September 23, 2014

Deconstructing the Daily Show encounter

Adrienne Keene deconstructs the Washington Post's biased framed of the Daily Show confrontation reported in Redskins Fans Can't Take the Heat:

White tears and aggressive Indians: Native activists on the Daily Show

Keene quotes the original article and then responds:The encounter at a Dupont Circle hotel was so tense that an Alexandria fan said she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police. She has told “The Daily Show” to leave her out of the segment but doesn’t know whether the producers will comply.Here’s the hook for the article–that one of the fan’s “left in tears” and “felt so threatened she later called the police.” So as the reader, we’re already on her side. Nobody wants a nice white lady to cry! I mean, she called the cops! That MUST mean the Natives were soooo mean to her! Shall we go on?“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,”Is this a quotation from one of the Native activists about how Racial Slurs fans constantly mock our culture at games? Sorry, no, it’s from the really oppressed fan. Won’t someone think of the white people? (that was an alternate title to this post, btw)said Kelli O’Dell, 56, a former teacher who lives in Alexandria and doesn’t watch the show regularly. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”Ok, pause. I do feel bad for Kelli, that she was put in a position without her consent where she was forced to defend a position that she deeply feels is right, only to be told over and over again that it is wrong. Welcome to every time that Native people open their mouth about mascot issues. Though, (this is me being genuine now) confronting your own privilege is hard and scary, and it’s not easy to have to do it on national TV.

But to say you “felt in danger?” Of what? That one of the Native artists, comedians, journalists, educators, or lawyers sitting in front of you was going to physically attack you? Wow. Just, wow. No savage Indian stereotypes here…
Later in the article, more from O'Dell:“I said to him: ‘This is not how adults behave. This is not anything I signed up for.’ Tears were running down my face. I was shaking,” O’Dell said. “I told him to tear up my contract. He said, ‘I don’t know if I can do that.’”She was trapped, “this is not how adults behave”…tears, shaking. This actually describes exactly how I felt after a panel I did in AZ where I had to defend my work to a white audience, including several white males who got in my face after the panel, one pointing his finger in my face, telling me I was wrong, denying my doctorate had any value, saying mascots were “not an issue.” The difference? This is my identity we are talking about. The very core of my being. My people, my ancestors, my heart, my work. This is the pain I, and other activists, go through daily in this fight. Ms. O’Dell? She was crying and shaking because folks wouldn’t let her defend a mascot of a sports team. This is not the same thing, at all.Two days later, O’Dell said she called D.C. police and tried to submit a police report, but authorities told her no crime had been committed.LOL at “no crime had been committed.” This act, to me, says the most of the privilege and power involved in this than any other part of the story. If we’ve learned anything in the murder of Mike Brown, or any of the other young, unarmed, men of color shot by police forces in the last few years, and continuing issues with stop and frisk and police brutality, it is that police in the US exist to protect and serve whiteness. People of color would never, in a million years, believe that calling the police after being confronted and harassed in this manner would make any difference. Because this type of harassment is something that happens every. single. day for people of color, often by the police themselves. I say this in the most non-snarky way possible: only a white person would think that police intervention could help in this situation.Keene's conclusion:As I always say, you ask me why representations matter. They matter because in 2014 a panel of Native lawyers, artists, journalists, and activists, with several advanced degrees and decades of experience working with and in our communities, are still framed as aggressors, violent, confrontational, angry, and yes, implicitly savage. You can’t tell me that it’s not all connected. Our identities are erased and replaced with the stereotypes you see every weekend on uniforms at FedEX field.

But one final note: We have every right to be angry. We have every right to be aggressive. Society often wants us to confront racism the “right” way, which is the way that makes white folks feel the least uncomfortable. But we need to be loud, we need to make our voices heard. These are our identities and futures on the line. Respectability politics be damned.
And a comment from one of Keene's followers:It's ironic how often they tote the "thin skin, over sensitive" rhetoric in regards to people decrying acts of racism. It seems to me they quickly fall apart when they are personally confronted over their racism. I wonder how many times this woman has told a Native Aamerican they are being oversensitive about the mascot, and the moment she actually meets Native Americans in person to tell her how they feel she straight up breaks out in tears and runs away like spoiled brat preteen and even CALLS THE COPS. She is like the poster child of white privilege.

More reactions

Local Redskins fan says he was duped by "Daily Show"

By Tom RobinsonAccording to a Washington Post story, Maurice Hawkins, identified as a 43-year-old sales consultant from “Hampton Roads, Va.,” agreed to be interviewed in Washington, D.C. by “The Daily Show’s” Jason Jones. After the interviews, however, and despite allegedly being told there would be no face-to-face meeting between the fans and activists, a “group” of Native Americans walked into the room.

Included was the lead plaintiff in a trademark protection case that went against the team this year, Amanda Blackhorse.

The fans were accused of backing a racist mascot and endured other verbal abuse, according to a female fan from Alexandria.

“Going up against Amanda Blackhorse?" Hawkins was quoted as saying. "It’s like playing football and they’re going to have (Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III). I am just an average fan. These are activists who have media training and talking points.”
Media training? No. Blackhorse was simply better than you because the facts were on her side.

Fan Showdown With Native Americans

By Matt Essert[M]ore importantly, though these fans felt attacked, they are supporters of a racist team name and mascot, and they should be ready and willing to defend their views to the very people their racism hurts. It's one thing to try to ignore the racism in the comfort of your own home watching your team play once a week, but it's an entirely different, and more real, situation when you're actually being confronted by the very people you continuously attack with your ignorant and hateful words. This team name debate has been around for long enough that those who still support this name should have given their views some very serious thought. You can keep telling yourself you're just "honoring Native Americans," but the truth of the matter is that you're not, and it shouldn't take a group of Native Americas staring you in the face to realize that.Another column wasn't a response to the Daily Show, but it suggests how desperate the NFL is for good news.

Could ditching ‘Redskins’ take heat off the NFL?

By Jonathan CapehartWhat the NFL needs right now more than anything is something so mind-blowing that it changes the relentless and deserved negative narrative about the league and its haphazard handling of players embroiled in personal and legal troubles. All that’s required is for Dan Snyder to change the name of his football team, the Washington “Redskins.”

Snyder has been adamant about not changing the offensive name. Last year, he told USA Today, “We will never change the name of the team.” When ESPN asked him this month why not, he gave a laughable answer. “The name of our team is the name of our team,” Snyder said. “It represents honor. It represents pride. It represents respect.” No, it doesn’t. The team’s name is a slur against Native Americans.

That’s why my colleagues on The Post editorial board and I wrote last month, “[W]hile we wait for the National Football League to catch up with thoughtful opinion and common decency, we have decided that, except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves.” That’s why Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is seeking to strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status. “This is not about team tradition,” she said at a news conference Tuesday. “This is about right and wrong.” And that’s why Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation was able to slam the football league as “showing commercial and moral arrogance, and a blatant lack of respect for those being negatively impacted.”

With one decision, Snyder could reverse some of the commercial and moral arrogance the NFL has placed on ample display. No doubt, it would be a highly cynical move. The name change would be big news that would bump off the front pages, for a few days at least, the domestic violence and child abuse charges facing Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Jonathan Dwyer and Greg Hardy. But the long-term impact would benefit the Washington team and the league—both their respective bottom lines and their reputations.

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