9255 Sunset Blvd. Suite 1040
Los Angeles, CA 90069
On December 4, Larry the Cable Guy told a joke using the word "squaw" followed by an intensely negative description on The Tonight Show. Has our country taken a giant step backward with this sudden rash of racism and hateful spewing by such celebrities as Michael Richards, Mel Gibson and now Larry the Cable Guy?
Celebrities are role models; their words travel around the globe and their fame depends on the support of the public. Comments made by well known, long established stars such as Michael Richards and Mel Gibson are astonishing in that they attack the very people who make their careers possible. Let's hope that Larry the Cable Guy makes a fast and sincere apology to Native Americans, who up until now have been a source of support for Larry.
The word "squaw" was derived by the early European traders from an Algonquin word that described women's genitalia and was used to refer to prostitutes. Its misuse has followed American Indian women throughout history and the meaning has evolved into common usage. Its meaning, however, has never escaped American Indian women who have always found it offensive. Larry the Cable Guy proved its prevalence in being used in a derogatory manner by accompanying the word squaw with the slang word "skank."
According to an article by Karen Hill and Linda Artichoke in "The Cherokee One Feather," "Native women are the most battered, most stalked, most murdered group of women in America" and that a Department of Justice report on violence "states the perpetrators of violence against Native American women are not Native 70 percent of the time."
Changing Winds Advocacy Center
"What do you call xxx?"
"The Squaw Skank Redemption."
I thought I reported on this incident or a similar one last year. But I can't find it in my blog, so I guess not. Maybe I was going to report on it but forgot.
For more on "squaw," see Vintage Indian Valentines and "The Squaw's Appeal" in Belle Magazine. For more on The Tonight Show, see Columbus Joke on Tonight Show and Immmigration Joke on Tonight Show.