January 17, 2014

Alternatives to "Got land?" shirt

Michelle Tittler seems to be the driving force behind the opposition to the "Got land?" Thank an Indian" apparel. In my posting on the subject, I wondered what kind of shirt she'd approve.

There's no need to speculate further. In the debate she launched on her End Race Based Law page in Facebook, her first comment was this:IMAGINE T-SHIRTS THAT SAID 'Got money? thank a white person"

this has got to go.
You are going to get that racist sweater out of your school.

You are going to make sure that NO child has to learn this bullying abusive racism from the natives.

How dare you!

This is enough now from their racist bullying dialogue.

Michele Tittler
My response:

"Thank a white person"? I think you mean "Thank a Canadian," since Canadian is a multicultural and multiethnic country. Indians as a group did give up their land, so the girl's shirt is accurate. Your proposed shirt isn't, since Canadians, not white people, paid for the land with money.

Thank whites?

Perhaps realizing her initial alternative sounded racist, Tittler tried again:

I don't think this is any better. True, it doesn't set up whites as the alternative to Indians. But it still blames Indians as a whole for their own problems.

Alas, every line in this proposed shirt is stupid or wrong or both. Let's see how:

  • Never paid for it? Never earned it? The first occupant of a place doesn't have to pay anyone since there was no previous owner. When humans spread into Europe and Asia for the first time, they also didn't pay anyone.

    Did the US pay anyone before it set up a base in Antarctica or landed on the moon? Why not? Because no one was there, dummy.

    Similarly, earning the land implies working with or for the previous owners. If there were no previous owners, it wouldn't have been possible to earn anything from them.

    In short, that's how reality works. Unless there's a prior agreement, the first person to find something gets it. Duhhh.

  • Never built anything on it? Not true, but more important, so what? Owning and developing land are two separate things. There's no requirement that land owners must develop their land.

  • Never contributed to others? You mean other than keeping the first colonists from dying of cold and hunger? Or fighting the Americans in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 alongside British Canadians?

    More important, "contributing to others" also isn't a requirement for owning land. Millions of landowners in the US and Canada do nothing on their property except live. Their land contributes nothing to other people.

  • "Stole it"? Uh, from whom? The animals?

    See previous answers about paying for and earning the land.

  • Even if the arguments are based on multiethnic Canada, the overall effect of these assertions is racist. Even if Tittler somehow managed to speak for Canadians of every color, she's still spewing venom at Indians and only Indians. That's discriminatory and therefore racist.

    Got education?

    There there are people who chimed in with alternatives such as "Got education? Thank a Canadian" or "Got money? Thank a Canadian." Let's use the first of these as an example.

    For starters, these people mean Western education, not education. Indians were well-educated about their own lives and environments. That's why they had to help the pitiful colonists who couldn't survive in America.

    Western education became necessary only when Euro-Americans conquered the Indians and stole their land. If the settlers had obeyed the treaties they signed, Natives might've managed for centuries without needing or wanting Western education.

    Assuming Western education is necessary now, Indians would've adapted the way all cultures do when they encounter other cultures. Both sides would've learned from the other and the sum would've been greater than the parts.

    The key point is that it would've been a mutual exchange of ideas between equals. The Indians would've traded resources for the white man's knowledge and vice versa. Canadians wouldn't have needed to give the Indians "free schools," which is undoubtedly what Tittler and company hate.

    All that was short-circuited, again, by the Euro-American conquest of the Indians and theft of their land. I don't know about Canada, but in the US, every one of the 400 broken treaties was an illegal act of piracy. If Indians still owned a third or whatever of the continent, you can bet they'd be exchanging education, jobs, technology, and so forth on an equal basis.

    All clear? For more on colonization, see:

    White democracy depends on exterminating Indians
    The #1 Thanksgiving myth
    Murphy: Natives dismiss Canada's generosity
    Black colonist excuses "Redskins," genocide
    Places Europeans actually discovered

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Got Canada? Thank a Mohawk
    Thank a Mi'kmaq
    Thank a Shawnee
    Thank a Metis
    Thank the First Nations who fought for,
    and built this country