November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner in Suburgatory

I watched only the first two episodes of the new sitcom Suburgatory, so I didn't see this. But in the Thanksgiving episode (airdate: 11/23/11), Dallas (Cheryl Hines) apparently hosts a Thanksgiving dinner. In an odd twist, she dresses as a sexy "Indian maiden" while her guests dress as Pilgrims and Indians. Judging by the photo, the faux Indians wear dark wigs with braids, headbands, and clothing resembling buckskins.

Once again, dressing as Indians is akin to performing in blackface. And the typical Thanksgiving feast, like the typical Thanksgiving pageant, misrepresents what happened. The Pilgrims invited only Chief Massasoit. He brought some 90 Wampanoag Indians with him bearing food for the incompetent Pilgrims. So the Wampanoag, all men, outnumbered the white men something like two to one.

So it wasn't a Pilgrim feast with a few Indians as guests. It was a Wampanoag feast with a few Pilgrims as guests. The Thanksgiving story turns the starving welfare recipients into heroes and the millions of Indians who ruled the land into sidekicks.

For more on the subject, see Robotic's "Pilgrims & Indians Theme Party" and Thanksgiving Pageant in New Girl.

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