDaniel-Miccio, 4 days ago

I think the argument here is circular, Jelani. Whiteness has been and continues to be a moveable object or reference point. Again, bears repeating—a host of folks have been classified as non-white—Syrians, Jews, Lebanese, Italians. And let’s not forget, women. I think the issue here is the unequal treatment of some citizens ( and immigrants) in terms of constitutional protections. Remember, up until the 20th Century women were considered not to be “ legal persons.” For example, upon marriage husband & wife are one, and that one was the husband. Thus husbands were empowered to beat their wives and in NYS, could rape their wives up until 1984 with impunity. Why? Because legal personage of the woman/wife was subsumed into that of the husbands. Woman’s wages were under the control of either fathers or husbands, couldn’t sign contracts or enter into a contract, her body was literally subsumed into the husband, hence the legal fact husbands could not be charged with rape—can’t rape yourself! The moral & legal violations committed are deep and wide—not always the result of “color” but also other accidents of birth.

Let me add to this point, that intermarriage has so mixed family trees that everyone must confess they are part white, part black, “red”, “yellow”, or whatever. So we have Kamala Harris, calling herself “black” though you would never know just by looking, whose father, a college professor, claims his grandfather or great grandfather was a slave owner. This is one thing that makes the concept of reparations so incomprehensible.

Jelani Wilkins El, 4 days ago

"Whiteness has been and continues to be a moveable object or reference point."

I agree,but who decides who is or is not White? Who is doing the moving? Are we subject to the will of a Government, who decides or do we have a say in it? The racial categories have been voluntary since the 14th Amendment, meaning the people have had the power to decide for themselves! No one is born a race, it must be chosen. A Social construction with legal ramifications. As to your point with women, sex like race has been used to discriminate and disenfranchise.. Sex now is "movable" and like race your response is voluntary. How you categorize yourself is your right and it must be respected. The pronouns you choose to respond to also must be respected, if I were female and worried that how I classify myself may affect something important, I would choose the one which I felt came with the best outcome. I do race the same way but I end up checking White on everything for obvious reasons!

Interesting reasoning. Color and sex have both become officially, legally personal preferences. My answer about color on forms: “Please explain why that is any of your business?” Certainly for most people color is subjective and a useless measure. Sex, not subjective.

Joe Dellapenna, 3 days ago

That citizenshhip was limited to whites before the 14th Amendment (1868) does not mean that that understanding continued after the 14th Amendement. The entire point of the 14th Amendment was to overrule the Dred Scott case. And it has consistently been applied by the courts with that under standing. See the Wong Kim Ark case.

Jelani Wilkins El, 3 days ago

Great, so we have firmly established White only citizenship before the 14th Amendment. You believe the 14th Amendment overruled the Dred Scott decision. Let's take a look at that point.

The Dred Scott case has never been overruled but it was abrogated! There is a list of decisions of the United States Supreme Court that have been abrogated (superseded), in whole or in part, by a subsequent constitutional amendment or Congressional statute. The list does not included decisions overruled by the subsequent Supreme Court decisions. There's only 5 cases on the list and Dred Scott is one of these. To abrogate is to supersede in WHOLE OR IN PART, meaning part of the Dred Scott decision still rings true.

Holding [of Dred Scott v. Sandford]

Judgment reversed and suit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

Persons of African descent cannot be and were never intended to be citizens under the US Constitution. Plaintiff is without standing to file a suit.

The Property Clause is applicable only to lands possessed at the time of the Constitution's ratification (1787). As such, Congress cannot ban slavery in the territories. The Missouri Compromise is unconstitutional.

The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from freeing slaves brought into federal territories.

First, the Judgment reversed and suit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Meaning Blacks lack the legal status to sue in Federal courts. Black at law is not referring to an Ethnicity or culture or a particular ancestry. Black at law is an inferior legal status.

Second, Persons of African descent cannot be and were never intended to be citizens under the US Constitution.

This is the important one because the 14th Amendment did change this statement IN PART. "Persons of African descent cannot be ....", citizens is still the law but "were never intended to be...." is what the 14th Amendment changed because the offer of citizenship changed the intentions.

To change ones Ethnicity seems absurd it contains culture, ancestry and language but to change ones Race or legal status is 💯 possible. Race is voluntary because there must be a way to accept the offer of the 14th Amendment. When you change teams you can't keep the name of the team you left, White is the name of the team with citizenship. Black didn't dissappear after the 14th because you have the choice to decline.

Way too much legitimacy placed on the Scott v. Sandford ruling! It was no more legitimate, or sensible, or an accurate grasp of American law, than Roe v. Wade. Roe’s premise was that judges “are in no position to speculate” about whether babies are “recognizably human” (Roe’s definition of “persons”). For more about that, see my book on Amazon, “How states can outlaw abortion in a way that survives courts”. Scott’s error was to imagine blacks are under some sort of curse of God that forever deprives them of basic human rights. That is so miserably violative of Scripture. Zephaniah, the minor prophet, was a black man, the son of Cush, great grandson of the righteous king Hezekiah. Ethiopia was about the only foreign nation about whom all the Bible’s reports of it are good.

God’s blessings are “without Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. [irrevocable; cannot be withdrawn.] Any more than a parent can stop loving a child. Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

"inalienable rights" make no sense for anyone, to the extent they are not acknowledged as belonging to everyone. Scripture is relevant to this discussion because without the Bible, rights for blacks make no sense, because rights make no sense for anybody. What other religion or philosophy supports equal rights for all?

To dismiss God as irrelevant is to run up against reality. If we want liberty, we better give it to others, because as Luke 6:38 says, how much we give others is how much we will keep.

Joe Dellapenna, 2 days ago

You mis the whole point of the 14th amendment. Your diatribe suggests you are more interested iin rhetorical flourishes than in facts.

Jelani Wilkins El, 2 days ago

If there is something inaccurate, highlight it and rebut if you can but just saying "you missed the point" has added nothing. I given you plenty to rebut if you can.

1. Can a foreign country pass a law that automatically makes someone outside thier jurisdiction a citizen?

2. Is there a difference between having a right and exercising said right. Does having voting rights make you a voter? 3. Was the Dred Scott case overturned or overruled or was it abrogated. If abrogated can you explain?

4. The definition of Black ‐ persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. Nativity and Origins are synonymous terms. To claim Black or African American is to claim your origins or nativity is African. Can you have multiple origins or nativity?

5. Contract law,- If the 14th Amendment was an offer then it would fall under contract law, offer, consideration acceptance and delivery! We're African Americans given the option to accept or decline. It's important because it represents self determination.

6. Blacks have yet to use the 14th Amendment and it's equal protection under the law clause to this date. To be able to demonstrate citizenship at law carries more wait than,"just take my word for it!"

Disagree all you want but do so with proof, take the time to post a proper rebuttal. Ive given 6 points take your time. I know you have it in you or not.

rhetorical flourishes - just say you didn't know!

Joe Dellapenna, 12 hrs ago

I have already refuted you when I refenced the case of Wong Kim Ark. A Chinese American born in San Francisco, the government sought to keep him from returning to the US because, in their view, he wasn't a citizen. His immigrant parents were ineligible for citizenship. The Supreme Court held as he was born in the US, he is a citizen and nothing the government can do can change that. But you seem far more intent on pushing specious readings of the 14th Amendment and quibbling over "ovverruled" vs. overturned as if that made difference.

Jelani Wilkins El, 11 hrs ago

Well let's look at Wong Kim Ark vs US


The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment must be interpreted in light of English common law, and thus it grants U.S. citizenship to almost all children born to alien parents on American soil, with only a limited set of exceptions.

The key word in the Holding is, "grants."

Grant - To confer, give, or bestow. A gift of legal rights or privileges, or a recognition of asserted rights, as in treaty.

A grant is a legal gift and there are rules that govern legal gifts.

Three elements are essential in determining whether or not a gift has been made: delivery, donative intent, and acceptance by the donee.

Citizenship must be accepted even when granted. These are the rules. Nice try! And the quibble was over the difference between overruled and abrogated, it matters if you know!

I’m struggling to understand what the acceptance of a grant has to do with proving a difference between “overuling” and “overturning”. I highly suspect that had the judges in Wong Kim Ark had known their use of the word “grant” would be parsed as dogmatically as we see today, they would have stayed home. 

Curtis Murphy, 10 hrs ago

Joe Dellapenna, my advice to you take this lesson given to you and debate only with your equals...

Larry Sumbryel, 3 days ago

14th amendment never ratified by Congress. citizenship.: citizenship shows jurisdiction over the corporate name.: No queen, no authority, no royal assent= malfeasance Like

don rice 3 days ago The original constitution is neither amended nor changed. DC adopted a copy of the constitution as a corporate charter. The 14th on - - - is amendments to that charter. The general public was presumed to be in the republic until 1933 when the presumption was changed; people were irresponsible in their self-governance. Now the general public is presumed in the democracy, now one must demonstrate otherwise, himself. The American people treat their guests well; it is likely better to be a 14th, federal jurisdiction citizen than live in Russia, Noth Korea, or most any other country. 🤠


T J Davis, 8 days ago

Confusion appears between the concept of citizenship, the concept of civil rights, and the concept of legal personality. US Citizenship has never known any degrees. It is a binary concept. Either one is or one is not. Possession and exercise of civil rights, however, has always existed along a continuum.

Annotation: Page 4

William H Bishop, 8 days ago

I think I would tend to agree, somewhat. However, the "net cast" for inclusion has expanded since the founding of the nation as has the interpretation of the legal understanding through time depending on which court has had to answer the question. Thanks for the comment and input.

Kris McDaniel-Miccio, 4 days ago

It’s the “is not” which is troubling. For instance back in the day an alleged white woman US citizen marries a Syrian non-citizen, depending on the year, she could be divested of her citizenship. So binary really has no meaning outside social, legal and political context.

T J Davis, 4 days ago

Kris McDaniel-Miccio

I am not sure I understand your point.

Is not the discussion here about the legal context, where the binary definitely applies?

Your example of loss of citizenship demonstrates the binary, does it not? She was a citizen, then she was not a citizen. The US Supreme Court decision in MacKenzie v. Hare, 239 US 299 (1915), illustrates the legal fact along with binary reasoning.

Kris McDaniel-Miccio, 4 days ago

The 14th A doesn’t identify ethnicity. The interpretation of ethnicity, incorrectly termed as “race” comes from SCOTUS. What the Amendment does articulate is a classification based on one’s sex. Thus, as we all know, or should, at least in theory voting, ergo citizenship, was theoretically extended to former slaves, African males—but not to women of any hue or ethnic background. That required the 19th Amendment. To understand the insipid and obscene concept of white by law, the author should read, Ian Haney Lopez’s book, White By Law. Indeed, my people, Syrians “ whiteness” changed repeatedly between 1901-1911. This had profound affect on “white” American women; if married to a non-white foreigner, she was divested of her citizenship, if I’m not mistaken. The issue of citizenship is textured and complex. Unfortunate, this article is not.

Jelani Wilkins El, 4 days ago

Race and Ethnicity are completely separate terms, the only choice of Ethnicity on Racial categories is whether or not you are Hispanic and even then they must choose a race. Race is and has always equated to legal status. Race is involved wherever the word citizen is employed, so it's all over United States law. You want to understand this country replace White with citizen and the laws will make sense!

Rodolfo Munoz, 4 days ago

It is disheartening that the only mention of “Indians” in this article about US Citizenship concerns the fact that the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was “designed to exclude – members of Indian tribes who maintained quasi-sovereign status under federal Indian Law as it existed in 1868.” By 1868 the so called “Indian Wars” were not even over yet as even the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn (of Custer fame) had yet to take place but the lawyers in the US had already long been busy writing about the day when “US Citizens” would live all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. To me the most salient fact about “US Citizenship” is that it has only been given to those “Indians” who give up their claim to preexisting sovereignty, even though even SCOTUS has recognized preexisting Sovereignty in “Indians.” “Citizenship” is therefore tied up with the European Invaders’ need to establish definitive “boundaries” for nation-sates (1648 Treaty of Westphalia) and in the English Colonies so that the Invaders of the “Indian” Lands would not kill each other so often over claims to the same land and the newly articulated concept of “ownership” which the Supreme Court took away from “Indians” in the 1823 Johnson v. M’Intosh Case, which was but a coded message to the “Texians” about what they could do to take the Discovery Doctrine Claim (Johnson) to “Texas” away from the Mexicans which was all they had. The article nevertheless correctly sets forth how the US Government is exterminating “Indians” today by giving out mere statutory “citizenship” to “Indians” through the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act which serves to deprive them of what might otherwise be the equal, for them, concept of the constitutional citizenship given all others in the US Constitution, which excludes "Indians not taxed," from all its terms, as long as they have origins other than in this hemisphere before the Invaders from Europe arrived. Rodolfo Rivera Munoz, Aho.

Jeff Henderson, 4 days ago

What does it Mean to be a Citizen of the United States? It means as W.E.B. Dubois proclaimed "One ever feels his twoness". In my 60 years on this earth I continue to have the citizenship of the United States and life as An African American and each of these have different standards and nuances that dictate results and consequences.

Aliou Sall, 7 days ago


Like Annotation: Page 1

Joe Dellapenna, 7 days ago

A decent summary. Anyone who honestly and fairly reviews the language of the Fourteenth Amendment and the cases construing it must conclude that there are no exceptions to the rule that anyone born in the US to persons subject to the jurisdiction of the US are therefore citizens, specious arguments to the contrary notwithstanding. When a person botn in the US to persons ineligible to become citizens (Wong Kim Ark) is nonetheless a US citizen, there isn't much room to argue. I have written about this and related points at some length in "Constitutional Citizenship under Attack (2016), https://digitalcommons.law.villanova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=3322&context=vlr

don rice, 7 days ago

Rights > more properly, federal "privileges"

Like Annotation: Page 11

Dave Leach, 7 days ago

Thanks for posting this. It makes me want to dust off and post my "Birthright Idiotship", which I wrote during the 2015 Republican presidential runoffs which featured several, not just Trump, spouting this nonsense. The one quibble about your article is calling the writers driving the madness as "scholars". If you mean the "researchers" at FAIR, NumbersUSA, or Center for Immigration Studies, some of my articles were about the dearth of university credentials relevant to the topics upon which they claimed expertise. For example, Steven Camarota claimed on his CIS bio that he was the most frequent non-governmental witness in congressional hearings about the economic impact of immigration, and yet his university creds are absent any mention of economics. He would not be allowed to testify as an "expert witness" about economics in any court. My "Birthright Idiotship" article lists the positions of the candidates, the irony that a couple of the candidates would not be allowed to run were their own standards law, parsing of the statements of the 1968 sponsors, the total confusion for citizens if being born here weren't enough reason to stay here. Dave Leach, music(at)saltshaker.us