September 12, 2006

The vicious cycle of stereotyping

500 years of terrorismWhen human beings can be labeled as less than human their deaths become meaningless. This is the apparent belief of the terrorists and the early settlers. By portraying all Indians as murdering savages, rapists, kidnappers and worse, the national media of the day laid the groundwork for Wounded Knee. In article after article urging the government to remove the Indian people by any means from their homelands, the media stood guilty of fomenting acts of terrorism. Similar articles in the media and speeches in the mosques in the Nations of Islam expressed similar views of Americans. This laid the groundwork for 9/11. A lie repeated often enough becomes a fact in the minds of impressionable people. Indians are savages, Americans are infidels and Arabs are heathens. Do you see how this logic works?

Just as the Crusaders believed it was their Christian duty to conquer and kill those Arabs they considered as sub-humans and heathens, so too did America duplicate their misguided logic against the First Americans. The people of the Islamic Nations never forgave nor forgot. The Indian people have largely forgiven, but they have not forgotten. The Christians of the Crusade de-humanized the Arabs, the early Americans de-humanized the Indians and the People of Islam now de-humanize Westerners. It is a vicious cycle that is centuries old.

17 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
I know Tim Giago and his prose always is level-headed, well-considered, and inarguable. If there are any complaints I have, they are these: numbers.
First, not all 3000 people who died in the World Trade Center attack were American citizens. It was, after the WORLD Trade Center, and the terrorist attack therefore was an attack on the world, not merely the United States.
Second, Natives still mourn MILLIONS, not thousands, who died during 500 years of terrorism waged against the Native peoples in the New World. Population archaeologists now are certain that the Native population of what is now North America was 110 million in 1492. In 1892, 500 years later, it was 1/4 million.
600 and some years later, terrorism continues but hardly on the apocalyptic scale these lands have known. The citeable lines about no one learning from history, about what goes around, about the more things change, and about all things old, have interwoven. Vicious cycles all, but hardly undeserved and far from inappropriate...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Anonymous said...

In 1892 there were only 250,000 Natives in all of North America...including Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Canada, the US, and other countries? I always thought that a lot more survived, and that a place like Mexico would have always had many more than 250,000 alone. What is the source of this number?

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Try the handy slide chart and graph found at:

Http://www.colorado.edu/Sociology/Mayer/Race%20and%20Ethnicity/Native%20Americans.%20Spring%202004_files/frame.htm#slide0064.htm

I do not know otherwise how to import that here, as a computer to writerfella is just a large, overcomplicated typewriter.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Anonymous said...

The title and page implies that the chart is of a US population graph, not a North American graph, but I'm not sure.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Pardon me, but I'm a bit busy making apple butter and marmalade...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Anonymous said...

Apples and oranges is a pretty good description of it if it turns out that you are comparing the "before" and "after" population of two different geographic areas, which I suspect you might be.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Reference this, Caped Crusader! AMERICAN INDIAN HOLOCAUST AND SURVIVAL: Population History Since 1492 by Richard Thornton, Oklahoma University Press.
And pish and tush, sir. The apples and oranges came from YOUR orchard, pure and ripened, complete with the house label, Encyclopedia Anonymica. Or are you suspicious and unsure of that, as well? Now, I suddenly recall the bumper sticker someone put on your car that goes, '...with both hands and a flashlight.'
Sort of reminds writerfella of the USS Ronald Reagan, the only ship in the fleet that can't remember its own name.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Anonymous said...

All boats and fruits and vegetables aside, checking into the leads given by the book show a comparison "before" and "after" of different regions. I find the "before" 100+ million pre-Columbian figure given for all of the Americas (North and South), and the "less than a million" figure ("after") is given for just the United States.

In Mexico alone, the total population in 1892 was well over 10 million. Most of these were then, as now, relatively pure Native or half/most Native (Mestizo). A conservative estimate would mean over 6 million Natives living in Mexico (just one country of North America) in 1892: 24 times as much as your 1/2 million figure for Natives in all of North America.

None of this should diminish the seriousness of the deaths and genocide. It's just that we shouldn't be so far off when discussing such things, and at least use the same place when discussing population before and after.

Anonymous said...

more info, from

http://www.houstonculture.org/mexico/oaxaca.html

"By the time of the 1900 Mexican Federal Census, 471,439 individuals spoke indigenous languages"

...1900 being very close to 1892, and the 471,439 total population for just one state of North America being close to twice your claimed total for all of North America in 1892.

There is similar information to be found for other Mexican states. Another page on that site,

http://www.houstonculture.org/mexico/aztec.html

even refers to the Kiowa, if you are interested.

Rob said...

Back to the issue of stereotyping. Here's a great example of how stereotyping leads to real-world consequences. Indians, Americans, and Iraqis have all been killed because someone thought them evil or "bad" in some way. The killers had these thoughts because of their culture's worldview--its assumptions and beliefs and teachings. These included its stereotyping of "the other."

Good luck to your relatives getting a job when terrorists are trying to kill them. Eliminate the stereotypes and you eliminate the terrorism--along with the hundreds of billions of dollars being redirected out of our economy. Change that and everyone benefits. Then the indigenous people of America and the Middle East can get a job in peace.

Rob said...

P.S. Some links for the indigenous population of Mexico c. 1900:

http://www.travelyucatan.com/maya/mayan_demography.php

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:CovtF2iu2CEJ:as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/1043/Pop.Comp.IESBS.2001.pdf+indigenous+population+of+mexico+1900&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=9&client=firefox-a

http://www.houstonculture.org/mexico/mexico.html

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
It was not writerfella who ranged so far afield from the topic under discussion. Rather, it was the faceless and trackless 'ghost' riposter. Look carefully at what writerfella writes, and you will find what truly was the intent: just because it is in a book does not make it so, or even make it safe from being 'disinformation.'
Even proponents of Manifest Destiny still claim that these continents 'were empty,' and so justify that the land was ripe for the taking. Thus, any matters that do not agree with such assertions MUST be wrong! If that is NOT stereotyping, I fail to see how anything else could be!
For the most part in popular media, Native Americans are reduced down to mere numbers and percentages, so many % alcoholic, so many thousands illiterate, so many % unemployed, so many thousands living in poverty, so many % with diabetes or kidney failure, etc, etc, etc!
SO MUCH SO THAT THE NUMBERS AND PERCENTAGES BECOME SHORTHAND FOR THE NATIVE AMERICANS AND THEY NO LONGER ARE FLESH AND BLOOD PEOPLE AND ALL THE REAL FACES AND NAMES AND VOICES ARE LOST IN THE FLOOD!!
You want stereotypes? Well, there they are!
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Not a Sioux said...

See the earlier disclaimer, repeated here: "None of this should diminish the seriousness of the deaths and genocide. It's just that we shouldn't be so far off when discussing such things, and at least use the same place when discussing population before and after."

Likewise, if someone says that the Nazis killed 70 million Jews, it is not an attempt to deny the Holocaust or anything that is REAL to bring things to a more factual level and point out that it is really something around 6 million.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Like Tim Giago's numbers about Natives, I dispute yours about the Holocaust. Not all of those 6 millions were Jews but included Gypsies who were not Jews, homosexuals who were not Jews, displaced persons who were not Jews, people of 'inferior races' who were not Jews, intellectuals who were not Jews, actors and artists and writers who were not Jews, and other 'enemies of the state' who were not Jews.
You were generalizing and writerfella was not...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

The 250,000 figure is the low point for the population of Indians in the United States. From what I read, I guesstimate that in 1900, Canada had roughly the same number of Indians (250,000-500,000?) while Mexico had 500,000-1 million.

As for the Jewish death toll in the Holocaust, Wikipedia says:

[T]he evidence given by Holocaust deniers does not stand up to closer scrutiny. In fact, the 1949 World Almanac gives the world Jewish population as 11,266,600. Moreover, it revises its estimate of the World Jewish population in 1939 upwards, to 16,643,120. Thus, according to the 1949 World Almanac the difference between the pre and post war populations is over 5.4 million.

Not a Sioux said...

Writer: The problem with the Native population numbers you have quoted is that your "before" number appears to apply to all of North America, and your "after" number appears to apply to just the United States. The "before" number is way too high for the US alone (and looks closer to the North American total), and the "after" number is way too low for North America (and looks like the US total).

The "over 5.4 million" number of Jews lost (which is close enough to 6 million) typically does not include the numbers of Rom (Gypsy) and others you name. I've seen the number of Gypsies killed given as high as 500,000.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Most totals DO NOT exclude the upwards to 320,000 deaths at Mauthausen-Gusen, where 'incorrigible political enemies of the Reich' were kept for slave labor. They were 'the intelligentsia,' educated people and higher social classes from all countries subjugated by Germany in WWII, who were not Jews.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'