Another comment on the debate in Valenti: Movies Are Merely Movies:
"The public causes stereotypes, not the media." I love the image of parents telling toddlers on their laps that all Indians were chiefs who lived in teepees. Or hipsters in coffee shops debating whether Indian women are sexpots or "squaws." I love it, but it's comically stupid and absurd.
In reality, of course, the ratio of media impressions to personal conversations about Indians must be something like 1,000 or 10,000 to 1. That's a conservative estimate, I'd say. The actual ratio could be 1 million or 10 million to 1.
For more on the subject, see "What Americans Know ... Comes from Movies" and The Influence of Movies.