May 23, 2010

Dudesons fans don't get it

Jennifer Yuhas Gall continues to write about Cowboys & Findians episode of The Dudesons in America:

Has Anything Really Changed?The problem from the very beginning has been the negative and outrageously false stereotyping of Native Americans. From the earliest days of the penny Western novel, the indigenous people of this country have been portrayed to white America as unintelligent, savage, crude, uncivilized, and (GASP) heathens who have no religion. The 19th century images of savagery and brutality gave way in the mid-20th century to cartoon-like caricatures, where Native Americans were shown as no more than dimwitted buffoons.

I shouldn’t have to sit here and tell you that none of these things are true. A lot of you already know this.

But too many people don’t know. Far too many people haven’t the slightest understanding of what it truly means to be Native American. They know nothing of history, and have instead bought into the lies and revisionism. They know nothing about culture, traditions or spirituality, and instead have believed the distortions and stereotypes. All they have in their heads are lies and propaganda--the propaganda that the media, in all its forms, has helped to perpetuate to this very day.

And if programs like The Dudesons in America continue to poison the airwaves and the minds of everyone who watches it, can we reasonably expect the answers to those questions posed to the random man or woman on the street to be any different another 40 years from now?

Now for those of you who still don’t get it, I have a few more words. I can be fair about it, and acknowledge that you may not personally find the program or its content offensive—that you just don’t get it. But in return, you have to acknowledge that there are in fact many people who do find it offensive. Instead of closing your mind and washing your hands of the matter, look a little bit deeper. Ask yourself why it is that people are offended and outraged. Do you honestly believe that people have nothing better to do than to complain and protest without reason? There’s a world of reason. But it may be that you refuse to see or acknowledge it. Those of you who are still in the “I don’t get it” camp, I’d like you to consider this a personal challenge. Stop for just a moment, and think outside your own little perspective box. It begins with self-education, is followed by empathy, and ultimately, will lead to enlightenment. If enlightenment should lead to outrage, I will consider it a personal victory.

I am not so naive as to believe that racism and the stereotyping of Native Americans will suddenly end with the permanent removal of this offensive Dudesons in America episode. But it’s a damned good start in the right direction.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Dudesons Too "Stoopid" to Matter? and Okay to Stereotype in "Satires"?

Below:  Some people don't understand why this offends Indians. Some people are racists. Coincidence, or...?

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