The author, Steve Siegel, of Art Voice’s July 3, 2013 article titled Buffalo Creek Casino: Next Bets (http://artvoice.com/issues/v12n27/news_analysis) claims that Native Americans who disagree with and discredit his opinions accuse him of being a racist because we lack no other logical response. Well…please allow me to response – again!
First, Mr. Siegel continues to indicate that there are “…reams of economic research [and] social data…” proving his points. I strongly encourage Mr. Siegel and those who print his words to provide citation(s) for this research. As was indicated in earlier responses to Mr. Siegel’s claims, see http://nacwr.blogspot.com/2011/08/successful-native-american-businesses.html and http://nacwr.blogspot.com/2011/02/breaking-biased-news-native-american.html, he has never conducted peer reviewed research on any subject matter which he argues.
At the end of the Art Voice article it states: Steve Siegel recently retired as a professor at Niagara University and has done a great deal of research into the potential economic impacts of the Buffalo Creek Casino upon the community. His research is the best kept secret in all of academics! I have gently asked Mr. Siegel to provide his research or please indicate where it can be found. I continue to search research databases and wait for his response.
If his work does not reach the level of scientific research, which is peer reviewed, he should stop misusing the word “research.” What is being written is “opinion.” An academic with an opinion is not uncommon. What is uncommon is an academic reporting that s/he has done research without the necessary standards of sound scientist activities.
Mr. Siegel states that I “…question the most compelling of empirical truths (such as 2+2 = 4)…” yes, this would be foolishness on my part to question this equation. I do not question simple math, although I do think that whoever incorporated the alphabet into math equations has a special place in the afterlife!
What is specifically being questioned is how Mr. Siegel postulates that a legal, law abiding company (the number 2) and (the word “and” indicates a plus sign in mathematics) their unfair advantage (the other number 2) results in (the word “result” indicates =) a harm coming to folks in Western New York (the number 4). Please Mr. Siegel, provide us with how your 2+2=4 math works. Please provide us with scientific data that shows how this Native American business, playing by the rules set by the majority, harm other businesses and the people living around this business.
I am not Seneca. I do not like gaming as a way to support Native American Peoples. However, I am bias toward anyone who claims that legal Native American businesses have an unfair or harmful impact on communities, compared to similar majority owned businesses. I am bias against folks who claim something which is supported by research (peer-reviewed), when in fact it turns out to be pure opinion. When forces line up against my People (Native Americans), using opinion-based scare tactics, expect a viscous reaction. Having biases is part of being human. Denying their existence in one’s own self while clearly seeing it in others, is dangerous.
The Claim of Racism
When Mr. Siegel continues to focus solely on the players of the game and not on the rules of the game, this says something. Please note that the Native American business discussed in the Art Voice article did not make the rules they are following. The Native American business is obeying and complying with the rules all others must follow. The Native American business that is exclusively being focused on has the same rights as any other business to be successful. If Mr. Siegel does not like the rules of the game that everyone is required to play within…don’t attack the players of the game. It reminds folks of Jimmy the Greek’s opinion why African American’s were better athletes and seemingly having more advantages over the majority, White athlete. His stated opinion was,
“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he's been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs and he's bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade … the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid…”
Was Jimmy the Greek a racist? I am not sure what was in Jimmy’s heart. What he believed came out in his opinions. I am not sure if there is any research that supports Jimmy’s opinions. Regardless, the rules of the game remained consistent for any and all players during Jimmy’s time. Focusing on a specific group of players in a fair game can result in being accused of suffering from biasness. If Mr. Siegel wants to end the claims of racism, he can show his peer reviewed research and/or start focusing on the rules of the business game rather than on a small, specific population of players. Mr. Siegel has a strong opinion about this Native American business and has written a long and thought-out article. I have used some of his quotes about how he views the Native American business to make my case and he has used my words to make his own. Please allow me to show Mr. Siegel’s response to the charge of being prejudice, he states “….” Nothing! Rather than admit to any possible short sightedness, bias, or prejudices, he continues to focus on those who question his practices, and point out their personal flaws.
If Mr. Siegel has conducted scientific research and his peer reviewers have substantiated his research, please lead us to those scholarly works. Until that time comes, please stop misleading readers with opinions. We disserve a discussion based in science, not someone’s biased, academic opinion. It is a lesson Jimmy the Greek could have learned.