Dousing the Pocahottie Stereotype
By Dwanna L. Robertson
Larry Andrews, the VP of Sales for Club Sun, gives a glaring example of microaggression mentality. Andrews complained to the local TV station about people becoming offended and accused people of just looking for things to “stir the pot.” Andrews argues that people should look for more positive things so that the holiday season will be better. In other words, people are just overly sensitive and looking for things to be negative about.
Andrews dismisses our feelings or experiences by claiming the company’s actions were innocent. When Natives speak out or speak up against innuendos and slights or mascots, we're often told we're being too sensitive or it was just a joke. In other words, we're always trying to make some big deal out of nothing. Microaggressions are often unintentional, but they still have real consequences.
David Arnett, the marketing director for Club Sun, explained to a local TV station that he’s “Native American” and “proud of my heritage and skin tone.” The ad was meant to be “simply a play” on Arnett’s own sexy color. But the picture was not of Arnett or even a man. Instead, it was the typical “Pocahottie”—a stereotype of a sexualized Indian maiden. Normalized racism comes in the form of stereotypes about hyper-sexualized Native women. Arnett might not know that this image originated with Columbus’s Second Voyage and how dangerous it continues to be for Native women.