October 17, 2010

Rob = gatekeeper for Chief Illiniwek?!

The Facebook debate I recorded in Students Learn from Chief Illiniwek?! also led to the following exchange. An acquaintance challenged Ivan Dozier, the Cherokee who's playing Chief Illiniwek, and then challenged me:Certainly, the CN frowns upon, and has cracked down on those like Dozier who continue to perpetuate stereotypes not only about American Indians in general, but Cherokees in particular. I will share this with my colleagues at the tribe and let them decide how they want to address the issue. In the meantime, Rob, to what tribe do you belong?I'm a pure WASP, Suzette. I thought you knew that.

Victor must've hired me for my good looks or sparkling personality. It wasn't because I'm an Indian. ;-)Uh huh. Right, I was under that impression. I was just wondering who appointed you guardian and gatekeeper of all things Native, since you're non-Indian. Must've been Victor. Well that was mighty generous of him.I appointed myself--except I'm not claiming to be any kind of guardian or gatekeeper. I didn't invent the Chief Illiniwek controversy and I'm not leading the battle. Rather, I'm chiming in after Natives have spent years fighting the stereotypical mascot. I'm doing what I do at PECHANGA.net, except in more detail: disseminating the news and educating the public.

Are you saying a non-Indian shouldn't care about an arguably racist stereotype? That it's solely an "Indian thing"? I thought the whole point of mascot protests was to get the mainstream (white) society to care about the issue.

If you check my postings, you'll find I frequently post about prejudice against blacks, Latinos, women, gays, and Muslims--none of which apply to me personally. Do you think that's wrong? Should I stick to "white male heterosexual" issues and ignore the problems facing minorities?

That isn't going to happen, but I'd love to hear an argument for it. Really, should I be myopic, self-centered, and care only about "my own" people? Make a case for this position and I'll consider it.


Suzette didn't answer--presumably because she couldn't. I guess she's tacitly admitting she was wrong. Oh, well...better luck with your arguments next time, friend.

For more on the subject, see Rob = Moral Police?! and Rob Unqualified to Discuss Stereotypes?!

Below:  Not my place to criticize racist mascots? Says who? Who appointed anyone to judge my right to judge things? If someone's in charge of authorizing Native criticism, I must've missed it.


dmarks said...

There's a word for it when someone claims that you are disqualified for speaking out on issues in account of your race. The word is "racist".

Burt said...

I applaud those whom step out of their own race to suppport another. I would hope that the non-African Americans that stood alongside of Martin Luther King Jr., were not all black and that leveling racism to where it belongs shows the world that we can all fight on the same side.

There were many non-natives that showed support, ie.,Marlon Brando, Dick Gregory, Peter Matthieson, Robert Redford and Peter Fonda, and continue to show support for indigenous causes and that it is completely acceptable to not always be the "expert" of the battle and that the battle being a continuing "learning process" should be a good thing and not a petty bickering person that claims to "know it all". I do not get this coming from Rob. He has a right to voice his opinion and on some occasions he does ASKS the questions and want feedback!

To put these issues out there is very important and necessary.

I recently saw a film called, "Older Than America" with Georgina Ligntning making her directorial/writing debut.
Although there were many things about the film I did not like, she addresses a very important issue with the history of Indian boarding schools in the US.

It is also healthy and important that we all grant each other healthy debate and constructive ideas as opposed to negativity and name-calling, that element only pulls the issue and the argument down to tantrums and stupidity.

We can agree to disagree, but if there is something legitimate to learn, a wise man changes his mind, a fool never does.