In Tiger's Mistress Attacks Indians, reader Kat asked why Sherman Alexie can criticize reservation life but Jaimee Grubbs can't. Here's my answer to that question:
I don't know how Indians would've reacted if Grubbs had offered a legitimate critique of reservation life. But look at what she actually said: "They get their free money, they drink and that's all that matters." She perpetuated stereotypes: that Indians get government handouts, that they're alcoholics, and that they're too primitive or savage to care about anything else.
She coupled this with a general disdain for Indians. She doesn't like her Indian name, which I think she said was "Blue Sky." She was glad to leave the rez. And she won't date Indian men.
She didn't say she won't date the Colville men she knew. She said she won't date any Indian men. All two million-plus of them are unacceptable to her because they're drinkers and fighters.
In short, Grubbs's beliefs are prejudiced at the core. And that's what differentiates her from someone like Alexie. He understands the good and bad of reservation life. He also understands what causes the troubled conditions. He doesn't tar and feather everyone with broad-brush stereotypes. When he addresses problems, he does so with humor and compassion.
If Grubbs had said the same things with warmth and tenderness for her people, I doubt the reaction would've been the same. Instead she scorned them, abandoned them, and kicked them when they were down. Now she's on the media circuit trying to profit from her tale. I think that's what people are reacting to.