I do not see how you can condemn celebrities, sports mascots and have this comic book critique towards what is and is not, racist towards natives in that area, yet condemn other well known personalities for their ignorance, but make exception racial remarks from national leaders that are supposed to stand for all Americans rights?
Think about it. Everyone in the media and on TV cable are consistently demonized for racist remarks towards blacks, jews and latinos and natives, but congressional leaders commit a minor offense which is documented and (yawn) played down as nothing in the scheme of things?
I guess you walk around with a pocket sized gauge for racism in each pocket, one for comic books, one for political leaders and another for media personalities?
According to my pocket gauge, phrases such as "too many chiefs," "off the reservation," and "low man on the totem pole," are relatively minor offenses. Terms such as "savages," "redskins," and "cannibals" are relatively major offenses. It has little or nothing to do with who says them or where they appear.
Why do I deem those phrases "relatively minor offenses"? Because they're using Indians in a non-Indian context. They aren't saying much if anything about Indians. In other words, they aren't attacks on Indians.
Indeed, I had to stretch to find a reason why someone might consider "too many chiefs" a slur. That was my made-up opinion, not a commonly held belief.
All offenses equally bad?
If you think we should treat every offense as equally bad, I disagree. This hypersensitivity is exactly what causes many people to scorn Native activists. When everything Indians like is "sacred" and everything they don't like is "offensive," it becomes hard to take them seriously.
I often take examples of racism and stereotyping more seriously than Indians do. They often laugh these things off and say they don't matter compared to political and economic issues. Proving the point, I didn't see any follow-up on this story among hundreds of Indian colleagues. They didn't seem to consider it a major offense worth a slew of protests.
The GOP issued an apology the next day:
GOP leaders apologize for 'not enough Indians' line
"It was brought to our attention that a phrase included in the budget materials we presented today were offensive to Native Americans and should not have been used," they said. "In describing the need for reducing the number of managers in the state system 'too many chiefs and not enough Indians' was used and should not have been. It was an unintentional mistake, but insensitive nonetheless and will not be repeated. We apologize to Native Americans and anyone else who rightly takes offense."
If you think the offense is that serious, Anonymous, what do you propose to do about it? The MTV Dudesons protest went on for months because many Indians deemed it a serious issue and joined in. What do you suggest in this case? A letter-writing or Facebook campaign? A public march or demonstration? Or what?
Since you think this is a major problem, feel free to organize such a response. Let us know how it goes. I'm guessing you'll have a hard time finding followers because no one deems it that serious.
You're welcome to your opinion about how serious a problem this is, of course. But you're sadly mistaken if you think I'm being inconsistent. I constantly judge whether offenses are major or minor, and this is no exception. When a public figure says Indians should stop mooching off the government or convert to Christianity, you may be sure I'll protest loudly.
For more on the subject, see Dean Martin's Not Enough Indians.