October 20, 2013

Mascot lovers want to control Indians

The Redsk*ns Moniker Monopolizes on Genocide Committed Against Native Americans

By Danielle MillerNative Americans have been dehumanized since conquistadors coined the term “savage.” Just as the U.S. military dehumanized their enemies with terms like “gooks” and “japs” to justify fighting war, Natives were dehumanized to be red skinned, savage, devil worshippers as justifications for atrocities committed. The U.S. has clung to racist depictions of Native Americans so long it could be argued that these depictions justify cultural imperialism and play out as subconscious control mechanisms against the threat of inherent tribal sovereignty.

Colonizers have committed genocide, stolen land, broken treaties, made Native culture and ceremonies illegal, and now they want to colonize the remaining dignity Natives have left; the culture and identity that they have held on to despite the decimation and destruction caused by whites during imperialism and colonization. When you tell me to just “get over it” you are telling me that you own our image and will force your views upon us despite how disrespectful that representation may be. You might as well be the same as those who attempted to control Natives during assimilation and termination eras. By attempting to control this image you are restricting tribal sovereignty and self-representation, which trivializes our Native culture and interactions in modern discourse.

Even if another Native says they aren’t offended, that shouldn’t vilify me. My opinion has no connection to whether you claim to be offended or not. The ultimate goal of oppressors is to make those who are oppressed become their own instruments of oppression. When certain Natives say only their opinion matters and they support racist imagery, they are unintentionally contributing to lateral oppression and silencing their own people.

I don’t fathom how the representation is as anything but disrespectful and unethical. Erasing a culture, pushing a racial slur and stereotype is not “honoring,” that seems simple to understand. What makes us any less human that we should ask to be respected? Blackface isn’t acceptable so redface shouldn’t be acceptable either.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Indians Don't Fit American Myth and Indians Are Inconvenient to Americans.

Below:  "Indians are comically primitive and savage, like unsupervised children, so we'll break their treaties and take their land."

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