March 20, 2009

"Gooks" assaulted with BBs, urine

Some thoughts from correspondent Melvin Martin on an incident in the news:I have written about Rapid City, South Dakota, on this blog before, and I have remarked that Rapid City has to be THE worst place for anti-Indian racism in all of America. The following article appeared on the Rapid City Journal's website (www.rapidcityjournal.com):Juveniles accused of hate crime after shooting BB gun, throwing urine at Native Americans

Youths facing felony chargesFour juveniles are accused of a hate crime after they fired a BB gun pistol at several Native Americans and threw urine at others Tuesday.

Ranging in age from 12-17, the juveniles, all whom were white, were riding in a brown car when they attacked at least two groups of Native Americans and a lone Native American man.

Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender says the juveniles targeted people based upon their location, appearance and race.

"It's as sickening as it is shocking," Allender said.

Not only did the youths attack adults, they also targeted a group of juveniles between the ages of 10 and 14.

Rapid City Police suspect that more individuals were attacked by the group.
Martin continues with his story:I was born in Rapid City in the ‘50s (I am an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe; close to “full-blooded”) and left there when I was 18 to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1971.

One morning in December of 1971, after having completed basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana and three weeks of additional training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, (at which time I was granted Christmas leave) I was waiting for a cab at the old Continental Trailways bus station in downtown Rapid City (in my winter green uniform) when a carload of cowboys and a few girls drove by, called me a “red skinned nigger,” and threw a brown paper bag at me that exploded against the wall behind my head (the bag contained a large amount of feces).

They then drove off at a fairly high rate of speed, with three of the vehicle’s occupants wagging their tongues at me and flipping me off through the rear window.

From the time that I last lived in Rapid City to when I left (an 11-year period, from 1995-2007, minus a year in New York) I lived and worked downtown where I walked to and from work, and not a day went by that I was not glared at and/or rudely stared at by passing non-Indian motorists. And perhaps two to three times a week a carload of punks would either yell out some kind of racial epithet as they passed me on the street or loudly honk their horns at me. Several times I was referred to as a “wetback” and once I was even called a “fucking gook!” by a carload of drunken college guys as I was on my way to the public library on a Saturday afternoon. I voluntarily joined the army during the Vietnam conflict, so being called a “gook” had a special resonance with me.

My physical appearance during this period can best be described as “business professional” as I worked in sales and marketing. I have always worn my hair short and I am clean-shaven--I make this observation to point out that I was never a dirty street wino or some kind of a scruffy, homeless denizen of the alleyways that the majority of whites in Rapid City believe most Indian males there to be. Not to say that these particular individuals deserve to be harassed, but I was to my way of thinking just another U.S. citizen going about his daily routines.

I lost track of the number of Indian people who complained to me over the years of the verbal harassment they received simply walking down the street in that town, but a conservative estimate goes into at least several hundred.

I wish that there was some way that Rapid City could at last be revealed to all of the nation and the rest of the world for the racist dung heap that it is. For the past 14 years I have actively fought alone against the mistreatment of Indian people not only in South Dakota, but throughout the country wherever incidents like this and worse have occurred, and in closing I am asking all who read this posting to tell others about it.

Pilamaya, (“Thank you”)
Melvin Martin
Oglala Lakota Nation
Comment:  People have claimed that Obama's election signals the end of racism. Once again, the evidence proves this claim false.

For my response to Martin's essay, see Stereotypes Trigger Hate Crimes. For more on the subject, see Hate Abounds in "Post-Racial" America, Racism Lives in ObamAmerica, and The Post-Racial, Post-Indian Era?

25 comments:

Stephen said...

"Comment: People have claimed that Obama's election signals the end of racism. Once again, the evidence proves this claim false."

*Sighs.* As I posted before racism and bigotry will always exist (in all races, I've had a quite a few Hispanic friends who were not exactly fans of black people). However the majority of Americans are not racist, Obama's election proves that. Saying that racism will vanish in a puff of a smoke though is fantasy straight from the cult of NWObama.

Stephen said...

Also have you previously condemned or covered racism outside this country?

dmarks said...

" I've had a quite a few Hispanic friends who were not exactly fans of black people"

There used to be a frequent poster here who was Native American, and he self-destructed and vanished in a puff of racial rage against Barack Obama.

"Also have you previously condemned or covered racism outside this country?"

I've seen many many posts here discussing Native Americans in pop culture in countries outside of the United States.

Stephen said...

"There used to be a frequent poster here who was Native American, and he self-destructed and vanished in a puff of racial rage against Barack Obama."

Good example; historically speaking minorities squabbled with other minorities because of limited resources and cultural differences.

"I've seen many many posts here discussing Native Americans in pop culture in countries outside of the United States."

Exactly plus it's a mite biased to focus solely on American racism.

Stephen said...

Heh sorry dmarks I misread that last part (multitasking + sleep dep = mistakes).

Rob said...

Actually, almost everybody is racist, Stephen. Which is why I have a posting with that title. Read it and learn about the subject.

I love the presumptions in your comments. Most Americans (especially your Scots-Irish ancestors) aren't racist. The few who are racist are just as likely to be minorities as whites. Therefore, it's wrong to talk about (white) racism in America. Let's focus on racism elsewhere, where brown-skinned people discriminate against each other. And leave us poor, picked-on white Americans alone.

You conveniently ignore the fact that whites generally have the power in America. It's ridiculous to claim that all Americans are prejudiced in theory when white Americans act upon their prejudices more often. Investigate the statistics on any racial problem in America--e.g., hate crimes, housing discrimination, healthcare access, educational spending, prison sentencing--if you think whites and minorities are equally likely to discriminate against each other. You'll find your "everyone's guilty so no one's to blame" presumption is wrong.

You can start your own blog and focus on worldwide racism if you wish. But I'm focusing on the racism here. If you don't like it, leave. But don't waste our time downplaying or dismissing the racial hate evident in this posting.

Rob said...

FYI, this blog covers racism and stereotyping pertaining to the indigenous inhabitants of North and South America. Most of that occurs in the Americas, naturally. But I occasionally post items from Europe (e.g., about German hobbyists) and elsewhere.

If you think I'm trying to cover the universe of racism, you're sadly mistaken. I almost never post anything about prejudice against blacks, Latinos, or other minorities. The most I do is post an occasional article about racism in general--because it has implications for Native people.

Racism in America is a worthy focus because we're leading the push for a global culture. When we invade a Muslim country based on false premises, that sends one message to the world. When we elect a black president, that sends another message. Our choices and decisions have more impact than, say, those in Russia or Indonesia or Brazil.

I've stretched to cover a few topics that aren't about Natives. For instance, the 9/11 attacks, Islam, libertarianism, the Muhammad cartoons published in Denmark, and taxes. I think they're relevant because they relate to my broader theme of examining the American mindset from a multicultural perspective.

But I have no intention of trying to do more. This blog already takes up too much of my time. And your constant sniping doesn't help any.

So spare us the talk of my "bias" when I'm doing much more work than you are. If you don't like my generalizations about America, start your own blog called "Exceptions to Rob's Generalizations." I'm not wasting my time explaining such generalizations when everyone gets them but you.

Stephen said...

"I love the presumptions in your comments. Most Americans (especially your Scots-Irish ancestors) aren't racist."

I've backed that up with stats also I don't know why you keep on bringing up my Scots-Irish ancestry; what exactly does that have to do with the topic at hand? I think you've mentioned Ulster-Scots more than I have... Also seem to be operating off of the evil racist redneck (which is actually a sectarian ethnic slur) stereotype.

"The few who are racist are just as likely to be minorities as whites. Therefore, it's wrong to talk about (white) racism in America."

My point is that focusing only white racism is unbalanced, groups like La Raza or the NOI are not exactly positive. I've researched groups like La Raza and I know they're not exactly a laughing matter; they're also unrepentant about what Mexicans in the past have done to Indians.

"Let's focus on racism elsewhere, where brown-skinned people discriminate against each other. And leave us poor, picked-on white Americans alone."

For starters I'm mainly defended Americans in general; if you think it has anything to do with my skin color you're wrong (cute implication btw). And I don't think we should focus on racism in other places, just that we should focus on racism world wide, I've also mentioned ignorance in Europe so clearly I don't have a pro-white bias.

"You conveniently ignore the fact that whites generally have the power in America."

Historically speaking the power's been mostly held by WASPs, you know the people who claim to have founded America despite the fact they're ancestors had more in common with the guys who overthrew the shah of Iran than the founding fathers. Jews, Polish people, Italians and other minorities have a long history of discrimination in this country so it's a tad inaccurate and insensitive to lump them in with WASPs. And yes their have been non-WASPs in power and today ethnic whites do hold power, however compared to the ivey league WASPs, they're a minority.

"It's ridiculous to claim that all Americans are prejudiced in theory when white Americans act upon their prejudices more often."

That's not what I'm arguing, my point is that Americans as a majority are not racist.

"Investigate the statistics on any racial problem in America--e.g., hate crimes, housing discrimination, healthcare access, educational spending, prison sentencing--if you think whites and minorities are equally likely to discriminate against each other."

Except I'm talking racism in America in general; not discrimination.

"You'll find your "everyone's guilty so no one's to blame" presumption is wrong."

Once again not my point.

Stephen said...

"Racism in America is a worthy focus because we're leading the push for a global culture. When we invade a Muslim country based on false premises, that sends one message to the world. When we elect a black president, that sends another message. Our choices and decisions have more impact than, say, those in Russia or Indonesia or Brazil."

I'm not saying American racism shouldn't be covered but we aren't exactly the only world power (ie Britain).

"I've stretched to cover a few topics that aren't about Natives. For instance, the 9/11 attacks, Islam, libertarianism, the Muhammad cartoons published in Denmark, and taxes. I think they're relevant because they relate to my broader theme of examining the American mindset from a multicultural perspective."

Well for starters your page on Islam makes me wonder just how much you know about actual Islamic theology; not just the 'Quran's actually a really peaceful book you' myth. Your piece on taxes ignores the fact that Americans are basically forced to fund terrorism.
You miss the fact that the cartoons are an example of Arabic supremacy and intolerance.

It's not like anyone forced those Arabs to riot; why makes excuses for them? Also there is no single American mindset; there's a world of difference between how an American orthodox Jew sees things and the viewpoint of an American atheist. I suppose you could say there's a dominant American view, but we're too diverse to have a single one. But I'm off topic.

"But I have no intention of trying to do more. This blog already takes up too much of my time. And your constant sniping doesn't help any."

Fair enough I'll drop it.

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