November 22, 2012

Students hold "anti-Thanksgiving" potluck

‘Anti-Thanksgiving’ potluck sparks controversy on UVA campus

By Oliver DarcyAn “anti-Thanksgiving potluck” planned for Monday night is stirring controversy on the University of Virginia (UVA) campus.

The event, hosted by the American Indian Student Union (AISU), aims to “discuss Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective” over a potluck dinner.

The anti-Thanksgiving celebration will provide a “contrast…with the typical American view of Thanksgiving,” AISU president Katelyn Krause promised an NBC affiliate.

Krause declined an interview with Campus Reform.

Nicole Bailey, Executive-in-Chief of the conservative newspaper, The Virginia Advocate, however, told Campus Reform that she understands the intent of the group’s potluck, but disagrees with this particular event as a means to convey their message.

“They think that by doing events that put down what people understand to be modern American’s realization of the American dream and American story is a way to raise awareness about the less glamorous parts of America’s history,” said Bailey.

“That’s frankly not true,” she added.
Since hundreds of commenters protested this potluck, calling it false, "politically correct," and un-American to question Thanksgiving, I posted the following notes:

The Real ThanksgivingThe Pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but the agricultural expertise of the Indians had produced twenty acres of corn, without which the Pilgrims would have surely perished. The Indians often brought food to the Pilgrims, who came from England ridiculously unprepared to survive and hence relied almost exclusively on handouts from the overly generous Indians--thus making the Pilgrims the western hemisphere's first class of welfare recipients.

Contrary to the fabricated lore of storytellers generations since, no Pilgrims prayed at the meal, and the supposed good cheer and fellowship must have dissipated quickly once the Pilgrims brandished their weaponry in a primitive display of intimidation. What's more, the Pilgrims consumed a good deal of home brew. In fact, each Pilgrim drank at least a half gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even to water. This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford, to comment on his people's "notorious sin," which included their "drunkenness and uncleanliness" and rampant "sodomy."

Contrary to popular mythology the Pilgrims were no friends to the local Indians. They were engaged in a ruthless war of extermination against their hosts, even as they falsely posed as friends. Just days before the alleged Thanksgiving love-fest, a company of Pilgrims led by Myles Standish actively sought to chop off the head of a local chief. They deliberately caused a rivalry between two friendly Indians, pitting one against the other in an attempt to obtain "better intelligence and make them both more diligent." An 11-foot-high wall was erected around the entire settlement for the purpose of keeping the Indians out.

There sure are a lot of racists in this thread. Singing the usual refrain of white supremacists everywhere: You lost, get over it, assimilate, you're lucky the whites won, America is great, love it or leave it, etc.

None of this has much to do with the Native students' right to hold a potluck and examine the myths surrounding Thanksgiving. But it's revealing how many people can barely keep their racist impulses in check.

Drudge to blame

I was vaguely surprised that this posting garnered hundreds of comments, many from people off-campus. The following article explains why this happened.

Drudge Targets Native American Students on Thanksgiving; Follows Similar Move By Mary Bono Mack

By Rob CapricciosoPopular conservative website aggregator Matt Drudge is using Thanksgiving 2012 to target Native American students who want to add their perspectives to the American dialogue on what the holiday signifies to them and their tribes and families.

In a top-of-the page headline, titled “’Anti-Thanksgiving' event sparks controversy on campus...,” posted on November 19, Drudge links to a story published on the conservative website that highlights voices of conservatives who say Native students are wrong for promoting Indian values on Thanksgiving.
And:Many Native American college student groups, tribal organizations, and Indian advocates hold such events yearly around the nation in an effort to remind American society that Indians played an important role in the founding of America, and that Native American perspectives are alive and well.

But Bailey does not see such events as a chance to learn from and about Native Americans; rather, she sees them as an attack on American values.
And:Such attempts to paint American Indian awareness as somehow anti-American are common in American society, but they sometimes backfire, as was the case for U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., who tried to use her Democratic opponent’s participation in a similar pro-Native Thanksgiving event when he was in college in the 1990s against him in their recent race for a California U.S. House seat.

That Democratic challenger, Raul Ruiz, ended up unseating Bono Mack in a very close race where the number of Native American voters in their district likely played a significant role, political analysts say.
And:Tribes and Indian organizations are widely decrying attempts to politicize support for Indian causes as somehow anti-American.

The National Congress of American Indians issued a statement this fall against hateful words used by outgoing U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s staff to mock Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren’s alleged Native ancestry. And the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians lambasted Bono Mack’s political strategy in particular: “[W]e call on Rep. Bono Mack to unequivocally repudiate this attempt to portray standing up for Native Americans as somehow un-American.” Tribal Council Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said in October.

Ignorance is an American value?

Columnist Steven Newcomb notes exactly what "values" people like Bailey are trying to protect:

Fear and Loathing of History on Thanksgiving

By Steven NewcombOn November 19, the Drudge Report linked to a story about a Native student group at the University of Virginia, a group that decided to deal with the Thanksgiving holiday by holding a potluck dinner where students and speakers would discuss “Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective.” Reportedly, Ms. Nicole Bailey, executive-in-chief of the campus newspaper The Virginia Advocate, “stands firm against the plans of the student group.”

According to a report at Indian Country Today Media Network, “Bailey does not see such events as a chance to learn from and about Native Americans; rather, she sees them as an attack on American values. The most likely reason for Ms. Bailey’s attitude is that, like far too many self-proclaimed conservative Americans, she has a life-long and deeply ingrained learning disability when it comes to Indian history.

However, in this instance, when I think about the underlying meaning of “America” and “American values, I find Ms. Bailey’s feeling of an attack to be somewhat understandable. That feeling is the natural result of a psychological condition called denial, and a fear of cognitive dissonance. After all, a truthful discussion of America’s treatment of the originally free and independent nations and peoples of this continent, and of this hemisphere reveals the actual “American values,” not the professed ones. I will elaborate.

The word America is the result of a combination of two Latin terms: ame (love!) and rica (riches and wealth). The result is a strange command: Love riches and wealth! This reveals the deeper and hidden meaning of American values and The American Dream that Ms. Bailey extols. The original American Dream is of riches and wealth to be derived from Indian lands; to realize that dream as God’s “chosen people” all you had to do was get rid of (extirpate) the Indians in the spirit of the Old Testament. This is why their dream of riches and wealth to be derived from our traditional lands and territories is our nightmare.
Comment:  Given that this story has raised "awareness about the less glamorous parts of America’s history," Bailey's "not true" claim is ludicrous. She's an idiot to mistake her opinion for a fact.

And it's funny how many people want to shut down this debate. Their impulse is to censor the historical facts rather than refute them. What the hell are they so scared of, you have to wonder. A worldview based on a fairy tale of white Euro-Christian supremacy is like a child's belief in Santa Claus. Grow up, you little babies.

For more on Thanksgiving, see 43rd National Day of Mourning and Bono Mack:  Pro-Indian = Anti-American.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

I prefer Drudge to any other web site for news, but this is more to its superior design.

Anything else I see has chaotic design, bad fonts, worthless video links all over, and other detractions.

I'd welcome a similarly well designed site that is centrist or even left-wing.

HuffPo is a perfect example of terrible design. I go there, and all I see in my browser is a giant vague headline and half a vast oversized photo.

If I go to Drudge, I find a large photo: but it is complete. I also find 9 descriptive headlines. All in the same space as the "nothing" on HuffPo.