June 25, 2015

Confederate flag vs. other flags

For some reason people continued to make derogatory comments about the Confederate flag. First, noting the circumstances that created it:





Comparing it to another symbol of white supremacy:


But what about the Germans' pride in their brave soldiers?!Retweeted Tim Wise (@timjacobwise)
Conservatives who say removing ‪#‎ConfederateFlag‬ = purging history -- Is that what u said when Berlin Wall came down? Or swastikas in Germany?
Stars and Bars vs. Stripes

And finally comparing it to the world's greatest flag:



Didn't Southerners lead some of the attacks and massacres against Indians? And Northerners tolerated slavery as official US policy for about 70 years. So nobody is without blame here.

In the same vein, the Onion posted a semi-satirical comment:

U.S. Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths

Then there was this:



White power! White men killing "savage" animals and people--that's pretty much America in a nutshell.

It's just "funny" to me how the hunters draped an American flag over their kill. Even better would be a Confederate flag. Both Americans and foreigners would get the message: that this is the epitome of America.

Leave it to Russell Means to spell it out:



For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

June 24, 2015

The Confederate flag must go

The biggest outcome of the Charleston wasn't new gun-control laws, or a reexamination of America's racist past. Apparently it was the removal of the Confederate flag.

It's a potentially big moment in the history of American race relations. Some postings on the subject:

The GOP’s delusional Charleston outrage shows just how desperate it has become

From "n-word" handwringing to ludicrous complaints about "politicizing" a tragedy, Republicans have totally lost it

By Heather Digby
On Monday, the horrors of Charleston brought about a symbolic, but meaningful change: Republicans who had previously been unwilling to offend the neo-Confederate faction of their party took a deep breath and recommended the Confederate flag be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse. It had been flying on the grounds somewhere since the early 1960s when white political leaders all over the South suddenly had an overwhelming urge to officially celebrate their “heritage,” just as African Americans were agitating for civil rights. In South Carolina, it was recently moved from the capitol to the grounds as part of a ”compromise,” and Republicans swore they’d been pushed to the brink and would move no further. But a massacre of nine people in a historic African American church by a white supremacist seems to have made them re-evaluate the value of their 50 year heritage of celebrating their resistance to civil rights.Walmart doesn’t get any credit for not selling the Confederate flag

A handful of major companies and red states are ditching the flag en masse. But this isn't courage. Far from it

By Bob Cesca
Today, in 2015, too many southerners continue to embrace it while refusing to embrace the hellscape; they refuse to own the century-plus waking nightmare that was so much a part of the African-American experience following the war, for which the South was almost entirely responsible. Flying the flag at the state Capitol or selling it in Walmart is a constant reminder, a constant reinforcement and ongoing legitimization of things that should otherwise be, in a sane world, shameful. And that’s exactly what the flag should rightfully symbolize to white southerners: shame.

Worse yet, it required the deaths of nine African-American parishioners in Charleston to finally begin to consider downplaying the flag. It should never have come to this, and every state—every retailer—that waited until after Dylann Roof opened fire before reconsidering the appropriateness of the flag should be justifiably shamed and scolded, rather than applauded.

Ultimately, if the South really, really desperately needs a symbol of its regional heritage, why not a mint julep or a pecan log from Stuckey’s? It doesn’t matter as long as it’s not that flag. The war is over. The Confederacy lost. And now’s the time to finally take ownership of what happened; to own what the flag really stands for. Enough of this childish cowering behind bogus, manufactured symbolism. Let the Confederate flag burnings commence in earnest, and dedicate each one to an African-American man, woman and child who was wronged under the symbolism of that banner.


New/old flag to replace the Stars and Bars in the Confederate South.



The Southern heritage...of white supremacy.

The ‘Southern Avenger’ Repents: I Was Wrong About the Confederate Flag

States’ rights? Heritage? I was wrong: The Confederate flag has always been about race.A 14-year-old black girl attending a pool party in McKinney, Texas, had been manhandled and thrown to the ground by a police officer. ... The overwhelming response was that she was a “thug” who was “no saint” and needed to be taught “respect.” ... It bothered me greatly, probably because at one time I might have done the same thing.Rand Paul: Confederate Flag a 'Symbol of Human Bondage and Slavery'

"And that's okay by me," Paul might've added. "Slavery is the natural result of unrestrained capitalism aka libertarianism, and that's the god I worship."

Fox Panel Debates Whether Removal of Confederate Flag Is 'A Slippery Slope'

Removing the flag is "sterilizing history"? So keeping the flag is meant to remind us that the South's racist rebellion was based on slavery? I don't think so.



Let's remember the white stuff and forget the black and Native stuff!



Get over it, Confederate crybabies!



For more on the subject, see Natives React to Charleston Shootings and Conservatives Can't Handle Roof's Racism.

June 23, 2015

Vans sells "drunken Indian" t-shirt

Vans Removes 'Drunken Indian' T-Shirt From Shelves After Canadian Petition

By Jesse FerrerasThe Vans clothing company has stopped selling a T-shirt that shows a totem pole made out of beer cans over concerns that it promotes a "drunken Indian" stereotype.

Chad Girardin, a M├ętis man from Vancouver, launched a Change.org petition calling on the retailer to remove the "Wizard Totem" shirt.

He is also seeking an official apology from the company. "This imagery is uncalled for and very hurtful," Girardin wrote.

"By creating this shirt Vans is stating that Natives culture revolves around alcohol and that all 'Indians' are drunks," the petition reads.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see "Siouxper Drunk" T-Shirts at UND and AIM Fights "Runs with Beer" T-Shirt.

June 22, 2015

Natives react to Charleston shootings

Some Natives reacting to the Charleston shootings noted our long history of racial violence:

A day of lament...

By Mark CharlesI lament the words of our political candidates who promise to lead America back to its former "greatness", ignorant of the fact that much of America's "greatness" was built on the exploitation and dehumanization of its people of color.

I lament that today the dominant culture in America is in shock because in the city of Charleston South Carolina one individual committed a single evil and heinous act of violence, while minority communities throughout the country are bracing themselves because the horrors of the past 500 years are continuing into their lifetime.

I lament with every person and community, throughout the history of this nation, who, due to the color of their skin, had to endure marginalization, silence, discrimination, beatings, lynching, cultural genocide, boarding schools, internment camps, mass incarceration, broken treaties, stolen lands, murder, slavery and discovery.

Today I lament that the United States of America does not share a common memory and therefore is incapable of experiencing true community.


Opinion / Making Sense of the Senseless

By Sherri MitchellIn the last 24 hours, I have seen posts that have blamed the NRA for their overbearing insistence that access to guns does not contribute to gun violence; the NRA in turn blamed one of the victims, claiming that his vote against guns in church made the victims less safe; another group blamed mental illness; while their opponents claimed that mental illness had simply become the catch-phrase for avoiding the larger problem, which was clearly psychotropic drugs. We blame, and blame, and blame, because it relieves us of taking any responsibility. The truth is that we are all complicit in the current state of affairs. By some unspoken, common agreement, Americans have chosen to overlook the fact that this country was founded on blood, and that it continues to thrive in blood. War has been the most significant and sustained truth guiding this country since its inception. And, despite all of the “progress” that has been made, American school children continue to be taught that genocide, slavery, and all other forms of subjugation and oppression, though terrible, are acceptable means to achieve noble ends. This is the true root of the problem. Until we are able to enter into meaningful dialogue about this truth, healing will not take place. And, we will all be doomed to repeat these devastating cycles over and over again.White America is complicit: Charleston, Dylann Roof and the country’s real race war

Questioning the motivations of the Charleston shooter is worse than obtuse. It is itself an act of violence

By Kali Holloway
At 21-years-old, Roof had fully absorbed the message his country has taught him, just like terrorists in every other country, in every other part of the world. He clung to the old American idea that white women are our most precious resource to be protected by any means, and felt it was his right as a white man to protect his birthright—this country and his privilege within it—which he saw as being taken from him. We are guns and violence and race hatred and systemic, codified, state-sanctioned terrorism against people of color and that is who we have always been. While our media is certain to attribute Roof’s heinous acts to mental illness (and the cops were careful to take him alive, which even the most innocent of black folks cannot count on), I consider him a particularly apt pupil. Just the latest of many. Though certainly not the last.Even President Obama had an opinion:

Obama rejects mass shootings as 'new normal' in America

"How can anyone call shootings the new normal," Obama might've explained, "when they go back to the Mystic Massacre of 1637?"

For more on the subject, see Conservatives Can't Handle Roof's Racism and Conservatives Make Excuses for Roof.

June 21, 2015

Conservatives can't handle Roof's racism

Having failed to come up with any other explanation for Dylann Roof's assault, they still failed to address his expressed motives:

HuffPost BlackVoices ‏@blackvoices
Fox News twists itself in knots to find an explanation other than racism for the #CharlestonShooting http://huff.to/1H24kHk

Wall Street Journal: Please ignore the Confederate flag on the South Carolina capitol — institutionalized racism “no longer exists” in the South

Dylann Roof murdered nine black people not because of racism, but some "problem that defies explanation"

Why Conservatives Still Won't Admit That Charleston Was A Racist Crime

The GOP’s staggering Charleston cowardice: Why are so many Republicans so scared of admitting the truth?

When it comes to the Republican Party, terrorism in South Carolina will never, ever be described as such

Short answer: Because many of their followers share Roof's views.

‘I know where he got his news': Bill Maher links Charleston terrorist to right-wing media

By Arturo GarciaLewis again tried to argue for religion as a motivation for Roof, only to be cut off by Maher and Reid.

“If you look even at the three flags that this young man adhered to, the Confederate flag emblem on his car, the Rhodesian flag and the South African flag from Apartheid[-era] South Africa, all three of those purported to be Christian governments,” Reid said. “The white Christian government in South Africa, which ruled over the majority-black population; in Rhodesia, the violent white government that ruled over that population considered themselves quite Christian. [Roof] could’ve been completely embraced in what those governments stood for.”
The proof is in

As if we didn't have enough evidence of Roof's beliefs, someone found this:

Dylann Roof Photos and a Manifesto Are Posted on Website

Conservatives immediately announced they're still not sure why Roof acted. "It's senseless, unthinkable, and unfathomable," they said in unison, reading from their white supremacist talking points.

Here's a great summary of conservative confusion and cowardice:

Fox News Goes to Insane Lengths to Underplay Gun Violence

For years, Fox News and conservatives have routinely tried to underplay gun violence and even horrific bouts of mass murders.

By Eric Boehlert
Like frantic shoppers running down a last-minute list, Fox News talkers last week desperately tried to cobble together an inventory of reasons why racist gunman Dylann Roof may not have been primarily motivated by racism.

As the conservative media anxiously and collectively searched for political cover, Fox News hosts and guests offered up an array of illogical explanations: Maybe the Charleston, S.C. church killing was an attack on Christians. Maybe it was an attack on South Carolina. Maybe political correctness was to blame. Or "diversity." Maybe pastors should be armed. (In any case, Fox Newsers agreed, President Obama was being very, very "divisive" regarding the matter.)

On and on, the alternative explanations were offered up in the face of overwhelming evidence that Roof allegedly had set out to kill as many black people as possible because he wanted to start a "race war." Period. And the way Roof allegedly chose to do that was to open fire, and then reload, in the basement of the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, killing the pastor and eight parishioners.

Like so many Americans, Fox News has been reeling in the wake of the massacre, except reeling in a different way. While Americans recoiled from the raw hate behind the gun rampage, Fox News wrestled with bouts of pathological denial.

Indeed, for Fox News and much of the conservative media, the horrific killings in South Carolina represented a political challenge because the act of mass murder revolved around two topics Fox News has long insisted don't really afflict America, or don't require pressing action: Racism and gun violence. That denial has made it nearly impossible for Fox to address the shooting in any coherent way.
For more on the subject, see Were Charleston Shootings "Unfathomable"? and Initial Reactions to Charleston Shootings.

June 20, 2015

Conservatives make excuses for Roof

Let's review what we've learned about Dylann Roof, the suspect in the Charleston shootings:

White Shooter Reportedly Told Black Victims: 'You're Taking Over Our Country'

In the wake of this heinous crime, right-wingers swung into action, blaming everything but Roof's explicit hatred of blacks. For starters, they tried their favorite "persecution of Christians" fantasy:

“Fox & Friends” just can’t stop the spin: In the wake of Charleston, we must arm our pastors and priests

It's "extraordinary" that it's being investigated as a hate crime, Steve Doocy said--it's an attack on Christians

Problem solved! Good guys with guns to shoot bad guys with guns. Pump 'em all full of lead and let God sort them out.

Santorum Calls Charleston Shooting 'Assault on Religious Liberty'

Ri-i-ight...it was an atheist assault on Christianity, not a white assault on blacks. Despite what the killer explicitly said. Thanks for demonstrating that none of my parodies is more extreme than the right-wing reality.

The following is not, I repeat not, an Onion satire:

White Supremacists Worried Charleston Shooting Makes Them Look BadStormfront commenters continued to hold out hope Thursday morning that perhaps Roof wasn't motivated by racism--maybe it was anti-Christian hatred instead--and their movement could keep what they think of as their good name.More from the lunatic fringe

Conservatives also floated the usual "crazed lone gunman" theory, which others shot down:

It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males

Blaming "mental illness" is a cop-out--and one that lets us avoid talking about race, guns, hatred and terrorism

Racism Is Not a Mental Illness

Then Fox News agreed with Dylann Roof that "different cultures" was a reason for his mass murder:

Fox News host blames mass shootings on ‘different cultures’ living together in America

"All those brown people...so different from me...must kill them!"

And of course they blamed Obama, the root of all evil:

Frequent Fox guest: Whites might shoot up more black churches if Obama keeps calling them racist

Right...because the worse thing you can do to whites is call them out on their racism. It's practically a hate crime. It makes them so mad they literally can't stop themselves from pulling the trigger and killing more blacks.

For more on the subject, see Were Charleston Shootings "Unfathomable"? and Initial Reactions to Charleston Shootings.

June 19, 2015

Rachel Dolezal = Indian wannabe

American Indians are Accustomed to Wannabes

On Being Onkwe:honwe: Thoughts About Rachel Dolezal

By Charles "Rain" BlackAmong Natives, if non-Natives come to us and ask how best to honor us, we are more than happy to give answers. Even if they approach our leaders with an existing idea (as Florida State did with the Seminoles) and say “We want to do this to honor you” or ask “Will this offend you?” we tend to give some consideration to the idea. However, doing it without getting our input, or worse, rejecting our feedback after the fact, is in no way honoring us. It's treating us as symbols, stereotypes or backdrops to colonialist activities. None of that honors Natives except in the self-centered thinking of the colonists doing so.

Now we see the same sort of behavior on the part of Rachel Dolezal. Much as with all the descendants of “Cherokee Princesses” who want to co-opt Native culture, she has decided on her own to be something she isn't--being black--never asking if her actions would offend those who have to deal with being black from even before they are born. That is the nature of modern American society, to be so wrapped up in rights and what “I want” that any sense of responsibility and what others want becomes secondary, or completely unimportant.

The situation with Rachel Donezal is bigger than just one woman unable to cope honestly with her family situation. It's about an entire society that has become so Narcissistic that people feel entitled to choose to be and do things that dishonor other people, yet claim they are doing so to honor them. The declaration is “If this is what I want to do to honor you, then you damn well better feel honored!” or be considered ungrateful or even prejudiced. Our society now too easily forgives or justifies people who do things without any regard for the impact their actions have on others.

Whether it's Rachel Donezal pretending to be black, or fashion models wearing war bonnets, such actions cannot be justified if the people groups directly involved in the representation of race or culture are not consulted and give their permission ahead of time. That is the real issue, not her personal rights to express her identity. Basic courtesy requires that those you are going to attempt to honor be consulted on the matter and give their approval. Rachel Donezal didn't do this.
Washington football fans are as guilty of cultural appropriation as Rachel Dolezal

By Kevin B. BlackistoneFor much of my life, at least on fall and winter weekends, I was Rachel Dolezal.

I donned a T-shirt, sweatshirt or cap emblazoned with some image and nickname of my hometown football team and cheered it on. In the beginning, it was a gold-and-white spear and arrowhead festooned with a single feather. Then it became a burgundy R with a circle around it and a pair of white-and-burgundy feathers dangling down the back. Finally, the R gave way to the silhouette of a dark-skinned man with feathers cascading from his scalp.

He was an “American Indian,” as we’ve come to call the original and native people of the Americas. And the feathers, the golden spear and arrowhead, the paint that some who sat in RFK Stadium near Dad and me streaked on their faces, the headdresses that a few fans wore and nicknames they gave themselves, such as a guy who went by “Chief Zee,” were all that concocted Native American’s property—or his people’s.

We stole it. That’s called cultural appropriation. It’s misapplication. It’s misuse. It’s a callous disregard of the sensibilities of others who are not us.

That’s what too many of us continue to do in and around Washington, D.C., with native peoples’ culture, all for our selfish purpose as football fans. It’s the same as Dolezal—who Monday resigned her presidency of the Spokane, Wash., NAACP after her claim of being black was disproved by her white biological parents—stealing chunks of black American culture for her gain.
Black and Red and White Like Me: Natives Know Too Many Rachel Dolezals

By Mary Annette PemberThe story of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman posing as an African American, shines a light on the strange practice of ethnic fraud. Unfortunately, this practice is old news in Indian country; non-Natives, mostly Caucasians, have been posing as Native people for years.

“Playing Indian” is so common that most Native peoples have grown inured to the cringe-inducing spectacle of white folks doing ungainly dances at hobby powwows all over the world. Not all participants at these events claim Native ancestry – many just want to be Indian for a day.

There are more and more individuals and groups, however, claiming Native heritage in order to reap benefits, either professional or monetary. Many of these imposters also present themselves to the general public as authorities and spokespeople for Native peoples. These practices are a line in the sand for some Native people like Ben Barnes, Second Chief for the Shawnee tribe of Oklahoma and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). He and representatives from other Oklahoma tribes are joining together and taking action.

Barnes and leaders from the three federally recognized Shawnee tribal governments all located in Oklahoma (the Shawnee, Absentee Shawnee and Eastern Band Shawnee, as well as the Miami tribe), traveled to Illinois in May to oppose a state bill that would have conferred state tribal recognition to the Vinyard Indian Settlement. The group, located in Herod, Illinois, claims to be Shawnee.

George Strack, THPO for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma described the group as hobbyists.
My Native identity isn't your plaything. Stop with the mascots and 'pocahotties'

By Ruth HopkinsAre you a Pretendian? If you’ve ever worn a feathered headdress, clad yourself in head-to-toe Navajo prints or claimed without evidence that one of your great-great-great grandparents had some Native blood as a way to derail an argument about your white privilege, you’re the kind of person we Native Americans shame as seeking to co-opt Native identity.

When Pretendians seek to adopt Native identity to appear more exotic, or for some other perceived benefit, yet lack a genuine claim to Native heritage, their actions are little more than an extension of manifest destiny and colonial conquest – you could even call it racial identity theft. Sacred objects like warbonnets and peace pipes, and even the sexuality of Native women, are treated like the spoils of war, free for the taking.

Besides being descended from and related by blood to one of the more than 566 tribal nations recognized by the US government, Natives today agree that blood quantum is not the sole determinate of Native identity: kinship is key, because no true Native is an island. We have grandparents and cousins, blood roots and homelands. Pretendians lack kinship ties to tribal people.

Pretendians also have not lived through the systemic oppression that actual Native people face on a daily basis. They lack connections to reservations or urban Native communities who battle the effects of historical trauma. Pretendians aren’t the survivors of genocide; rather, it was their colonial ancestors who set up housekeeping on stolen lands built over the corpses of our dead, and Pretendians have benefitted from it. Insisting on inclusion when unqualified just exploits the people that Pretendians seek to imitate.
Comment:  Dolezal's Indian name is Stands with a Weave.

For more on the subject, see Churchill, Depp, Warren, and Dolezal and Making Sense of Rachel Dolezal.

Were Charleston shootings "unfathomable"?

People speculated about Dylann Roof's motive in opening fire in a Charleston church, though there wasn't much doubt about it.

Charleston terrorist reveals his motive: ‘You rape our women and you’re taking over our country—and you have to go’

Charleston terrorist acts on anti-Obama Tea Party hatred aka the Republican Party agenda. One Confederate flag-waver does what other Confederate flag-wavers only dream of.

We've seen thousands of examples of Obama called un-American, a foreigner, a tyrant, a terrorist, a Nazi, the anti-Christ, etc. Here's one such example:

Right-Wing Haters Slam Michelle Obama For Advocating Education For Girls

Michelle Obama supports "terrorists" => right-winger shoots blacks in Charleston. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Blacks are conspiring against (white) America, according to Roof, so kill the blacks.

"We'll never understand"?

Naturally, this was a hot topic of discussion on the Internets:alpha1906@gmail.com @alpha1906
That’s the talking point of the right: “We’ll never understand what’s going on in his mind.” Yes, we will. It’s racism. ‪#‎CharlestonShooting‬

Retweeted Andray @AndrayDomise
Dissonance: Charleston's mayor calling a hate-motivated shooting "unfathomable." In SC. Where the Confederate flag flies over the Capitol.

Pin Head ‏@TomAdelsbach
"Dylann Roof does not define South Carolina" - Mayor Riley

This flag flies over the SC Statehouse, so it kinda does.
Dave Zirin ‏@EdgeofSports
The past is not past when Gov. Nikki Haley can speak solemnly about the dead beneath a confederate flag. http://www.thenation.com/blog/210313/charlestons-mother-emanuel-church-has-stared-down-racist-violence-200-years …

Lincoln Michel ‏@TheLincoln
The mental gymnastics white people go through.... http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/18/everything-known-about-charleston-church-shooting-suspect-dylann-roof.html … #CharlestonShooting
Jeet Heer ‏@HeerJeet
He made racist jokes, wore patches with flags of racist states & is alleged to have killed 9 black people. The motive is mysterious.

Nerdy Wonka ‏@NerdyWonka
Terrorist comes to shoot black people. Media confirms he said he was there to shoot black people.

MSM: Was this really about race?

*Sigh*

Tim Wise ‏@timjacobwise
The #CharlestonShooting was not "incomprehensible." Racism is encoded in U.S. DNA. The shooter learned the lessons this culture taught him

Clint Smith ‏@ClintSmithIII
The shooter wasn't acting alone, he had 239 years of United States history telling him he was doing the right thing. #CharlestonShooting
Plus a great comment from a friend of a Facebook friend:Just because a guy with a record of making racist remarks declares that he wants to kill black people before killing black people, does not mean he is a racist who sought to kill black people. Let's not jump to any conclusions here. We need look past the evidence.More on the subject

Here are 10 of the worst domestic terror attacks by extreme Christians and right-wing white men

Yes, America has been terrorizing brown people since 1492.

Charleston Shooting: Speaking the Unspeakable, Thinking the Unthinkable

"Unthinkable"? In a nation where people like Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin get killed every day? I'm surprised whenever a white man doesn't kill black people for some reason.

June 18, 2015

Initial reactions to Charleston shootings

White boy Dylann Roof allegedly shot nine black people in Charleston, South Carolina. Here are some initial thoughts from social media on this mass murder:Why is it always a white guy: The roots of modern, violent rageDwayne Rodgers ‏@DiggsWayne
Has anyone done a serious study of White male aggression? Or does their privilege exempt them from such studies? #DysfunctionIgnored

ella's homie ‏@_BrothaG
There is a history to church folks being terrorized by white supremacy. Most lynchings & rapes took place during & after church #AMEShooting

TRiLL CLiNTON ‏@iMadeSmartCool
Just as it was in the 1960's, the deliberate shooting of a Black church is to send a loud message:

You are safe nowhere.

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
Should you politicize a shooting? Use this test:

(1) The shooter is Muslim
(2) The shooter is not Muslim

If (1), feel free to politicize.

Salon.com ‏@Salon
Racists take to Twitter to spew in wake of Charleston shootings http://slnm.us/1V2s91w
Lawrence Brown ‏@BmoreDoc
Nine killed in Waco. A "brawl"
Nine killed in Charleston. A "shooting"

Zero killed in Baltimore during resistance. The apocalypse.

BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics
Can we have a national outpouring of grief for Charleston with a "Charleston Strong" slogan? Oh, wait, the victims were black. Never mind.

Phillip Atiba Goff ‏@DrPhilGoff
Disturbing to hear @nikkihaley say she never thought people weren't safe in churches. 32 Black churches in 18 months.

Salon.com ‏@Salon
Call it what it is: The Charleston shooting is domestic terrorism http://slnm.us/gEYqO0p
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Santa Barbara Shootings Show America's Pathology and Newtown Shootings Show America's Pathology.

June 17, 2015

Hobby Lobby display stereotypes Indians

Hobby Lobby Trafficking in Racist Native Images

By Amy Hornby UribeWisconsin is home to no fewer than 11 Native American tribes. A few miles west of Onalaska, in Minnesota, there are at least 12 tribes (http://www.indians.org/tribal-directory.html). In my 40 years of living primarily in the upper Midwest, I have witnessed racism towards and negative stereotypes about Native Americans. I have seen firsthand the negative effects of white privilege and the lingering effects of the European decimation of tribes across the United States. Racism is both individual and systemic; sometimes people and institutions are even unaware of their racist behaviors. Through the pictured product line, Hobby Lobby has knowingly, or (ignorantly) unknowingly contributed to the negative stereotypes about people who surely form part of their clientele.

This product display harkens back to a cowboy versus Indian mentality and indicates that interactions with Indians would be equivalent to a grand summer adventure. There are paintings of teepees, and arrows along with the message “your adventure awaits.” These images might lead one to believe that Native Americans all lived in teepees or still do, which of course, isn’t true. What’s worse, the image with the multiple arrows (bottom of photo) states, “You are our greatest adventure.” I was shocked by this phrase, as was Moses Cleveland of the Ho Chunk Nation of Black River Falls, WI who asked upon seeing my photo, “So it was an adventure to try and kill off my people and take our lands?” As a European American, I had the exact same thought, so if there is a different interpretation of this “artwork,” for those of us who grew up in pluricultural communities, I don’t see it.

June 16, 2015

Take back Tiger Lily?

"What's There to Take Back"

By Tiffany MidgeRecently, an online indie publication put out a call for submissions based on the theme of “Taking Back Tiger Lily.”

“This project seeks submissions from Native American artists, re-creating Tiger Lily to fit a real model of Indigenous womanhood…”

The way I see it, what this call for submissions is suggesting, and bear with me because I’m being sarcastic here, is that somehow Indian people are in such dire need, are apparently at such a loss for Native American role models to look up to, have no cultural heroes or icons to claim as their very own, that the only solution is to exhume from the mausoleum of twentieth century relics, the Disney cartoon character Tiger Lily–who, in the 1950s, was brought to universal consciousness, ushered into the hearts and imaginations of millions; shrink-wrapped, merchandised, packaged and delivered by a much-rumored-to-be-anti-Semite and a gender-bigot. Fast forward to 2015, this call for submissions proposes that Tiger Lily be resuscitated, repurposed, attempt a re-prescriptive and re-appropriated identity. Here she is, Ms. America-n Indian!


Midge does not agree with this project's goals:It’s difficult for me to visualize Tiger Lily as any sort of symbol of empowerment considering she never spoke a word. If this image is being used as a symbol, speechlessness and victimhood is pretty symbolic. Throughout most of the film she was tied up and at the mercy of pirates, so I fail to see how her legacy would arouse anyone’s admiration beyond that as an exotic rival for Peter Pan’s affections. Add that to the fact that she is a projected piece of celluloid; she bears no resemblance to anyone or anything remotely Indigenous, and certainly bears no resemblance to anyone or anything remotely real. I find this “project,” at best, fetishistic and essentializing, and at worst, apologist and racist. It upholds and privileges a white supremacist power structure.

There is no “taking back,” no “reclamation” of an idea that never belonged to Indians in the first place. A writer friend of mine noted, “Reclaim Sambo? Taking back Sambo for whose sake?” I echo that. Would anyone want to reclaim Frito Bandito? Aunt Jemima? Charlie Chan? God, no. These images are analogous to images of Tiger Lily. They are made from the same poison. The same polluted well. The suggestion is unsettling, volatile and creates a something’s-very-wrong-about-this, sick-to-my-stomach kind of feeling.
Comment:  For more on Tiger Lily, see Native Stereotypes in Peter Pan Live! and Natives Protest Tiger Lily Casting.

Below:  Take back these stereotypical images? And do what with them?