In response I posted this innocent query:
I wonder where Native stereotypes came from if not from old movies. I guess they spontaneously burst out of thin air?
This led to the following debate with her and others:
There's this thing call the general public, or "main stream society." Wild west shows? Museum? Magazines, Picture books, etc. Oh but wait, movies have been around before man kind so you're right... first there was movie then man.
From Wild West Shows, from George Catlin, from Museums...and the public...
In addition Edward Curtis "staged" a lot of his photos of Natives yet wouldn't even do the decency to share their real names.
"The public" isn't an answer. People aren't born with knowledge of Indians. They get it from somewhere. The question is where.
Wild West shows were forerunners to Western movies. They stereotyped people in the exactly the same way--as whooping savages on the warpath. Indeed, their panoramic spectacles were similar to the big-screen experience. It's absurd to argue that one kind of phony show could influence beliefs but not the other.
Besides, few people have seen Wild West shows, so what's caused the stereotypes since the early 1900s? Why didn't they die out with the Wild West shows?
Museums? What museums? That must be a joke, since only a tiny fraction of Americans visit museums.
Magazines? What magazines? Another funny joke. The US magazine readership is small compared to US movie and TV audiences.
Besides, magazines and picture books are forms of media. Glad you agree with me that media is the problem. The only question is why you'll point to some forms of media but not others.
Edward Curtis photos are another form of media, thanks. Amazing that you think still photos would have an effect but not moving pictures. Explain to me why that is. I'd love to hear how one can affect public perceptions but not the other.
Toys are the source?
I don't think I've seen a museum or curator listed as a source for a Native-themed drama. Museums certainly weren't a source for the Dudesons. And the point is that Americans don't visit museums, they watch movies and TV shows. These shows are conveying and perpetuating stereotypes even if the stereotypes originate somewhere else.
Toys? There was a huge outburst when McDonald's gave away a Custer toy with its Happy Meals in South Dakota. And another huge outburst at the King Philip's War game in New England, including a street rally in Providence. So you're flatly wrong about that.
Besides, people protest in proportion to the offense, and the Dudesons episode was the most offensive display of racism in recent memory. It's more deserving of protests than any toy I know of.
From toys on up...to stereotypical movies and TV shows like Cowboys & Findians. If that's what you mean, I agree.
The Valenti argument
Jack Valenti as a source for movie criticism...hysterical. Why don't you quote John Wayne too while you're at it?
If the choice is between non-Native movie apologist Jack Valenti and noted Native director Chris Eyre, I'll go with Eyre:
Heck, Stepin Fetchit and Aunt Jemima were merely Stepin Fetchit and Aunt Jemima. Minstrel shows were merely minstrel shows. Cross burnings were merely cross burnings. Etc.
So much for Valenti's childish defense of movies. We could apply it to every other form of media and "prove" that none of them have ever affected anyone's perceptions. We'd arrive at the absurd position that stereotypes can't exist because no form of media can convey them.
Still not clear why you're indicting every form of media but the most obvious one: the silver screen. I guess it's because you work in the industry. You're afraid to bite the hand that feeds you.
Fortunately, I don't face the same moral compromises. I call 'em like I see 'em. Repeat: The Dudesons episode was the most offensive display of racism in recent memory. Anyone who defends it deserves the "Uncle Tomahawk" label.
Shining Elk responds
You are so stuck on the word stereotype--stereotype is just another word for DISCRIMINATION And seriously, like you can relate to anything we as Indians have experienced...as it relates to stereotypes and discrimination? Oh but wait, I'm sorry, you DO know what it's like to be discriminated against as an Indian by main stream society because you read about in a book or two and EVERYBODY knows how tight you are with your books and how everything that is written is the WORD. Just like the history books in school taught us the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I forget how brilliant you are with your books and all?!?!? Your ignorance slays me and your weird need to feel like you have the right to speak on matters like you know what you are talking about first hand perpetuates the ignorant stereotype that you fall into.
"Stereotype is just another word for discrimination"...that explains why some of us are protesting the Dudesons' stereotypes. It doesn't explain why you're defending them. I guess you don't mind discrimination any more than you mind stereotyping?
And...is that it? Thanks for proving you don't have a shred of an argument. You couldn't touch any of my claims, so you insulted me instead. A classic case of blaming the messenger for the message.
Or did you get a teenager to write your response for you? I can't tell since it sounds so juvenile. Books, education...ooh, scary! Really, your junior-high level of "debate" is sadly lacking.
Why don't you call MTV and ask them to give you, Saginaw Grant, and the Dudesons a humanitarian award? You know, for all you've done to promote accurate depictions of Indians in Hollywood? I'm sure they'd be willing to congratulate you for your apology on their behalf.
Yeah, movies and TV are harmless, parents are to blame...great. You couldn't have done better if they'd paid you to shill for them. You keep doing what you do best, Michelle...PR flacking for those who need it. Leave the reporting and analyzing to the rest of us.
Let's close with a few Native writers and thinkers who understand the problem better than you do. You know, the