June 10, 2014

Jena Malone sings Indian Giver

Somebody Tell Jena Malone 'Indian Giver' Is a Racist TermActress and musician Jena Malone (as Jena Malone and The Shoe) has released a preview clip of her single for the celebrity-watching site JustJared, and it's the sort of cultural fumble likely to land her in quite a bit of trouble. She has entitled the song "Indian Giver."

As Crushable put it, the title is "a phrase she really should have Googled." Malone's most recent film work of note includes Sucker Punch, the TV miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, and a recurring role in the Hunger Games movies.

ICTMN's own Vincent Schilling wrote (in "What or Who Is an Indian Giver? A History of the Offensive Term") that the phrase dates back at least a century and a half, and is tied to the idea that the Indians encountered by Lewis and Clark and other exploers/invaders were unfair barterers. Really? We recall someone getting an unbeatable deal--you might call it a steal--on the island of Mannahatta and more than a few broken treaties and forced relocations. It's hard to think of a less accurate generalization, really.

In using the blatantly racist term without hesitation, Malone joins the ranks of Matt Lauer, Kris Jenner, Rush Limbaugh, and the 1910 Fruitgum Company.
Comment:  For more on "Indian giver," see Origin of "Indian Giver" and Limbaugh Calls Warren "Squaw Indian Giver."

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