October 04, 2009

Protesting mascots = victimhood?!

Trimble:  The Fighting Sioux name should stand

By Charles E. Trimble[T]hose legions of perpetually-offended purveyors of over-sensitivity and grumpy victimhood should just let it go. Go home and allow the students to get back to doing the work for which they and their families have chosen the institution, even despite its nickname (if that had even entered their minds).

And I don’t object to the adjective “Fighting” as part of the name. A descriptive that would mightily offend me would be, let’s say, the “Whining Sioux,” as the actions of some of our super-sensitive relatives might suggest. But Fighting Sioux is very apropos and quite noble.

We are allowing a sulking, sour minority to stop a nation, the Standing Rock, from exercising its sovereignty by conducting a referendum on the subject. And we are allowing them to demean the results of the referendum conducted by the people at Spirit Lake. All because it would embarrass them if the people, the oyate, voted their right to allow the use of the name. Expressed or not, you got their answer: “Who are the oyate, and what do they know?”

If they get their way and the name is jettisoned, it will not be the end of anybody’s world. However, neither will it make a whit of difference in the physical, mental or emotional welfare of our people. Those children of our tribesmen who walk the UND campus will not breathe any freer than before; they will not have been emancipated.

Instead, they will have hammered into place the first shackle to chains that can hold them back, the chains of victimhood. And victimhood is what this is all about. It is not pride, and it is certainly not a show of confidence in the strength of our cultures.
Comment:  Whenever Trimble talks about victimhood, he sounds like an idiot.

Why protest mascots? Why protest any form of stereotyping, discrimination, or racism? Heck, why protest any crime committed against your well-being? If you're being raped or pillaged, lie back and enjoy it. According to Trimble, protesting your treatment means putting on the "chains of victimhood."

I'm amazed when a seemingly educated person can't connect the dots between stereotyping and more concrete forms of mistreatment. Really, how many times to I have to quote people saying they think Indians are savages who no longer exist? If several hundred isn't enough, how about a thousand? Ten thousand?

The key question Trimble can't seem to fathom is: Where do people get these ideas from? From watching Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell on C-SPAN? From seeing Sam Bradford win the Heisman Trophy? From reading a novel by Louise Erdrich or Sherman Alexie?

No, they get these ideas from stereotypes, dummy. They see names and images such as the "Fighting Sioux" and conclude they represent reality. Half-naked Lakota warriors used to roam the Plains, but now they're gone. All that's left is a cartoon of what they once were.

And the consequences, which Trimble also can't fathom? Indians are gone, so no need to respect their tribal sovereignty. Indians are gone, so no need to honor their treaties. Indians are gone, so no need to fund the programs they were supposed to get for their land.


Experts get what Trimble doesn't

You can read several dozen experts implying Trimble doesn't know what he's talking about in The Harm of Native Stereotyping:  Facts and Evidence. Here are a few representative ones:Beginning with Wild West shows and continuing with contemporary movies, television, and literature, the image of Indigenous Peoples has radically shifted from any reference to living people to a field of urban fantasy in which wish fulfillment replaces reality.

Dr. Cornel Pewewardy (Comanche/Kiowa), "Why Educators Can't Ignore Indian Mascots"
I have committed my life to dealing with harmful and negative stereotypes and educating students on my reservation of their culture, traditions, ceremonies and spirituality. As Native people, we experience layer upon layer of stereotypes and images that dehumanize. Eurocentric curriculum and children's literature reinforce stereotypes of the "vanishing Indian," "romantic Indian," "militant Indian" or "drunken Indian." I have seen firsthand how these images, along with poverty or low socioeconomic status, generational trauma and other issues of reservation life contribute to low self-esteem in Native students.

Denise K. Lajimodiere, "VIEWPOINT: Racism at Protest Shames UND," Grand Forks Herald, 4/12/06
Almost every Indian person I know of has been horribly impacted by the imposition of the all-pervasive "categorical" stereotypical classification upon their basic sense of humanity--so much so that I feel quite safe in declaring that all Indian people suffer a unique form of self-esteem deficiency based solely on the widespread mayhem that Indian stereotypes have caused us since before the Boston Tea Party.

Melvin Martin (Lakota), "Identifying Indians with Stereotypes," 2/28/09
The last time Trimble talked about racism, he noted how deeply it had affected him. I thought he might've got a clue from somewhere. But now he's telling today's and tomorrow's Indians to ignore the racism around them. If it bothers you, you have a victim mentality. Toughen up and get over it like a macho Lakota warrior. Real Indians don't cry, they accept pain like a stone-faced mountain. They cross their arms and bear it like a stoic wooden Indian.

For more of Trimble's apologies for America's history of racism, see Trimble on Victimhood and Trimble to Indians:  Get Over It.

Below:  "How! Me mighty Sioux, not crybaby victim. Stereotypes no bother'um me. Me live'um in teepee, hunt'um buffalo...no need'um government handouts."

1 comment:

m. said...

"I'm amazed when a seemingly educated person can't connect the dots between stereotyping and more concrete forms of mistreatment."


See, this is where most of non-Native America gets it's ideas about Indians from: the mainstream media and pop culture, which would include sports mascots. You'd best believe there'd be a big to-do if this team were the 'Fighting Jews', there were Little Black Sambo mascots or mascots based on the Coolie/Chinaman stereotype. But no, we are the last peoples it is okay to hate. Oblivious occupiers do not anguish over the crimes committed against Indigenous people, it's too inconvenient for them to acknowledge the role they play in everyday racism or their ancestors played in genocide/displacement.

Trimble is an ass and a fool.
"However, neither will it make a whit of difference in the physical, mental or emotional welfare of our people. Those children of our tribesmen who walk the UND campus will not breathe any freer than before; they will not have been emancipated."
So according to his logic, all those youth that protested mascots in Los Angeles who were threatened just for showing their faces at school would not be better off had these mascots not been created in the first place. Apparently, safety and self-esteem do not matter one bit to him. Amazing.