February 04, 2007

Us vs. them Indians

Newcomb:  Anti-Indian rhetoric in the 21st centuryEvery area of Indian country seems to have its own version of the anti-Indian movement. It is a movement that crafts messages by using some of the deepest political concepts and core values of the dominant American society. It is a movement that tries to appeal to an unconscious fear of the "disintegrating" influence of "the other." This approach may be particularly effective these days when an "us vs. them" mentality and the use of terms like "terror" and "national security" are so prevalent in public discourse.

The categories and metaphors used in anti-Indian rhetoric are wrapped in language that reflects a number of values shared by millions of Americans. Terms and phrases such as "One Nation," "equal rights," "liberty," "justice," "equal justice under law" and so forth seem quite normal to the average person in the United States.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Boy, oh boy, you sure can tell that a lawyer wrote this one!
And he even attacks himself with contradicting argumentation as though he were the only person in the room. First, he says that Natives have to be careful not to upset the perceptions of EuroMan and maybe even 'pussyfoot' around some of their anti-Indian rhetoric. Then, he says that we must stand up for our rights to be here, to exist, to operate as tribes that predate America, with pride and solidity. Yay, team! First, he tippy-toed around the subject, then he ran at it like a wide receiver heading for a touchdown. He can't have it both ways!
writerfella's approach always has been that of Will Rogers, Oklahaoma's most famous Native son: be reasonable but if they still don't get it, make fun of them. Like the socialite introduced to Will Rogers at a New York ritzy party who, when Will was referred to as one of the true Americans, said, "Well, it so happens that my family came over on the Mayflower!" And Will said, "Well, I'm happy to make your acquaintance. It so happens that my family met the boat!"
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

It sounds like it was written by an academic, at least. Newcomb's columns are usually pithier than this one.

I'd say he was mostly pussyfooting in this article. I don't see much "stand up and shout" rhetoric.

I favor the approach I ascribed to Wade Wofford: "equal measures of facts and evidence, wit and sarcasm."