May 20, 2015

Eisenberg's "squaw and chief" bit

Five Racist Ways The New Yorker is Embarrassing Itself

By Aura BogadoFor the "Shouts & Murmurs" humor column in its May 25th issue, The New Yorker presents “Men and Dancing,” a collection of four absurd dialogues written by actor and playwright Jesse Eisenberg. In each dialogue someone is pressuring a man to perform a dance that is part of his job and the man makes every excuse in the book to avoid doing so. For example, a quarterback presses a wide receiver to do a touchdown dance and a royal aide pushes a court jester to dance for the king.

The first dialogue—where an imaginary Native "squaw" insists that her "chief" perform a rain dance to help their starving tribe's crops grow—is deeply troubling.
No Joke: New Yorker Published a Squaw-and-Chief Bit by Jesse EisenbergThere are all sorts of problems with this characterization of Native Americans—and there's a big problem with the use of the word "squaw," which we thought everyone understood was a racial slur. Aura Bogado makes it plain and simple in her Colorlines piece "Five Racist Ways The New Yorker is Embarrassing Itself."

Eisenberg's bit about Natives displays all the enlightenment of a Tintin comic book or an early Popeye cartoon—but those cringe-inducing products of their time were made over 80 years ago. To see The New Yorker print the word "squaw" like it's just another noun, here in the year 2015, is a reminder that even the smartest guys on the newsstand can still be fairly dumb when it comes to Native stereotyping.
Jesse Eisenberg learns zero lessons from Adam Sandler fiasco: “Two Dogs could do a great rain dance”

The actor and frequent New Yorker contributor's Shouts & Murmurs column is being criticized for racist jokes

By Erin Keane
The depths to which the New Yorker might sink when it comes to appeasing celebrities who want to place their creative work in the venerable magazine’s pages, especially the fiction section and humor columns, have yet to be fully plumbed, but sometimes they get it right. Not this week, though—Jesse Eisenberg’s “Men and Dancing” piece in Shouts & Murmurs, four vignettes explaining just how much some men dread dancing in public, is the dreaded double-whammy of barely-funny meets actually offensive. A quarter of his piece traffics heavily—and wholly unnecessarily—in racist stereotypes about Native Americans, and the fact that this scene of a “Squaw” urging an unnamed chief to perform a rain dance even made it to print is either a truly spectacular act of cynical Shouts & Murmurs celebrity column trolling, or total editorial cluelessness.Actor Jesse Eisenberg called out for using the term 'squaw' in The New Yorker

'What year is it @NewYorker? Your racism is circa 1930's,' tweeter Jamie Wilson writes

By Kim Wheeler
Wab Kinew @WabKinew
Hey @NewYorker love your magazine, but hate the fact you used the slur "Squaw" in an attempt at a humour column

Hayden King @Hayden_King
In all the vacuous, ignorant writing on squaws, Chiefs and rain dancing, this is exceptional. Top notch, @NewYorker.
Eisenberg's squaw and chief schtick a teachable moment

'Historical ignorance only goes so far,' says professor Marlene Atleo

By Wawmeesh G. Hamilton
Just because actor Jesse Eisenberg didn`t know the history of the word 'squaw,' doesn't mean he is excused for using it, Marlene Atleo said.Comment:  For more on "squaw," see Cultural Appropriation for Halloween 2014 and Republican: Only Good Indian Is Dead.

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