June 21, 2010

Whites fighting racism is racist?!

Apropos of several recent arguments, I posted the following sarcastic comments on Facebook:Whites shouldn't write about Indians. Men shouldn't write about women. Democrats shouldn't write about Republicans. Law-abiding citizens shouldn't write about criminals. Living people shouldn't write about dead people. Humans shouldn't write about animals. Etc.

Really, how could someone today possibly understand Lincoln, Shakespeare, or Jesus? Indeed, it's inconceivable that foreigners could write about America or Jews could write about Christianity. No amount of research can make up for firsthand experience.
Michael, my newest carping critic, attacked this position:Notice no White people are heralded as great Black leaders. White leaders of Black causes are in fact, dis-empowering to Black people.Jennifer Yuhas Gall countered with:Like all the whites who helped with the underground railroad...or all those who marched on Washington with Martin Luther King?Right, Jennifer. Not to mention a century or two of the white-led abolition movement. Or such white politicians such as Earl Warren, Dwight Eisenhower, or Lyndon Johnson.

King and other blacks clearly led the civil rights movement, and whites clearly supported it and helped where they could. Why? Because they passionately thought racism was wrong and wanted America to live up to its ideals. Just as I do.

The debate is on

This led to the following exchange between Mike and Jennifer:Jennifer:  I can't imagine that any non-Native writer, blogger, or activist is seeking to be perceived as a "leader." Non-native allies are only that--allies to an existing cause. That's a problem somehow?

Michael:  It just seems weird to me that Rob personally attacks perceived slights to Native Americans, when there ought to be Native Americans who can better express the reason the stereotype is hurtful and wrong--whose writing Rob could be promoting instead of himself.

Jennifer:  Rob isn't writing about "perceived slights" to NDNs--he's writing about actual offenses--issues and events that the Native community has already expressed outrage about. Now, I've read his work--he isn't claiming to speak for anyone--he's merely adding his voice and contributing to an existing cause--as all activists do.

Burying your head in the sand and saying "it's not my problem/it's not about me/let someone else deal with it" is the creed of a myopic coward. (BTW, I'm not calling you a coward, Michael...it's that type of mindset I'm ranting against.)

Michael:  Yeah. but Rob is attacking people for their stereotypes, which means he's jumping head first into a shade of grey.

Stereotypes exist because of ignorance, not hatred. They are best addressed with education, not personal attacks.

And to attack a stereotype is to suggest you understand the damage it is doing, which no one that is not of the stereotyped ethnicity has any way of really knowing. Respect for other people means to understand they know their experience, they are the authority, not anyone else.

Jennifer:  LOL...it's called empathy, Michael. That, combined with a concerted effort to become knowledgeable about and understanding of the culture(s) that are being stereotyped and misrepresented--it's really not altogether difficult to recognize and separate truth and fact from stereotype and lies.
Mike dives off deep endMichael:  Look, I have empathy. What pisses me off is that Native Americans are fucking impoverished and not thriving personally and economically, I could give a rats ass if Ke$ha is wearing an Indian style headdress--that's not actually hurting anyone in any real way, it's a fashion faux pas, not a bigoted statement.

And frankly the fact that Rob is devoting so much attention to the stereotypes of pop stars, what it accomplishes is the message: this is the worst Native American have to complain about! It's FUCKING RACIST to draw attention away from broken treaties and poverty.

Now shut the fuck up about empathy, empathy makes me ANGRY and INTOLERANT! Complain about pop stars once every Native American peace treaty is respected, Once every native American is economically well off. Not one minute before--because that's a disservice to the genuine serious issues of these people.

And it's true, there are Natives that back Rob up and my point of view is just my own. That fact doesn't alter my point of view. And the problem is empathy, not a lack thereof.

Okay I get emotional over this. I really believe you address media and pop stars on the DL, with letter writing. Because the publicity should stay focused on the most important issues, issues that are black and white that the most agreement can be arrived upon. Broken treaties.

Simply put, I feel Rob is fucking over Native Americans and I don't like it. The Dudesons isn't impoverishing Native Americans, it's actually employing one.
Rob's reply

More destructive criticism from Michael Cooke...sigh.

Must be a crushing blow to your ego to see a white heterosexual male do more to help people than you've done, Mike. You've proved you're only trying to take me down no matter how many Natives like and support my work. Thanks for the confirmation, buddy.

Your personal attacks on my personal attacks ignores the fact that the vast majority of my critiques aren't personal attacks. If you disagree, read my blog and calculate the percentage of such attacks. Put up or shut up, hypocrite.

Several Natives tell you stereotyping is an important issue and you dismiss them. Alas, your ignorance of the harm of stereotyping remains profound. It's pointless to even talk to about this subject until you stop braying like an ass and start studying it.

I don't have to feel prejudice against blacks, Indians, or gays to know it's wrong. My specialty is analyzing why the stereotypes are wrong, not telling people how they should react to them. When it comes to feelings, I can and do report how Natives say they feel. Which is as it should be.

Don't tell us I'm ignoring Native writing on racism and stereotyping and promoting my opinions instead. Given how many Natives I cite and quote, that's a flat-out lie. If you think you have a valid argument, cite and quote the Native writing I should've posted instead of my own. Again, put up or shut up, liar.

Needless to say, you're ignorant of all the times I've discussed broken treaties and poverty. Sometimes I connect them to the pervasive racism and stereotyping in our society--and rightly so--and sometimes I don't. But the claim that I ignore these issues is simply a lie on your part.

A Google search of my site reveals 279 hits for "poverty" and 236 hits for "treaties." If I included variants such as "poor" or "impoverished" and "treaty" or "promise," the totals would be much higher. That doesn't count all the articles I've posted about these issues on PECHANGA.net and elsewhere. And all the times I've discussed these issues in person.

Adding them up, I've easily addressed these issues thousands of times. How many times have you addressed them, you lying sack of hypocrisy? As you've already admitted, zero.

The Dudesons once again

The Dudesons employed one Native actor...that's your argument?! Yeah, and old movies employed one black actor as an Uncle Tom or Aunt Jemima. The success of those old movies encouraged more old movies that employed blacks as Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas.

Wow, what a great success story for blacks. Yep, that was the golden age of African American cinema. "Yeah, you sho' nuff gave us a job, massa. We is eternally grateful for yo' kindness!"

When the situation in 2010 is no more progressive, you think we should be glad about that? Wrong. The alternative to early Uncle Toms wasn't no movies employing blacks. It was movies that blacks wrote, produced, directed, and starred in themselves. You know, the kind of movies that began appearing in the 1960s and 1970s? That burgeoning black cinema could've happened decades earlier if Americans weren't so content with their Uncle Toms.

The Dudesons episode isn't opening doors for Native actors, bright boy. It's opening doors for more offensive minstrel shows that mock Native culture and may employ a token Indian or two. That isn't a step forward, it's about 10 steps backward.

Incredibly, you're advocating the Uncle Tom era of entertainment as a model Indians should emulate. Thanks for taking us back to the 1920s and 1930s, Mike. Do you have any other amazingly stupid ideas you want to share with us?

As for Kesha, the same people who protested the Dudesons in person also e-mailed MTV about the Dudesons and American Idol about Kesha. They're writing letters as well as marching in the streets because the two approaches are complimentary. So activists are doing what you advocate, you twit. The question is why you're stupidly attacking them for it.

Finally, when you claim I attribute every problem to bigotry and not ignorance, that's more evidence of your ignorance. If "ignorance" isn't the most common noun in this blog, it must be high on the list. As I've said before, I consider myself an educator of sorts. Fighting ignorance such as yours is exactly what I do most of the time.

Mike likes racism, dislikes education

Summing it up, you've demonstrated your anti-education bias with your attacks on my efforts. You've yet to shown an iota of understanding of the educator's role. Here, read it again, dumbass. Educate yourself about education so you don't sound so damn stupid:

Educational value of blogging
Rob should fight poverty?!

You gotta love Mike's monstrous ego. I'm employed in the Native media and have been for a decade. Mike is unemployed and knows nothing about Natives. Whatever you think of my efforts, I've devoted tens of thousands of hours to them. Mike's devoted a big fat zero.

Yet the person who's done nothing is lecturing me on how to help Natives?! It's not enough that I've devoted countless hours to the cause. I should've devoted countless more hours and eradicated poverty singlehandedly. Anything short of that and Mike judges me a failure.

Nice trick if you can get away with it, white boy. Too bad you can't. I'm calling you on your do-nothing attitude. You and everyone else who tolerates racism are the problem here, not me.

Mike's complaint is a variation of the complaint we've heard several times recently. Mentioning racism causes racism. Protesting racism causes racism. And now whites who fight racism are racists.

What these complaints have in common is ignorance and apathy about racism. You know, the racism that led to Indians suffering broken treaties and genocide? The racism that leads to hate crimes and hateful attacks today? Yes, that same racism.

These crybabies are defending the racist status quo. They want their white power and privilege to continue, so they denigrate attacks on their position. Mike may not support white supremacists, but I think they'd be happy to support him. "Mike says it's okay to portray blacks as tar-babies and Indians as savages, so he's on our side."

Jennifer won't call Mike a myopic coward, but I will. You're a myopic coward for excusing the racism and stereotyping of minorities, Mike. For doing nothing about the offenses and hoping they'll just fade away. If the label fits, wear it, coward.

For more on the subject, see Rand Paul's Pro-Racist Libertarianism and Teabaggers = Hatemongers.

Below:  White-boy coward Michael Cooke.


dmarks said...

Anyone of any color is as capable of perpetrating racism or being a victim of it is anyone of any color is.

And any thinking person of any color can make valid observations about racism or any other issue.

Anonymous said...

Just because the Dudesons employed 1 actor to play into stereotypes about Native people, he has the right to do so and we should all shut up and be happy because 1 person got paid and their publicist got a chunk of that as well so Michelle will keep defending Saginaw because in the end she gets paid to do so.

GENO said...

I think Micheal Cooke got cooked in this debate. I have a hard time trying to figure out his logical notions on stereotypes of Natives. In fact, he's quite mind boggling. He actually thinks that employing racial stereotypes on Natives ins't hurtful. Sure, not physically, but did he ever thought--PSYCHOLOGICALLY??? After reading this debate, personally I think Micheal is a fool.

GENO said...

On a 2nd thought, he's actually right about Rob. Any true Natives who read Rob's forum here will know that Rob does reinforces stereotypes on Natives while admonishing them. His repeated blathers of "savage", "blood thirsty killers", etc etc. on a false pretense of rehashing stereotypes while reiterating those exact same vitriol, is hypocritical. Two wrongs doesn't make one right.

Rob is a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Rob, first of all you yourself sound like a racist when you posted a photo of Michael and then labeling him as "white-boy coward Michael." Now is that the way a grown supposedly mature man should write??? Shame on you, Rob! And people, get over The Dudesons because everytime you mention it all it does is give them free publicity.

Fellow Warrior said...

Whats this statement GENO makes about "any true natives"?

Who has the magic formula about what defines a "true Native?"

All I hear from Robs critics are petty psycho-analytical nobodies that have not and do not produce valid arguments against his cause or intelligently counter his points about current issues in Indian country whether it is racial stereotypes or blatant policies from the US government.

There is an untapped goldmine of historical blunders that continue today about the American Indian that has crossed continents and infected the globe about Americas first inhabitants nobody seems to address, except Rob.

Given his propensity to be human and make mistakes, he does bring to light important issues most non-Indians are too brain-washed to see the harmful results, or too brain dead to give a damn.

I am a full blooded native veteran who served overseas and an educator who values a sound and productive social community. My service and patriotism to my country did not end with the military, but continues in the contributions and positive example I can give ALL youth and part of that example is to stop lying to the youth about the foundations of this nation.

The reason most young people are not trusting or loyal to their nation is because they know they are being lied to. They learn the truth about America when they get to college and become further disillusioned and apathetic about life in general, some become addicts or even suicidal.

What Rob offers is his own angle and views on issues. You can choose to constructively disagree and move on with the status quo, which is the great American trait of apathy and ignorance, or you can choose to force your brain to work and see things in a different light.

Rob said...

I hope you're joking, Geno. Because the idea that promoting and protesting a stereotype are the same thing is a pathetic joke.

There's no "false pretense" here, so whatever you're claiming, it's wrong. Try again.

MTV has already broadcast the Dudesons episode, Anonymous. I don't particularly care if people continue watching the series. The point is to rebuke MTV and the rest of Hollywood so they don't do anything like this again.

Thanks for the kind words, Fellow Warrior. I'm glad someone gets what I'm doing here. You keep fighting the good fight and so will I.

dmarks said...

The one thing that really stood out was the claim that Rob used

repeated blathers of "savage", "blood thirsty killers"

against Natives.

I've never seen him use these againt Natives in any way.