October 25, 2016

Coppola's Virginia Dare restaurant

Creative take on Native American cooking at Francis Ford Coppola's Werowocomoco

By Carey SweetSome Virginia tribe spokespeople seethed on social media that taking the name for commercial use was an “outrage” and a “disgrace,” especially as the winery location is all about alcohol. On a local level, some critics lamented that the restaurant wasn’t named after a California tribe.

Coppola was annoyed enough by all this that he penned a lengthy article for the San Francisco Chronicle’s opinion pages that fall. He noted that he “shared meals on Indian reservations in Arizona and New Mexico, in private homes and eateries for local people,” and he “formed a council of advisers consisting mainly of Native Americans of different tribes from around the country, to bring authenticity and respect for these traditions.”
A comment from a Facebook posting:At first, I thought this was from The Onion. But no, I looked at the menu, and FFC's restaurant is planning to serve fry bread and salmon sashimi tacos in an apparent reference to a 16th century Virginia colony of English people, who he thinks were somehow "Native American" and, it gets better, ate fry bread centuries before it came into being and...sashimi?? Bizarre and offensive mashup of cultural appropriation.Comment:  Coppola's response seems to support his critics. He's met Indians and eaten in homes around the country? That's why he has an Eastern seaboard restaurant in California with food from the Northwest or the Southwest--not from the Eastern seaboard or California. It sounds like a typical example of pan-Indianism--like "a bizarre and offensive mashup of Indian cultures."

October 11, 2016

Savage Indians on Yale-Dartmouth program

Football programs criticized for racist imagery

Yale apologizes for republishing racist Native American illustrations on football program to mark 100th Dartmouth football game

Yale apologizes for 'dehumanizing' cartoons of Dartmouth mascot

Yale criticized for use of Dartmouth Indian images

ASIMOW: Learn from the past, change the present

Common sense missing from Yale game program

Pedro Martinez's war whoop

Pedro Martinez acts out Native American stereotype after Indians sweep Red Sox, apologizes on Twitter

Pedro Martinez salutes Indians’ sweep of Red Sox with horrible stereotype

I’m Sick Of Left-Wing Politics In My Sports Stories

By Robert PickupMartinez, who is part of the TBS pre- and post-game broadcast, did a Native American war whoop in tribute to the team. Since athletes have compared their competition to battle since forever and Cleveland’s mascot is an Indian, it just makes sense to imitate a war cry after victory.Comment:  It "makes sense to imitate a war cry after victory"...because you think Indians are primitive, warlike savages? Rather than modern people with cellphones and computers? I guess that makes sense...if you're a racist.

October 10, 2016

Fly on Hillary = spirit animal?

A tweet from educator Debbie Reese:In Native American culture, all animals are believed to have totems. When they cross your path unexpectedly, they mean something. So, we looked into what it might have meant that a fly landed on Hillary Clinton's face tonight.Comment:  Reese says CBS News got its info from a New Age website.

I believe CBS has garbled an already garbled claim. The fly on Clinton's face has a totem? What would the fly's totem be...another fly? An eagle? Donald Trump?

The actual claim, I think, is that all people have animal totems. Not that all animals have totems.

Of course, this claim is a false generalization about thousands of Native cultures. It may be true in a few cases--especially in Plains cultures--but I doubt it's widespread. I doubt it applies to everyone even within those cultures.

October 05, 2016

Buffalo God in American Gods comics

AMERICAN GODS Adapted For Comics By DARK HORSE

Comment:  This announcement helpfully includes an image of the figure who's sort of the elder god of the American continent.

A Buffalo God with a Pacific Northwest tattoo and a super-tomahawk? Looks like pan-Indian stereotypes to me.

For more on the subject, see America "Not a Good Country for Gods"?

October 01, 2016

Werewolves excised from Lone Ranger

A Native filmmaker says Disney excised a werewolf plot from Johnny Depp's The Lone Ranger:The tone is bonkers. All the underlying structure of Injun Werewolves is still there... We see Butch Cavendish eat the Lone Ranger's brother's heart, and then the next scene is wacky hijinx with Tonto. Tonto calls Cavendish "Wendigo" all through the film. 200 residents of Tonto's boyhood village were killed by two white men with pistols? No one ran away? They never ran out of bullets? Clearly it was supposed to be a werewolf attack. Helena Bonham Carter's leg was eaten by Cavendish. There are rabbit meat-eating bunny rabbits everywhere. The signs of the excision of the Werewolves are everywhere... and they're typically over the top and unnecessarily violent. They go utterly unexplained, and then are immediately papered over in each case by goofy pratfalls. It's just bizarre. I went in with a truly open mind, and was enjoying it for a while... but then it abruptly got stupid and long and wow was it tedious toward the end. The final action sequence is 30 minutes long, and it's visually amazing... But it comes too late to save a truly confused film.Comment:  Tonto says he's hunting Cavendish because Cavendish is a wendigo--a flesh-eating creature from the northeastern woodlands.

It doens't make sense for a wendigo to be in Texas--the movie's setting. Or in Monument Valley in southern Utah, the movie's actual setting.

It also doesn't make sense for Tonto, supposedly a Comanche Indian, to believe in or care about wendigos. It would be like a Chinese man hunting a Jewish golem. It could happen, but it makes no sense without an elaborate explanation.

I don't know anything about the supposed werewolf subplot. What's left is a villain who's inordinately evil because he's a wendigo--a malevolent spirit in human form. He eats human hearts and massacres whole villages--which isn't much different from your usual mass-murdering bad guy.

September 17, 2016

Pocahontas by Dingo Pictures

Pocahontas (Dingo Pictures)Dingo Pictures bring us their horrid take on Pocahontas but more importantly this is Wabuu’s origin story!

September 16, 2016

September 14, 2016

Apache Gold in Wyatt Earp

Another TV Western that occasionally featured Indians:

Apache Gold
Episode aired 7 March 1961The Clanton gang is selling liquor to the Apaches with Ike and Phin hoping their contact will tell the location of hidden gold rumored to be in a cave but it is causing unrest in the tribe. When Phin is captured, Earp must help free him.

Clarke Indians' "Tribal Family" poster

Girls High School Basketball Team's Poster Is Very Good And Very Bad

By Nick MartinThe poster, taken from the Facebook page of KCCI’s Andy Garman, has attracted anger from Native Americans, who are rightfully calling the poster out for its blunt appropriation of Native American culture. (Sloppy too! The totem pole, war dance, and headdresses mix and match from traditions of widely varying tribes.)

September 12, 2016

Red Rock Tomahawk video game

Game review: Flick'em Up, Red Rock Tomahawk: Don't mess with the Native Americans

By Ryan MorgeneggFlick'em Up is a game all about the pieces. In the box, a gamer gets the added scenery of three forests, a totem pole, a red rock mountain and one tipi. There are five native American figures, two bows, six arrows, a Tomahawk, a Gatling gun and six bullets.Comment:  Tipis, totem poles, and tomahawks in one setting? That's stereotypical.

By the time of the Gatling gun--1861 and after--Natives were using rifles as much as bows and arrows. The whole idea of modern soldiers fighting primitive warriors is stereotypical.

Whitewashing in Doctor Strange

Not Your Asian Ninja: How the Marvel Cinematic Universe Keeps Failing Asian-Americans

White isn’t a neutral color: “Doctor Strange,” Tilda Swinton and the “unwinnable” diversity argument

George Takei gets real about 'cringeworthy' Marvel casting for 'Doctor Strange'

The Director of Doctor Strange Thinks One Asian Character Makes Up for the Movie's Biggest Screw-Up

September 07, 2016

Black nationalist "Washitaw Nation"

Black nationalist group Washitaw Nation distances itself from the Baton Rouge shooter, who had pledged allegiance to it

By Jaweed Kaleem and Jenny JarvieGavin Eugene Long was the killer. The empire was the Washitaw Nation, an "indigenous" black group that claims ownership over vast swaths of the United States and Canada and of which Washington is a top leader.

In May 2015 in Jackson County, Mo., Long filed court papers declaring allegiance to the group, which has been monitored by the FBI and tied to sovereign citizen movements.
Comment:  Another fake Indian tribe.

August 31, 2016

Racist stereotypes in Sausage Party

“Sausage Party”’s race problem: This “equal opportunity offender” is just plain offensive

No matter how well-intentioned, this kind of comedy only really works in a world where opportunity itself is equal

By Nico Lang
Humphrey also pointed to Firewater, a Native American chief played by Bill Hader, who is distressingly reminiscent of the redface caricatures in “Peter Pan.” Like the Indian Chief in the Disney feature, he speaks in “grunts and uses sign language.”

August 30, 2016

Totem Vodka

Totem Vodka and Indigenous Cultural Appropriation

When, if ever, is it acceptable to adopt the cultural icons of an outside group?

By Alexandra Rodney
Totem poles are important symbolic creations of some First Nations families in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. They are symbols of family lineage that serve to document stories or histories of people, communities, or clans. The Totem Vodka bottle and marketing images erases these families while appropriating their symbols.

The bottle stopper is shaped like a Thunderbird, a supernatural bird that causes thunder and lightning according to First Nations mythology. The Thunderbird crest is traditionally carved on the totem poles of people from the Thunderbird clan of the Kwakwaka’wakw nations (on Vancouver Island).

August 27, 2016

The Indians Are Coming in The Beverly Hillbillies

The Indians Are Coming
Episode aired 1 February 1967When Crowfoot Indians come to Beverly Hills to discuss a boundary dispute at the Clampett oil field, Granny prepares for war.

John Wayne on The Beverly HillbilliesThroughout the episode Granny wishes John Wayne were present to help fight the Injuns. He shows up at the very end in a brief cameo appearance.

August 26, 2016

Indians in Laramie

I recently caught one or two episodes of the old Western TV show Laramie. Its attitude toward Natives wasn't bad for the times.

Here are the two episodes that come up when you search for "Laramie TV show Indians."

Wolf Cub
Episode aired 21 November 1961Jess rescues a crippled Blackfoot boy from a scalp hunter. Several of the Blackfoot have escaped the reservation with the Army rounding up most of them. With tensions high Mike and the boy leave putting both into danger from both sides.The Perfect Gift
Episode aired 2 January 1962After saving the life of an Arapaho girl in a fire and helping acquit her in a trial for killing a man, Slim finds her his possession due to Arapaho law. When she won't leave him, he takes her in but soon finds he has feelings for her.

August 20, 2016

Chippewa adoption in The Good Wife

The Good Wife: A Weird Year (5.22)The lawsuit that hangs over Alicia's head: The $6-million suit that's on the periphery of the episode and gets the central story rolling has been a recurring plot point this season. Alicia is being blamed for David Lee's attempted bribery of the Chippewa Nation, which screwed up an adoption. Why? Because Lockhart-Gardner bribed an associate with a partnership to secure his testimony pinning the blame on Alicia. Some of the facts of the case are based on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, in which a couple from South Carolina adopted a child in 2009. Two years later, the child's biological father, a member of the Cherokee Nation, contested the adoption on the grounds that he wasn't properly notified, and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) set guidelines for how parental rights for members of Native-American tribes can be relinquished. In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the relevant sections of the ICWA do not apply when the parent in question never had custody of the child. In 2013, the adoption of "Baby Veronica" was finalized.

July 28, 2016

Cherokee Ed in Mr. Ed

Cherokee EdWhen Ed discovers that he is of Cherokee descent, he refuses to participate in the Pioneer Parade. Unfortunately for Wilbur, he has already promised Carol's Dad that Ed would do it as a favor for him.Comment:  The horse is Cherokee? Wow, that sounds like a huge problem.

I haven't watched the episode, but the odds of Mr. Ed wearing a headdress and talking like Tonto are good.

June 17, 2016

Scalping in V for Vitamins

"Gilligan's Island": V for Vitamins (TV Episode 1966)
Episode aired 14 April 1966The Professor tells his fellow castaways that if they don't find a way to grow more oranges and other fruits on the island, they risk dying from vitamin deficiencies.The story starts with a blatant stereotype:

Gilligan's Island Script
Episode #66, "V for Vitamins"EXT – CLEARING – DAY

Ginger and Skipper are in the clearing. The Skipper has a tablecloth over his front and Ginger is cutting his hair.

SKIPPER
Please, Ginger, not too much off the top!

Ginger
Just a little bit more, Skipper.

SKIPPER
But I believe you're part Indian...you're trying to scalp me!

Ginger
You're a sailor. Sailors should have crew cuts.

SKIPPER
Well I don't mind a crew cut, but you're trying to remove the entire crew!

June 16, 2016

Savage Indians in The Sweepstakes

"Gilligan's Island": The Sweepstakes (TV Episode 1965)
Episode aired 14 October 1965Gilligan wins a million-dollar sweepstakes and is invited to the Howell's country club. After feeling lonely he issues IOUs to the others so they may also attend. He quickly misplaces the wining ticket and they all get evicted.Comment:  In a "Wild West" dream sequence, Prospector Howell and Marshal Gilligan meet sweet, innocent Mary Ann. The following dialogue ensues:GILLIGAN: Keep your hands where I can see 'em.

MARY ANN: Oh, marshal. it's just me.

MARY ANN: Sweet little warm-hearted girl of the golden west me.

GILLIGAN: Why are you crying, Mary Ann?

HOWELL: Will you have a little drink on me?

HOWELL: Would you like a little drink?

MARY ANN: Oh, dare I say it in front of a stranger?

HOWELL: Well, I'm not a stranger.

HOWELL: I'm a friend of your father's.

MARY ANN: Was.

HOWELL: You mean, he passed over?

MARY ANN: Helped by the Apache.

HOWELL: Well, your mother and me, we were kind of friendly.

MARY ANN: Pushed out by the Cherokee.

HOWELL: Your brother, Tom?

MARY ANN: Sioux.

HOWELL: Your sister, Emily?

MARY ANN: Navajo.

HOWELL: Your dear, sweet, innocent little grandmother?

MARY ANN: Shot by the marshal.

GILLIGAN: Well, you can't win 'em all.
The obvious meaning is that Indians are anonymous and interchangeable savages. As if tribes in three widely separated regions took turns surrounding a cabin and picking off settlers one by one.

The dialogue doesn't explicitly say the Indians killed anyone, but it strongly implies it. No one would get the impression that the Indians kindly "helped" the settlers pack up and move to a better location.

It's a typical example of 1960s stereotyping--trying to have it both ways. The writers might have learned enough not to label Indians as bloodthirsty killers and scalpers. But they wanted to use that racist idea, so they cloaked it in veiled language and slipped it in.

June 15, 2016

Savage Indians in The Little Dictator

Another stereotypical episode of Gilligan's Island:

"Gilligan's Island": The Little Dictator (TV Episode 1965)
Episode aired 30 September 1965A Latin American dictator is exiled to the island, and he immediately declares himself dictator of the island, with Gilligan as his puppet leader in training.A video of the episode:

Gilligan's Island The Little Dictator S02E03

You can see Indians at the 21:32 mark.

The setup is that Gilligan is dreaming about being a Latin American dictator. Everyone shows him glimpses of "his" country through a window, including Ginger aka Secret Agent 0036. The scene goes like this:DICTATOR: And I say the country is in great shape.

GINGER: And I say it's in terrible shape. Take a look.

Gilligan looks at her bikini-clad body.

GINGER: Not at me. At the state of the country.

GILLIGAN: Oh.

He looks out as whooping and yelling fill the air. He sees rampaging Indians on horseback, many wearing headdresses, from an old Western movie.

GILLIGAN: That must be the window facing the west.
So Indians = a country in terrible shape. Chaos and destruction. The decline and fall of civilization.

That's stereotypical.

June 14, 2016

Rain dance in Gilligan's Island

Some Native stereotyping from a popular 1960s TV show:

"Gilligan's Island": Water, Water Everywhere (TV Episode 1965)
Episode aired 2 January 1965The castaways desperately try to find a new water source as they have completely exhausted their current water supply.Gilligan’s Island Transcript
Episode #14, “Water, Water Everywhere”EXT. JUNGLE - DAY

Mrs. Howell wears a headband with a feather in it. Her dress looks vaguely native American, but she has accessorized it with a broach and pearls.

MRS HOWELL
I can't understand it, Thurston. All that nonsense about a divining rod to bring water.

MR HOWELL (O.S.)
Yes, I know. Totally unscientific.

MRS HOWELL
Are you ready?

Mr. Howell enters dressed in a Cherokee ceremonial headdress.

MR HOWELL
Yes, any time you are, my dear. One, two, three.

The Howells perform a "rain dance."

HOWELLS
Ha!

Mr. Howell and Mrs. Howell look to the sky.

MR HOWELL
Rain!

Mr. Howell looks at his dry palm and then back up at the sky.

MR HOWELL (cont'd)
You're not listening.

MRS HOWELL
I don't understand it. It worked last year in Yellowstone Park for the Cherokees.


Comment:  I don't remember the line about the Cherokees. The show may have eliminated it during filming.

The fact that it's in the script makes the stereotyping worse. Clearly the writers didn't know the difference between Plains and Cherokee Indians, or anything.

June 08, 2016

Review of Sikumi (On the Ice)

Sikumi (On the Ice) by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean | Short Film

Sikumi (On The Ice)

Sikumi (on the ice)"An Inuit hunter drives his dog team out on the frozen Arctic Ocean in search of seals, but instead, becomes a witness to murder. Winner of the Jury Prize for Short Filmmaking at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival."

Hearing that Sikumi or “On the Ice” had won awards I was very excited to watch this movie. My expectations were really high, what could it be, what could it be. What turned out was a touch disappointing. It’s a nice little movie no doubt, but an award-dinner at Sundance…that can’t be right.
Comment:  I agree with this opinion. I've seen enough Native shorts to say Sikumi is one of the better ones, but the best?

And I believe it won over all films, not just Native films. Best Short Film Shot Under Harsh Conditions, perhaps. But not Best Short Film overall.

For more on Sikumi, see National Distribution for On the Ice and AIFI's 2011 Winners.

June 04, 2016

Review of Grab

Movie Tells Story of Laguna Pueblo’s Grab Day

At Sundance, Tradition Meets Modern World in Billy Luther’s ‘Grab’

SUNDANCE REVIEW: Native Showcase Doc Fails to 'Grab' Audience

Comment:  I don't agree with this review at all. I enjoyed seeing life in the little-known Laguna Pueblo. The ceremony showed us something other than the usual families mired in tragedy or dances in regalia. Shots of a train passing by and animated paper cutouts kept the cinematography fresh.

All in all, I'd say Grab is one of the better Native documentaries I've seen.

May 28, 2016

Persistent stereotype of burial grounds

A posting on the stereotype of Indian burial grounds makes some good points:

'The Darkness,' 'The Shining,' And The Persistent Myth of The "Indian Burial Ground"

Redsploitation Horror has a long tradition in American cinema. Kevin Bacon's new horror flick continues the trend.

By Matt Kim
In truth, these types of stories often frame Native Americans—who rarely appear in horror stories purportedly written about them and their culture—into westernized notions of the supernatural and the afterlife. Ghosts and possessions and the like are more closely associated with European superstitions, while there are simply too many diverse traditions in the indigenous culture to pigeonhole as a unified religion, or set of spiritual practices.And:There is some poetic justice, I imagine, in films which revolve around Native American “curses” destroying the lives of suburban white families. Naive nuclear family units who often overstep their bounds by moving into either a former reservation land, or burial ground, end up incurring the wrath of the vengeful spirits or dormant curse laid down by a people who were themselves laid down by the United States government. There’s an attempt at cultural restitution there, by way of making white American guilt into a literal horror.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Evil Spirits in The Darkness.

May 26, 2016

Review of Cape Horn

Reviews of the graphic novel Cape Horn:

The Most Interesting Comics of the Week

By Rich BarrettCape Horn comes from French writer Christian Perrissin and Italian artist Enea Riboldi, who bathes it in authenticity with beautiful, realistic artwork. His landscapes are lushly illustrated and the characters are distinct and real, giving this the feel of a Hugo Pratt or Milo Manara adventure comic. However, American comic readers should be warned that it's less a rollicking adventure and more of a pensive period drama. There is a very deliberate pace to the story but when big things happen it makes them all the more surprising.The Best Comics of 2014

By Seth T. HahneCape Horn is kind of like Manara's "Indian Summer" minus the probably misogynistic treatment of women by the artist and the rampantly cliched vision of preachers and Native Americans and their activities and predilections. The art is as luscious as Manara's, but it's got story and sense to propel it. There's nothing in Cape Horn to push the astute mature reader to reevaluate history or our place in it (the story functions mostly as grand adventure), but it's so well done that one almost can't help but marvel in admiration. A wholly lovely endeavor.The Native aspects

Review Time! With Cape Horn

By Greg BurgasCape Horn, like so much of fiction, is about power. When you introduce a colonial element to it, it becomes more about cultural power, as the frontier of Tierra del Fuego, like the frontier of the West in the United States and Canada or any frontier, really, is about the clash between “civilization” and “barbarism.” Just because Perrissin sets this in a place unfamiliar to most people doesn’t change the paradigm too much.

The natives in the area, mainly the Yamana, have a choice to make–accommodate the Europeans and try to learn their ways, or resist as fiercely as possible and get killed or die out.
And:Ultimately, Perrissin comes down on the same side as most liberal writers–that the natives would have been better off without the “benefits” of “civilization”–but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t try to show the kindness of people like Bridges, who really do believe they’re working to make the natives’ lives better.

Perrissin offers a macrocosmic version of the “civilizers” versus “savages” idiom, as well, and it puts Cape Horn on a more interesting level than just an adventure story. Without commenting on it too obviously, Perrissin shows the way frontiersmen become marginalized in their turn.
Some background on the Natives of Tierra del Fuego:

Fuegians

Yaghan People

Tierra del Fuego Culture

Rob's review

It's surprising to learn that a "first contact" situation with Indians happened in the late 1800s. I'm used to first contacts happening in the 1600s and 1700s, with tribal independence eliminated by the late 1800s.

But here we have a sad drama unfolding a couple of centuries after it unfolded elsewhere. I guess that's how long it took to settle Tierra del Fuego.

Anyway, Cape Horn followed too many characters to be an unqualified success. Other than that, I agree with the above reviews. It's well worth checking out.

May 23, 2016

Review of The Activist

Review: 'The Activist' suffers from lack of activity

By Gary GoldsteinIt's an intriguing setting—and set-up. But a lack of subtlety in the writing and much of the acting (particularly Circus-Szalewski and Ron Roggé as a pair of good cop/bad cop jailers) mitigate the power of the caged men's plights as well as the movie's intended tension. As the action unfolds almost entirely within the walls of a South Dakota sheriff's substation, the film can't escape a stagy, at times claustrophobic feel.A Story of Becoming Indigenous: A Movie Review of "The Activist" (2013)

By Eric RitskesIn sum: we have a savage Indian warrior and a (dead) Indian princess, the only two Indigenous characters (one dead)--in a film supposedly telling ‘forgotten’ Indigenous history--battling the one bad racist. I won’t spoil the end, in case you enjoy watching White settler colonial dramas masquerading as politically conscious movies, but The Activist is not a movie about Indigenous struggle; rather, it is one that uses the backdrop (and it really is little more than news reports in the background) of the Indigenous struggle at Wounded Knee to mask tired colonial narratives of disappearing Indians and settler replacement through White heroes who are down with the struggle as long as they get to become Indian.A video showing Tonantzin Carmelo as Sacheen Littlefeather.

Rob's review

The good cop and bad cop may have been clichés, but I thought they were the most interesting characters. Certainly more interesting than Marvin, the non-Native activist, and Bud, his Native bud.

As someone who's trying to make my own independent films, I can appreciate a movie set almost entirely in two rooms. But I don't think it succeeds.

In The Activist, Sacheen Littlefeather becomes Anna, who is murdered like Anna Mae Aquash, during the Wounded Knee occupation or the equivalent. This has something to do with the uranium mining also featured in Thunderheart, so the evil Nixon administration wants to declare the rez a nuclear zone or something and take it over.

The conspiracy plot is hard to follow, but the most annoying part is how the government lawyer wants to negotiate with the young white savior Marvin. Because Marvin knows Indians and is a bridge to them, or something.

Moreover, Marvin enlists a pretty blonde lawyer to do his legwork while he's in jail. Because when you're in trouble with the government, a hot babe just out of law school is your best bet.

Meanwhile, Bud (Michael Spears) can only fulminate in the next cell and get kicked around by the racist guard. Once again, Natives are supporting characters in their own story.

The Activist is passable but nothing special. Rob's rating: 7.0 of 10.

May 22, 2016

Lewis and Clark in Saturday Night Live

The May 21 episode of SNL featured another of its comedic classroom experiences. This time, some terrible white actors performed a terrible "educational" skit about Lewis and Clark:



Comment:  In the phony historical "lesson," Lewis and Clark are mostly interested in sleeping with Sacagawea. She isn't opposed to this and at one point does a sexy dance.

The skit within the sketch is definitely racist, with Sacagawea as nothing but a sex object who speaks Tonto talk. The sketch itself is borderline racist as well.

On the one hand, the actors are supposed to be buffonish, so you're not supposed to take them seriously. On the other hand, the teacher encourages them and is moved to tears by their performance. Other than Sasheer Zamata's frowns, no one is really rejecting the lesson.

This leaves viewers unclear about how accurate the lesson is. Obviously Lewis and Clark didn't want to have a ménage à trois with anyone. But was Sacagawea a sexy and savage Indian princess? No, she was a teenage girl with a husband and a baby.

Call it another example of hipster racism. The sketch kind of mocks anti-Indian racism, but also kind of supports it. If you didn't know better, you might swallow some of its points.

Not funny

For fans of SNL, the sketch also was completely unfunny. Whether it was racist or not, it should've been axed for that reason alone.

It's a good bet Fred Armisen had something to do with its creation. He may be SNL's leading purveyor of racist stereotypes in the last decade.

How do stupid things like this sketch get on the air? Because ignorant white people, many of them liberals, control the airwaves.

For more on Saturday Night Live, see Anchor Babies in Saturday Night Live and Peyote, "Firewater" in Saturday Night Live

May 21, 2016

Review of Shades of Hiawatha

Shades of Hiawatha: Staging Indians, Making Americans, 1880-1930 1st Edition

By Alan Trachtenberg"A book of elegance, depth, breadth, nuance and subtlety." --W. Richard West Jr. (Founding Director of the National Museum of the American Indian), The Washington Post

A century ago, U.S. policy aimed to sever the tribal allegiances of Native Americans, limit their ancient liberties, and coercively prepare them for citizenship. At the same time, millions of new immigrants sought their freedom by means of that same citizenship. Alan Trachtenberg argues that the two developments were, inevitably, juxtaposed: Indians and immigrants together preoccupied the public imagination, and together changed the idea of what it meant to be American.

In Shades of Hiawatha, Trachtenberg eloquently suggests that we must re-create America's tribal creation story in new ways if we are to reaffirm its beckoning promise of universal liberty.

From Publishers Weekly
What does it mean to be an American? How was "Americanness" first conceived? In this fascinating study, Trachtenberg (Reading American Photographs) investigates the construction of the "American" by linking the experience of Native Americans in the late 19th century to the experiences of Eastern Europeans in the early 20th century. Ironically, the earliest Americans—the Indians—were first displaced from their own land—making them un-American—and then were offered the opportunity to become Americans by repurchasing that land and conforming to American values such as the ownership of private property. The overly mythologized image of Hiawatha, Trachtenberg argues, crystallizes the ways that American writers and American society made Indians almost invisible. In a similar way, the earliest European immigrants experienced a displacement from their own lands and a requirement to embrace American social and political values in order to become American citizens. In an exceptional final chapter, Trachtenberg juxtaposes the writings of Luther Standing Bear and Hart Crane to show how deeply the idea of being American was contested even in the early 20th century and to call for the inclusion of Native American identity in the ongoing struggle to define what it means to be an American. Although some of these ideas are not new, Trachtenberg's historical depth and lively prose make them extremely vivid.
A review by Paige Raibmon:Trachtenberg's method is to establish something of a taxonomy, holding up a wide array of cultural artifacts for display: poetry, theatre, travelogues, photography, and department store displays to name a few. Many of these were produced by well-known characters from the historical annals of American high culture: Robert Frost, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry James, and Edward Curtis to name a few. Others were produced by figures who will be less familiar to readers: Yehoash, the Russian poet who translated The Song of Hiawatha into Yiddish, and Joseph Kossuth Dixon, who led Indian "expeditions" for the Wanamaker department stores. The book is much more about these non-Indian "stagers" of Indians than about Indians themselves. Trachtenberg's interest lies in the implications of these cultural artifacts for Americanness rather than in their impact on Indian lives.Rob's review

The Shades of Hiawatha title is appropriate. The book is kind of about how Song to Hiawatha filtered into the public consciousness and helped defined who and what was considered American. The six chapters are kind of disjointed, but Trachtenberg tries to link things back to the play and what it represents.

I'm not sure he develops any deep or meaningful thesis--at least not one that I can summarize. But he explores some little-known areas of Native history, including the origins of Song of Hiawatha and the Wanamaker Expeditions. His writing is interesting enough that I give the book an 8.0 of 10, which is good for this kind of material.

May 17, 2016

Cornwallis statue is vandalized

Edward Cornwallis statue vandalized in downtown Halifax

Halifax council discussed this week whether to look into removing his name from city properties

By Cassie Williams
Cornwallis was a British military officer who founded Halifax in 1749 while he was governor of Nova Scotia. He also issued the so-called scalping proclamation the same year, in which he offered a cash bounty to anyone who killed a Mi'kmaq person.

Some have called for all commemorations of the man to be removed from the city. Others who oppose the move say that's akin to rewriting history.
Comment:  For more on Native-oriented monuments, see Artist Defends Scout Billboard and Quixotic Quest for The American.

May 15, 2016

Review of Hollywood's Indians

Hollywood's Indian: The Portrayal of the Native American in FilmOffering both in-depth analyses of specific films and overviews of the industry's output, Hollywood's Indian provides insightful characterizations of the depiction of the Native Americans in film. This updated edition includes a new chapter on Smoke Signals, the groundbreaking independent film written by Sherman Alexie and directed by Chris Eyre. Taken as a whole the essays explore the many ways in which these portrayals have made an impact on our collective cultural life.

Editorial Reviews

"Raises interesting issues and challenges readers to consider the complex realities of American Indian cultures and Indian/non-Indian relations that major motion pictures often fail to communicate." ―American Graduate

"Important and groundbreaking work." ―Bookman News

"Enables readers to construct a cinematic chronology of the Hollywood Indian and to comprehend the larger cultural forces at work interpreting the Indian-white past on screen." ―Choice

"Rollins and O'Connor have skillfully blended a variety of thoughtful viewpoints." ―Chronicles of Oklahoma

"A collection of quality essays, put together by two of the leading experts in this particular topic area." ―Communication Booknotes Quarterly


Comment:  I read Hollywood's Indians and it's a solid academic-style book. Individual essays cover the usual milestones of 20th-century "Native" films: John Ford's movies, Broken Arrow, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, Little Big Man, Pow Wow Highway, Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, Pocahontas, Indian in the Cupboard, and Smoke Signals.

As with most anthologies, some of its essays are more compelling than others. And of course it doesn't address the independent Native filmmaking that's flourished since its 1999 publication date.

All in all, it's a useful but not essential book on Native-themed movies. Rob's rating: 7.0 of 10.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

May 13, 2016

Chief Runs With Paws

When "Chief Runs with Paws" is anything but cuteA description of the figurine on The Hamilton Collection's website reads: "Wearing his majestic ceremonial headdress with pride and casting an all-knowing, green-eyed stare your way, this adorable kitty is the chosen guardian of the spirt world."

Paul says these are just a bunch of buzzwords.

"They're using these words to make it sound magical and mystical and beautiful," she says. "They're buzzwords. They're sell-words to buy people into this idea of Native-ness—which is appropriation and not right."

May 06, 2016

Artist inserts himself in ledger paintings

An odd story about non-Native artist Scott Seekins. Among other things, he does ledger-style paintings and inserts himself into the scenes:

Scott Seekins' Great Sioux Uprising series draws ire from Native community

By Erica RiveraOver the weekend, backlash ignited on the show’s Facebook event page, where the header image, drawn in the style of ledger art, features Seekins in his signature white suit, hands raised. He is standing before a Native man on horseback who wears a headdress and is armed with a bow and arrows. A white soldier lies bleeding from the head on the ground, gun in hand.

In the discussion section of the event page, commenters have accused Seekins of cultural appropriation, calling the exhibition “problematic” and “tone-deaf.” Several people have requested via Facebook, email, and phone that the gallery cancel the show.
Gallery under fire over use of Native American imagery

Seekins says his doppelgänger is bearing witness to history. Others say he's glorifying himself at the expense of his subjects.

A couple of weeks later, the criticism continued:

“This is art about genocide” Native community pushes back against Scott Seekins

I agree with the critics. The paintings already "bear witness" to historical events. Seekins's insertion of himself doesn't improve the message or add value. A modern white guy sees a 150-year-old battle...so what?

May 03, 2016

Natives respond to Clinton's "off the reservation"

Some Native responses to Clinton's "off the reservation" remark:

Mark Charles: Presidential candidates haven't learned from our genocidal past

‘Off the Reservation’–A Teachable Moment

By Suzan Shown HarjoDirector Kevin Gover (Pawnee) of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian posted this on Facebook: "Please, everybody, and especially anyone who works with politicians. Could we get them to stop using this phrase?"

After Trump’s “wild” Indians remark, Gover posted: “See how easily, how casually, the discourse devolves to racist stereotype? Clinton says ‘off the reservation’ and Trump talks about ‘wild’ Indians. It's late in the day for this kind of race talk.”
Plus more analyses of the phrase:

‘Off the Reservation’ Is a Phrase With a Dark Past

Should Saying Someone Is 'Off The Reservation' Be Off-Limits?

Comment:  For more on "off the reservation," see Is "Off the Reservation" Offensive?

UNM seal protests continue

The student protests of the University of New Mexico's seal continue:

Abolish the Racist Univ. of New Mexico Seal

Native American students hold rally, demanding UNM’s seal be abolished

Protesters confront UNM leader over seal

Finally, university officials respond to the controversy:

University president doesn't see seal that excludes Native people as racist

Protest of UNM official seal attracting attention from administrators

Meanwhile, myopic Latinos refuse to acknowledge the indigenous part of their heritage:

Latino students at N.M. University upset over possible revision of Spanish seal

Because having a European or white heritage is better, I guess.

April 29, 2016

California rejects "John Wayne Day"

John Wayne's negative views about tribes resurface in California debate

Was John Wayne Racist? California Democrats Refuse to Honor Film Star Because of White Supremacy Views

By Cristina SilvaAn effort to declare May 26 John Wayne Day in California was defeated in the Assembly Thursday after lawmakers denounced the international movie icon as a racist. Several members said the state shouldn't honor the film star famous for his roles in Hollywood Westerns and war movies because he made racist comments about minority groups and supported the anti-Communist House Un-American Activities Committee and John Birch Society.Comment:  For more on John Wayne, see America Changed with Davy Crockett and "I Thought John Wayne Killed You All."

Clinton's "off the reservation" remark

Hillary Clinton went off-script with an off-the-cuff remark about Indians:

Hillary Clinton’s “Off the Reservation” Comments Raises Eyebrows Among American Indians"I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak," said Clinton.Because she's the presidential frontrunner, reactions came swiftly:

Sanders Supporter Nina Turner: Hillary Used 'Terrible' Term When She Said 'Off the Reservation'

Trump Has Gone 'Off the Reservation,' Clinton Says; Sanders Campaign Calls the Comment 'Disappointing'

An explanation of why the phrase is bad:



Comment:  For more on "off the reservation," see Is "Off the Reservation" Offensive?

April 25, 2016

Webb defends Jackson's genocidal actions

Following up on the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, former senator Jim Webb tried to defend Andrew Jackson.

Jim Webb claims uninformed 'political correctness' used to denigrate Andrew Jackson

By Meteor Blades

Webb's claim:Robert Remini, Jackson’s most prominent biographer, wrote that his intent was to end the increasingly bloody Indian Wars and to protect the Indians from certain annihilation at the hands of an ever-expanding frontier population.The reality:As for Jackson’s alleged desire to protect the Indians from clashes with whites, it should not be forgotten that the forcible cession of millions of acres of Indian land was one of Jackson’s claims to fame. He did it to make space for white settlers throughout the South and for his personal profit in the real estate boom that followed the Indians’ ceding of land at gunpoint.

When the Tennessee River Valley in what is now Alabama was ceded, Jackson and his favored pals took 45,000 acres for themselves. As Steve Innskeep pointed out last year, “Jackson both created and scored in the greatest real estate bubble in the history of the United States up to that time.”

Indians who had allied themselves with Jackson in the so-called Red Stick Creek War were much praised by him, but when they later sought government payment for losses incurred in their support of Jackson, he told the secretary of war that their claims were a “complete tissue of groundless falsehood.”
Comment:  Give Webb a Stereotype of the Month nomination for his ignorance of the definition of genocide, and for minimizing Jackson's genocidal actions. Removing the Indians was about stealing their land and eliminating them, not keeping them from harm.

Republican: Natives "predisposed to alcoholism"

'I Am Very Sorry': House Rep. Apologizes for Comment About Native Americans, Alcoholism

By Simon Moya-SmithA Republican in Oklahoma who made headlines last week when he said Native Americans are "predisposed to alcoholism" emphatically apologized Monday, and said his statement was based on "outdated information."

House Representative Todd Russ made the controversial comment on April 21 during a debate on a proposed expansion of liquor and strong beer sales at grocery and convenience stores in the state.

In an email to ICTMN on Monday, Rep. Russ recalled a torrent of pain and loss alcoholism has caused his family, and as consequence of that he said, "I let my emotions cloud my thoughts and words."

April 20, 2016

Tubman replaces Jackson on $20

The news that the US would place Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill and move Andrew Jackson to the back triggered a variety of responses.

Predictably, racist conservatives cried over the loss of one of their white male icons:

“We need Trump to stop all the PC crap”: Right-wing reaction to the Harriet Tubman $20 bill is (another) new low

Trump on Tubman: "pure political correctness." Trump on Jackson: "tremendous success."

The Best Conservative Reactions To Tubman Bumping Jackson From $20 Bill

Ann Coulter needs to stop: She and the rest of the clueless conservatives need to quit moaning about replacing Jackson with Tubman on $20 bill

Non-racists weigh in

Meanwhile, anyone with a cursory knowledge of history explained why Jackson should be banished:

Andrew Jackson was a slaver, ethnic cleanser, and tyrant. He deserves no place on our money.

Why Andrew Jackson never should have been on the $20 to begin with

Harriet Tubman to Share $20 Bill with President Who Called for Some Abolitionists to 'Atone ... With Their Lives'

Tubman’s In. Jackson’s Out. What’s It Mean?

Stop clinging to the Founding Fathers: The Andrew Jackson/Hamilton/Tubman debate is really about honest history

While others challenged the conservatives' blatant racism:

They only want to honor white men: The pathetic conservative meltdown over the Harriet Tubman $20 bill exposes the right’s petty identity politics

5 Questions for People Who Are Outraged Over Harriet Tubman on our $20 Bill

Natives approve

Natives overwhelming applauded the downgrading of the infamous Indian killer:

Native Americans applaud removing Jackson from $20 bill
4/21

But some wondered why Jackson wasn't paired with a famous Indian chief--since he's perhaps best-known for instigating the Trail of Tears:

A Native American Chief Should Have Replaced Andrew Jackson on the $20

For more on the subject, see Stanford Cancels Bloody Jackson Play and Indians on US Bank Notes.

Lottery ad portrays uninhabited Oregon

Coquille Tribe slams 'Lewis and Clark' campaign for Oregon LotteryThe Coquille Tribe is calling on the Oregon Lottery to stop running a Lewis and Clark-themed advertising campaign.

The spots depict explorers Lewis and Clark, and even an animated bear, "discovering" gaming machines in the wild. Chairwoman Brenda Meade said the ads falsely portray Oregon as a place devoid of tribal people.

"Amid Oregon's natural splendor, they encounter video lottery machines, which are described as 'native' to Oregon," Meade wrote in a a letter on Tuesday. "But this fictional Oregon is land without Indians--an empty wilderness, ripe for economic exploitation, with no competition from indigenous people."
A couple of follow-ups:

Lewis and Clark discovered—video gambling?

Oregon Lottery ad campaign pulled following criticism from Coquille Tribe

April 18, 2016

Pow Wow Fried stereotypes Indians

Bandon's Pow Wow Fried name causes controversy. Should it?

Food truck owner threatened with lawsuit because name could be offensive to Native Americans

By Amy Moss Strong
A woman in Port Orford, who is not Native American, drove by and the name and logo struck her. The logo depicts a child in a Native American headdress and clothing, standing next to a teepee. The words "Pow Wow Fried" are woven into the artwork.

The woman who complained, Sarah Molloy, thought it might be perceived as offensive to Native Americans, so she went on Facebook, found a group for Native Americans and posed her question: "Pow Wow Fried is a food truck run by a white woman who ate fry bread tacos at a pow wow and started her business recently. The name strikes me as not so respectful to natives and her logo seems rather stereotypical."
And:Klein said she only means to honor Native Americans by making delicious food. Though her family's background is European, she spent many years in Reno near the Washoe Tribe and drove school bus for the Washoe County School District. After several years in the district, a Native American friend taught her how to make fry bread.

"What have I done to hurt anyone?" Klein asked. "I'm not making fun of them. It was never my intention to do anything derogatory to Native Americans. I just opened a business and what they are trying to do could put me out of business. It would cost a lot to replace all my signage and flyers."
Comment:  A tiny tot in a headdress is an honor? And not derogatory? Guess again.

Klein learned from the Washoe Tribe of Nevada, but she's "honoring" them with phony symbols from the Great Plains, a thousand miles away. That makes sense only if she stupidly thinks all Indians are the same.

As my comments suggest, I think the artwork is the problem, not the name. If Klein hadn't gone with the stereotypical images, I doubt anyone would care about the name.

Winged monkeys = Indians?

Winged MonkeysAccording to some writers, the Winged Monkeys of Oz represent Native Americans in the West in the late 1800s. Baum himself had clear attitudes toward American Indians and some of his earlier writings about Indians are very similar to his descriptions of the Winged Monkeys found in Oz. These selections included on this page are all from Ritter’s 1997 article about Oz.

When they are introduced in the book, the Winged Monkeys appear as a fierce fighting band that destroy the Scarecrow, damage the Tin Woodman, and capture Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion. Later, when the monkeys are no longer under the control of the Witch and are helping Dorothy and her group, the king monkey explains their origin to Dorothy:

“Once,” began the leader, “we were a free people, living happily in the great forest, flying from tree to tree, eating nuts and fruit, and doing just as we pleased without calling anybody master. Perhaps some of us were rather too full of mischief at times, flying down to pull the tails of the animals that had no wings, chasing birds, and throwing nuts at the people who walked in the forest. But we were careless and happy and full of fun, and enjoyed every minute of the day.”
Another posting sees the analogies differently:

Indian-Hating in “The Wizard of Oz”

By Thomas St. JohnThe Winged Monkeys are the Irish Baum’s satire on the old Northwest Mounted Police, who were modelled on the Irish Constabulary. The scarlet tunic of the Mounties, and the distinctive “pillbox” forage cap with the narrow visor and strap are seen clearly in the color plate in the 1900 first edition of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Villagers across the Dakota territory heartily despised these British police, especially after 1877, when Sitting Bull retreated across the border and into their protection after killing Custer.And:The Wicked Witch of the West is illustrated in the 1900 first edition as a pickaninny, with beribboned, braided pigtails extended comically. Baum repeats the word “brown” in describing her. But this symbol’s real historic depth lies in the earlier Puritans’ confounding of European witches with the equally heathen American Indians.

The orphan Dorothy’s violent removal from Kansas civilization, her search for secret and magical cures for her friends, her capture, enslavement to an evil figure–and the killing of this figure that is forced on her–all these themes Baum takes from the already two hundred year old tradition of the Indian captivity narrative which stoked the fires of Indian-hating and its hope of “redemption through violence.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Indian-Oz Connection.

April 13, 2016

Natives = last category on Jeopardy

A tweet from April 12 that I and many others retweeted:

Retweeted Martie Simmons (@msimmons444):
Last category on @Jeopardy b/c no one knows ‪#‎Indigenous‬ ‪#‎history‬ ‪#‎iblamethehistorybooks‬ https://t.co/Et2ISLm2X3

Someone took her photo of the TV screen and made it into a meme:



Easy questions

A Facebook friend reported on the episode, which I didn't see:I saw that episode. Too bad I was only playing from home.

None of the questions were terribly difficult. I don't remember the exact phrasing of the questions, but I do recall the answers.

One referred to the Trail of Tears (answer: the Cherokee); one referred to the largest US tribe (Navajo); another referred to a eyewitness to an 1876 event (I don't remember if they referred to it as a battle, or more properly as a massacre, but in any case it was Little Bighorn); one referred to and described the equipment used in Native stickball--so I sat there saying stickball, but the answer turned out to be "lacrosse" which annoyed me a bit; and finally a passage from Longfellow's poem, and the answer was Hiawatha.
Good to know.

As usual these days, the Jeopardy questions sound ridiculously easy. You often can boil them down to a couple of words:

1) Tears tribe.
2) Largest tribe.
3) 1876 battle.
4) Stickball.
5) Poem.

The questions aren't tough for the smart contestants the show usually has. What it shows is a sort of public fear: of looking ignorant about a minority. Or worse, of saying something stupid and looking racist. Better to avoid the category altogether.

P.S. Little Bighorn was only a massacre for Custer's troops after they foolishly attacked a camp of 10,000 Indians. Unlike Wounded Knee or Sand Creek, it was a real battle.

For more on the subject, see "Native American Foods" on Jeopardy and "Native American Tribes" on Jeopardy.

April 09, 2016

Trump and his supporters are racists

Donald Trump has dropped the GOP’s mask: Conservatism and racism now officially the same thing

Post-civil rights GOP is our largest white identity group. Maybe we should thank Trump for making it so obvious

By Chauncey DeVega
Political parties are a type of “brand name” that voters associate with a specific set of policies, ideas, personalities and moral values. Consequently, the types of voters who are attracted to a given political party also tells us a great deal about how it is perceived by the public. And in a democracy, the relationship between voters, elected officials and a given political party should ideally be reflected by the types of policies the latter advances in order to both win and stay in power.

By these criteria, the post-civil rights era Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization, one in which conservatism and racism are now one and the same thing.
The GOP’s gross Adam Sandler primary: Donald Trump, penis jokes and the pathetic state of conservatism

Trump's hands. Mitt on his knees. Cuckservatives. What the party's junk obsession says about 2016 Republican Party

By Chauncey DeVega
Donald Trump threatens the Republican Party’s elites because he has unmasked the racism, white supremacy, nativism and xenophobia of the modern GOP. Trump will not be silenced because he and his public have little if any use for racist “dog whistles” in their full-on assault against “political correctness” and “the establishment.”

Trump’s proto fascist right-wing producerism is also a threat to Republican Party orthodoxy. Like the type of “socialism” practiced by the Nazis, Donald Trump wants to ensure that the in-group has access to resources from the State (healthcare, jobs, improved infrastructure) that are denied to the Other. The Republican Party’s elites want to destroy the social safety and government support for most Americans (the white middle and working classes will be given some resources only as a means of leveraging their anxieties against people of color and the poor). Trump offers a different vision: He will maintain the submerged state and other benefits for whites, and those others he identifies as “real Americans” and “deserving,” while unapologetically denying them to those individuals and groups whom the “Trumpeteers” want to dominate and abuse with impunity.
The payback candidate: Trump’s campaign is for conservatives seeking revenge on everyone they think disrespects them

Trump's running to get revenge on everyone who laughed at him, and that's why his supporters identify with him

By Amanda Marcotte
A lot of his support comes from people who see themselves in him: People who believe they—white conservative Christians who shun city life—deserve to be at the center of American life and culture, but look out and see a world where the president is a black man from Chicago, the charts are ruled by Rihanna and Beyoncé, and Lena Dunham is a celebrity.

The modern conservative movement is filled with people who believe they are due deference from the rest of us but are getting mockery instead. The conservative media has stoked this narrative of cultural resentment for decades, too. “Liberal elite” is a common catchphrase on the right. Some might think that term is an economic one, but in reality, it’s a cultural one. The “liberal elite” is mostly composed of people who belong to the middle class: Journalists, college professors, artists, even lawyers, most of whom are not millionaires. Meanwhile, the right absolutely hero worships conservative billionaires like the Waltons, the Kochs, and yes, Donald Trump.

No, the “liberal elite” is a term of cultural resentment, rooted in a thwarted sense of conservative entitlement. It’s backed by this narrative that there once was a time when America was “great” because the culture was controlled by white Christians, but at some point, usually the 1960s, the undesirables—hippies, artists, people of color, secularists, feminists, gay people—started taking over. This sense that something has been stolen and needs to be taken back is the organizing narrative of conservative populism.

Trump is tapping into the same narrative that propelled Richard Nixon into the White House, fueled the “Disco Demolition” night of straight white men burning records associated with said “others,” helped start the Moral Majority and the Christian right, and is the engine that drives right wing talk radio and the relentless rage machine of Fox News to this day. And while it’s trendy, especially amongst those who believe the white working class is one pamphlet on democratic socialism away from leaving the Republicans, to say that it’s based on economics, the fact is these flare-ups aren’t quite as pegged to economic trends as one might think but can quite easily be linked to white conservative anger over cultural moments that remind them they are not the actual owners of American culture. With Obama to leave office soon in triumph, his legitimacy as not just the first black president but one of the greater American presidents secured, the anger is boiling over.
Fear of labeling racists

Hideous, disgusting racists: Let’s call Donald Trump and his supporters exactly what they are

Media wants to call them "economically anxious working-class whites." There's a clearer, more honest name to use

By Chauncey DeVega
Donald Trump’s voters are racists; Donald Trump is a racist. The rise of a dangerous proto-fascist movement has been aided by how too many members of the political chattering class have for too long avoided stating such facts.

Moreover, Conor Friedersdorf’s claim is an example of a very perverse and twisted phenomenon in post-civil rights era America, where to call a white person a “racist” is somehow worse than the harm that racism, white supremacy, and white privilege does to the psychological, material, and physical well-being of black and brown people.

This dynamic has also prevented many in the commentariat from directly describing today’s Republican Party as the United States’ largest white identity organization, one that reflects an ideology where conservatism and racism is one and the same thing.

As I have written about here at Salon and elsewhere, “Trumpism” is not an aberration or outlier, something that is alien to, something outside of, or distant from the Republican Party. The popularity of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential primaries, with his unapologetic racism, bigotry, and nativism, are the uncensored id of the Republican Party
#Notalltrumpvoters: The media’s new big lie lets racist Donald Trump backers off the hook

Trump's fueled by white resentment, racism and nativism. Why does the media mistake that for working-class anxiety?

By Chauncey DeVega
As I explored in an earlier essay here at Salon, Milbank’s caveat is part of a larger pattern among the American commentariat where too many of its members are afraid to publicly (and correctly) label Donald Trump and his supporters as racists.

Why this anxiety? Why are so many members of the chattering class dancing around the clear and obvious truth that Donald Trump’s political movement is largely driven by white racial resentment, overt racism, bigotry and nativism?

Part of this answer lies in how telling the truth about white racism in the post-civil rights era is considered worse than the harm it does to people of color. Moreover, to suggest that a given white person is a racist—or alternatively, that white people as a group either benefit from institutional racism or are active racists—is an indictment of both their personal character and the various myths (meritocracy; American Exceptionalism; individualism; equality, etc.) that the country’s political culture rests upon. Together, these answers form a type of electrified third rail in American political discourse that few members of the chattering classes are willing to stand on. This is a profound failure of moral leadership.

The unwillingness by Milbank, Friedersdorf and others to plainly and directly state that Donald Trump and his supporters are part of a racist political movement is an example of what sociologist Robin DiAngelo has described as “white racial fragility” on a massive scale.
Poll confirms racism

Racists love Trump: This is what they mean by “taking the country back”—yet another poll confirms racial and cultural resentment is driving Donald Trump’s rise

72 percent of Trump supporters said government has gone too far in assisting minority groups

By Sean Illing
A new Quinnipiac poll is the latest in a string of polls to clarify what’s really animating Trump’s campaign. American voters were asked if they believed “America has lost its identity?” The answers from Republicans and Democrats in general are revealing: 79 percent of Republicans agree that America has lost its identity, while only 36 percent of Democrats agree. If nothing else, this is a reminder that the GOP has a race problem, the roots of which are traceable to its adoption of the “Southern Strategy” over forty years ago.

The “highest level of agreement” with this notion that America has lost its identity is expressed by Trump supporters–a staggering 85 percent. 91 percent of Trump voters also say their “beliefs and values are under attack,” again the highest of any candidate. There is a kind of persecution mania operating here. “Many American voters, especially Republicans, are dissatisfied with their own status and the status of the country,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, “but by far the most dissatisfied are Donald Trump’s supporters, who strongly feel that they themselves are under attack.”

Lest you think this isn’t about race, note that the Quinnipiac poll asked respondents if they believe the “government has gone too far in assisting minority groups.” Predictably, 72 percent of Republicans agreed compared to 18 percent of Democrats. Among Trump voters, however, the number was 80 percent. These numbers align with a recent American National Election Study (ANES) and Washington Post/ABC News poll, both of which show that support for Trump is positively correlated with racial animus.

“America has lost its identity” is an ambiguous phrase, but let’s not pretend we don’t know what it means. The people who think America has lost its “identity” are the same people who believe we have to take the country back. Yes, many Trump supporters are suffering from an economy in which they have no place. And there are legitimate concerns about free trade and a corrupt establishment. But what distinguishes the typical Trump is his or her propensity to project their frustration on brown or black people.
And a few weeks later, a Native perspective:'The Good Old Days' Were Only Good for Whites

By Harlan McKosatoThe unspoken mantra among many white people is they long for the days when they, and only they, ruled the roost. Civil rights, Native rights, Gay rights, Women’s rights – dammit, what about White rights? That’s when America was great and we can make America great again, by God. Black lives matter, well white lives matter more. It says so right there in the Holy Scriptures.

The problem with white privilege is that when that’s all you know and you’re comfortable with it; then you’re confronted with an equality movement that you didn’t necessarily see coming, you probably do feel like you are being discriminated against. Trump has tapped into that emotion, although we all know white privilege is not going away anytime soon.
Comment:  For more on Donald Trump, see Conservatives Enraged at Losing Power and Trump's Death Wish Fantasies.