May 21, 2010

Cartoon:  Natives are best strippers

Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations nails another stereotypical item:

"The sexiest rain dance ever":  Cyanide and Happiness cartoon

It took me a minute to even get the joke in this cartoon. Let's break it down:

We all know all Indians do rain dances, right? (riiiight)

And high roller strip club patrons "make it rain" by throwing money up in the air so it falls down like rain on the stripper.

Therefore, it's funny, get it?

When they dance, it's making it rain (cause they're Native), but instead of rain, it's money (cause they're a stripper)!

ZOMG so funny.

And all the stereotypes managed to be jam packed in one little cartoon (caution: sarcasm ahead):

  • The lovely warbonnet. since we all know ALL Natives wear those (especially the women, duh).

  • The rain dance. I mean, at least for me anyway, I can't even bust a move outside without running the risk of starting a thunderstorm! It's a real problem. No outdoor wedding for me.

  • The tomahawk. Cause we know Natives are war-like people that like to scalp teh whitez (watch me as I war whoop! Awooo!)

  • The casinos. Cause we ALL are super rich and make lots and lots of untaxed money! And we steal it all from you!

    And on a serious note (/sarcasm):

  • The bikini and stripper theme generally, cause Native women haven't been sexualized enough throughout history. Makes me so mad.

    Don't you dare get on my case about "it's a comic, it's just a joke, it's satire"--it's not. Images like these are what create the false stereotypes to which Native people are expected to ascribe. Because if all of the world thinks that Indians wear headdresses, carry tomahawks, do rain dances, or own casinos; it erases our current existence as a diverse group of contemporary people living contemporary lives and trivializes the continued struggles of Native peoples. Just because a tribe has a casino doesn't mean everything is all better after 500+ years of mistreatment and historical trauma.
  • Some comments on Facebook:Wow, that cartoon is offensive on so many levels. Thanks for pointing it out.


    When do we get to the funny part? :(

    Wow...just, wow.

    Yes I got the joke and No I did not find it remotely funny.

    Unfortunately you left out "It's edgy, you're just humorless and overly sensitive, that's why you don't get it" in your list of excuses people will make for this. "Edgy" and "ironic" seem to be the new politically correct terms for "racist," "sexist," "misogynist," "homophobic," etc.
    Comment:  Stick figures are appropriate here since that's all Indians are to most people: one-dimensional cartoon characters.

    Good point about the tomahawk. I think of it as just another weapons and tool, but it's associated with scalping in the public's mind. Whenever a stereotypical image includes a tomahawk, it's an extra hint about Indian savagery.

    And of course Adrienne's key point is right on. "Images like these are what create the false stereotypes" People believe what they see because...well, seeing is believing.

    If you see a thousand images of Indians in headdresses, you may not think that every Indian wears a headdress. But you won't think that no Indians wear headdresses except on special ceremonial occasions. You'll think, "Even if many Indians don't wear headdresses, some do. Not all, but maybe 5% or 10% or 20% of them."

    "Edgy" = "racist"

    The last Facebook comment is especially astute. Yes, "edgy" and "ironic" are today's code words for "racist," "sexist," and so forth. If people admit their racism, say they're doing it intentionally, claim it's some sort of statement, then that excuses them.

    And gullible idiots eat it up. "These people are famous," they say to themselves. "They're on TV. They told us they didn't mean any harm. They just thought the racist stereotypes were funny.

    "We believe them because we like racist stereotypes too. We prefer to laugh at minorities rather than learn about them. All that tragedy they've gone through is a downer. It's much easier to blame them for being savage and uncivilized than to do something about their problems."

    For more on the subject, see Okay to Stereotype in "Satires"? and Native Comic Strips vs. Comic Books.


    Anonymous said...

    Usually, these types of inane racist stereotypes perpetrated on Natives comes from the smaller insignificant segments of the Caucasian race. Its not really the generalizations or perception from the majority of White folks. Most White people I come across already know that Natives in moderns times do not wear headdrsses or feathers unless its at the powwows. I have yet to come across an ignorant White idiot who would walk up to me and say something moronic like:
    "Are you indian? If so, where is your feathers?"
    A child may say, but children naturally do not talk to strangers.
    Instead, the frequently asked questions by them is--"What tribe are you from?" or "Are you Navajo?"(Since I live in AZ). These querries to me are not offensive. Just curiousities that may lead to a conversation of some sort. Maybe a chance boo them as in educating them a little bit about something associated with being a Native. That's the goal of mine if such curiously interested White folk shall question me. To me, it can be fun. Its a chance to eliminate some racial stereotypes on White folks who chit-chat with me. And today I just did with a White woman who found young Native men as attractive.


    Anonymous said...

    It's more like "zomgz so funniezzz!!11! roflcoptar

    I noticed the horrible drawing style. Whoever did it should switch to sprites. Or bust up their dominant hand with a hammer.

    I find it weird, since women in plains tribes (because there are no other kinds of Indians) traditionally dressed very modestly (not Iran modestly, but what we would consider modesty), while men dressed as the weather required.

    "Edgy". Someone I know once said "Sarah Silverman is all 'nigger, kike, I'm so edgy'."

    Re: white women's opinions of ndn men vs. white men's opinions of ndn women, don't you know? It's the 21st century. White women are just as capable of sexualizing brown folk as white men. And white men can sexualize brown men and white women can sexualize brown women. And don't ask me to get started on group sex. (Which the guy in the "kinky Indian sex" article would probably assure us was some great plains ritual.)