Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2011 19:40:46 -0400
Dear Ms. Jenner,
As you well know by now, our community and even before you made the tasteless and thoughtless "Indian Giver" comment, are disappointed to say the least with your ignorance and cavalier manner in such public forums with regard to our community.
None of our community members spend their entire days on every single ignorant person in this country, can you imagine for a moment if we did? We'd have no lives and no money to put food on the table, however, this is definitely a teachable moment as I posted on your daughter Kourtney's official page for her awful Live DWTS display of "leather and feather" costume of not just herself, but also of a toddler, her son, your grandchild. I can only imagine your response if someone was making racial and ignorant commentary and public displays that reflected the blood that ran through the veins of your family or any member or your family's ancestry, what your response would be, especially with all the air time at your disposal. What a shame.
Kourtney's personal blog comment "Hi dolls. Please don’t forget to watch Rob tonight on Dancing with the Stars at 8PM on ABC. It’s a special Halloween episode! I’ll be there, Halloween costume and all! Pocahontas is in the building!!"
A family of people in this case, specifically two persons, who very publicly on National television in one week, in the very month that is supposed to be a teaching and learning month that is National Native American Heritage month (November) are in a "bubble" of ignorance, especially ridiculous since you are surrounded by so many people of color and your children and late ex-husband are of Armenian descent.
I can guarantee, based on your own show, that I actually used to watch up through the wedding no less (and am kicking myself for it now) and your family being so "open", with Kim in the beginning of divorce proceedings this week and everything that's going on, you wouldn't be as calm or as classy as our community has responded thus far to this.
At the very least, since you are on the air nearly 24/7 right now and our children, families, etc. can't get away from Kardashian images even when we want to, a real, genuine, public apology is in order, with some in depth explanation as to how your family could possibly be so out of touch given your past and present reality. This is a sooner rather than later, immediate action suggestion. As my experience in PR isn't just because I felt like doing it one day...it's been over 15 years in the making, with high honors and a degree, a family in entertainment and broadcasting from birth, this one isn't going to just "go away".
Just a couple of examples that it won't:
There are many more, even and especially from the African American and especially the hip hop community as well, but I've spent enough time on this, you are going to do or not do whatever you wish. It is your choice, as doing greater things for OUR community, is mine.
Date: 11/04/2011 06:56 AM
To: "Tara J. Ryan"
Subject: Re: This week's events, some thoughts to ponder
Hi Tara..thank you very much for the very well written note re my careless remarks yesterday on GMA...I am truly sorry if I offended anyone with something I said and I certainly had no intention of hurting or offending anyone...I am probably the least judgmental person you will ever meet, and never would make fun of anyone, of any race....I was asked a question on the spot and because of my dry sarcastic personality I was apparently trying to find a bit of levity in a really tough situation. I was on a book tour in nyc that was booked several months ago and never expected to be thrust into the media storm that occurred but nevertheless would do anything for my kids. obviously not an ideal situation and I'm sorry that careless remark came out of my mouth...I grew up in the 60's and in school it was a silly think kids would say if you took back a gift etc and I'm sure kids never gave it a second thought as to the kind of pain it could cause...but I get it and profusely apologize...I also feel so bad that you take offense of my daughter and grandson and their costumes...I think you can look at something real negative, or the glass half full..I always choose the glass half full because its so much more productive. Kourtney loves fashion and I assure you its a compliment that she is inspired by the indian community and the amazing native style...my grandson wears moccasins almost every day because she likes the way they look...I would look at that at a nod and smile rather than she is trying to poke fun...just another way of looking at it...I am saddened to hear that you might be one of those people who believe everything you read about my daughters decision to separate from her husband. Think about it...obviously something must have happened to have her make this type of decision. I'm sorry you are disappointed but maybe take a step back and use common sense and not judge someone else unless you are walking in their shoes...Just trying to do my best...God Bless you! And thanks for the email..Kris
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
Ryan reflects on the exchange:
Disgusted and considering the comments made by Ms. Kris Jenner using the phrase "Indian Giver" in reference to Kim not giving back the ring on National Live Broadcast television, then making no public statement that she made any kind of mistake or had any remorse or apology for it, on Thursday, November 3, 2011 I emailed Kris directly to suggest that she do exactly that, and quickly (full emails are below), as it resonates to leave a comment like that just hanging out there in the wide public arena for all to digest and not apologizing just further just solidifying her total lack of knowledge or consideration for the weight of her words on our community, especially our impressionable youth. She responded that the glass should just be seen as "half full" (full comment below).
Kris' comments about Kourtney Kardashian
In the same email, since I was making direct contact, I chose to also broach the subject of Kourtney's appearance, again, on National Live Television on Monday, October 31, 2011 in a "Pocahontas" "costume" and her references to it, as something that she may re-consider doing in the future and use it as a "teachable moment" to try and move forward with more cultural sensitivity for our community, from our Elders through most importantly, our teens and others who may have watched her show. These type of people, ones who aren't exactly fully aware of the resonating affect of their statements and actions, don't have to be perfect, but this set of statements and actions in one week was very telling, especially after receiving her response, dashed on from her Blackberry on Friday morning, November 4, 2011 at 6:56am EST without a thought or care for writing them out, further showing that with her so called "media savvy" how little she truly thinks of our community.
She responded regarding Kourtney and Mason's "costumes" and Kourtney's subsequent postings on her website, etc. (literally passing the ignorance from mother to daughter (Kourtney), and then Kourtney to her son), that just because Kourtney has so much "fashion sense" that her choices should dictate how myself and my community feels about such a "costume" and take it as a nod and a smile, essentially, a compliment. This clearly indicates that she sees nothing wrong with the statements she made, and her daughter's actions, and in fact believes because it's members of her family doing and saying these things that we should somehow be honored.
As you know, with all the posts on Facebook, in Blogs, emails, video responses posted on YouTube calling for her to get educated and publicly apologize (though clearly, as stated below, she wouldn't mean it) made by our community members, that we as a community, do not feel honored.
Though I am normally business only, especially publicly, I feel it's time to make an exception. There are some times when silence is no longer "Golden".
Tara J. Ryan
Tijer Lily Co
A Native American Arts and Entertainment Company
"Glass half full"? There's no positive side to these chief and princess stereotypes. I haven't heard a single Indian say, "Wow, it's great that the Kardashians are falsifying and trivializing our history."
And Kourtney "is inspired by the Indian community"? If the Kardashians know anything other than what a stereotypical chief or maiden looks like, I'd be surprised. If Indians inspire you, try learning something about them. Then try sharing your knowledge rather than ignorance.
For more on the subject, see Sophie Turner's "Poca-Hotness" and Whites Defend "Right" to Be Racist.
Below: Khloe Kardashian in a headdress.