September 12, 2006

The vicious cycle of stereotyping

500 years of terrorismWhen human beings can be labeled as less than human their deaths become meaningless. This is the apparent belief of the terrorists and the early settlers. By portraying all Indians as murdering savages, rapists, kidnappers and worse, the national media of the day laid the groundwork for Wounded Knee. In article after article urging the government to remove the Indian people by any means from their homelands, the media stood guilty of fomenting acts of terrorism. Similar articles in the media and speeches in the mosques in the Nations of Islam expressed similar views of Americans. This laid the groundwork for 9/11. A lie repeated often enough becomes a fact in the minds of impressionable people. Indians are savages, Americans are infidels and Arabs are heathens. Do you see how this logic works?

Just as the Crusaders believed it was their Christian duty to conquer and kill those Arabs they considered as sub-humans and heathens, so too did America duplicate their misguided logic against the First Americans. The people of the Islamic Nations never forgave nor forgot. The Indian people have largely forgiven, but they have not forgotten. The Christians of the Crusade de-humanized the Arabs, the early Americans de-humanized the Indians and the People of Islam now de-humanize Westerners. It is a vicious cycle that is centuries old.


Anonymous said...

In 1892 there were only 250,000 Natives in all of North America...including Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Canada, the US, and other countries? I always thought that a lot more survived, and that a place like Mexico would have always had many more than 250,000 alone. What is the source of this number?

Anonymous said...

The title and page implies that the chart is of a US population graph, not a North American graph, but I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

Apples and oranges is a pretty good description of it if it turns out that you are comparing the "before" and "after" population of two different geographic areas, which I suspect you might be.

Anonymous said...

All boats and fruits and vegetables aside, checking into the leads given by the book show a comparison "before" and "after" of different regions. I find the "before" 100+ million pre-Columbian figure given for all of the Americas (North and South), and the "less than a million" figure ("after") is given for just the United States.

In Mexico alone, the total population in 1892 was well over 10 million. Most of these were then, as now, relatively pure Native or half/most Native (Mestizo). A conservative estimate would mean over 6 million Natives living in Mexico (just one country of North America) in 1892: 24 times as much as your 1/2 million figure for Natives in all of North America.

None of this should diminish the seriousness of the deaths and genocide. It's just that we shouldn't be so far off when discussing such things, and at least use the same place when discussing population before and after.

Anonymous said...

more info, from

"By the time of the 1900 Mexican Federal Census, 471,439 individuals spoke indigenous languages"

...1900 being very close to 1892, and the 471,439 total population for just one state of North America being close to twice your claimed total for all of North America in 1892.

There is similar information to be found for other Mexican states. Another page on that site,

even refers to the Kiowa, if you are interested.

Rob said...

Back to the issue of stereotyping. Here's a great example of how stereotyping leads to real-world consequences. Indians, Americans, and Iraqis have all been killed because someone thought them evil or "bad" in some way. The killers had these thoughts because of their culture's worldview--its assumptions and beliefs and teachings. These included its stereotyping of "the other."

Good luck to your relatives getting a job when terrorists are trying to kill them. Eliminate the stereotypes and you eliminate the terrorism--along with the hundreds of billions of dollars being redirected out of our economy. Change that and everyone benefits. Then the indigenous people of America and the Middle East can get a job in peace.

Rob said...

P.S. Some links for the indigenous population of Mexico c. 1900:

Rob said...

The 250,000 figure is the low point for the population of Indians in the United States. From what I read, I guesstimate that in 1900, Canada had roughly the same number of Indians (250,000-500,000?) while Mexico had 500,000-1 million.

As for the Jewish death toll in the Holocaust, Wikipedia says:

[T]he evidence given by Holocaust deniers does not stand up to closer scrutiny. In fact, the 1949 World Almanac gives the world Jewish population as 11,266,600. Moreover, it revises its estimate of the World Jewish population in 1939 upwards, to 16,643,120. Thus, according to the 1949 World Almanac the difference between the pre and post war populations is over 5.4 million.