October 29, 2007

Standing up to racism

Russell:  Political correctness and drawing to an inside straightGrowing up in Oklahoma, I came to understand that being "part Indian" was cool while being a full-blood was not, as far as the white majority was concerned. Our family hero was Will Rogers, but we did not think of him as "part Indian." We thought of him as Cherokee and "part Indian" a laughable attempt by white folks to make Rogers one of them.

I guess I finally internalized the dominant culture message the day I came into the barber shop where I had gotten my haircuts since childhood to deliver newspapers. I interrupted a tirade by one of the barbers about the shiftless welfare bum Indians. When he saw me standing in the doorway he mumbled "Oh, I didn't mean you" and, that day only, gave me a tip.

It's easier to ignore this kind of poison, but I've come to believe that ignoring it is like failing to take antibiotics for an infection. It just gets worse. So I've been publicly on the wrong side of my entire tribal government when they try to eject tribal citizens for excessive melanin.
Comment:  Steve Russell is a longtime supporter of PEACE PARTY and Blue Corn Comics.


Anonymous said...

Good article. Much better than that other one concerning Will Rogers.

Rob said...

I try to provide a range of perspectives. I don't necessarily agree with everything I post.