By Mark Trahant
Native students organized a protest on Wednesday and the posters were removed.
“The first thing that went through my mind was pure hurt, and then I was angry,” UNM senior Paula Herbert told KOAT in Albuquerque. “I left, and I actually cried in the hallway because it hurt me. My people were represented in a negative light.”
Signs in the native protest said: “Racism is not pro-life” and “We will not be used to further your political purpose.” The Native students did not get into the abortion debate, responding instead about the negative depiction of Native Americans in the posters.
The description above is missing a few things. The fetus is wearing a headband with a single feather. It's resting in a birth control wheel--a container that helps women take the pill daily. The first caption, above "Today, an Indian boy was killed," says, "color the redman gone."
This poster is wrong in so many ways. First, in general:
Next, on the Native elements:
Even if it was meant as a benign way to identify Indians, the headband is stereotypical. Most Indians don't wear such headbands and never did.
I should add that the "killed the Indian way" caption sends a mixed message. Indians were the victims of genocide...but they killed babies in "the Indian way." Well, which is it?
The poster presumes you're sympathetic to the near-extermination of the Indian. But it undercuts it with the fetus in a headband and the various captions. There's an air of mockery here. "Look what happened to the savage Indians with their funny headdresses, silly chants, and murderous practices," the poster seems to say. "If you're not careful, the same thing will happen to fetuses."
The anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life has denied it was behind the poster. But this is what happens when you take an absolutist position. When you're a fanatic, you draw like-minded fanatics, even if you don't agree with them on everything. Until you denounce the hatemongers in your midst, you deserve to be lumped with them.
For more on conservative hate, see The Logical Conclusion of Extremism and Conservative Hatemongers Deny Responsibility.