January 05, 2010

Steele:  "Honest Injun on that"

Steele Calls GOP Platform "One Of The Best" Political Documents In 25 Years, "Honest Injun On That"

By Matt FinkelsteinOn Fox News last night, Sean Hannity hosted RNC Chairman Michael Steele to promote the release of Steele's new book, Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda. During the interview, Steele emphatically denied that the GOP needs "more modern" ideas, calling the party's platform "one of the best political documents" produced in the last quarter-century. "Honest Injun on that," he added.

HANNITY: There are those that are saying for the Republican Party to be successful, they've gotta quote be more modern.

STEELE: No, no! But that's what's gotten us into trouble, when we walked away from principle. Our platform is one of the best political documents that's been written in the last 25 years. Honest Injun on that.
Native American Caucus head demands Steele apologize for 'racist' comment

By Michael O'BrienThe Co-Chairman of the Congressional Native American Caucus demanded an apology from RNC Chairman Michael Steele for using a "racist" phrase on national television.

Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), the Democratic co-chairman of the caucus, slammed the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman for having used the phrase "honest Injun" during an appearance on Fox News.

"I am outraged and disgusted that the head of the National Republican Party would make such a derogatory and offensive statement about Native Americans on national television," Kildee said in a statement. "In an effort to cover up Michael Steele’s racist comment, Fox News altered the transcript online to read ‘honest engine’ instead of ‘honest Injun.’"

Steele has come under fire on Tuesday for that statement, as well as predicting that Republicans are unlikely to win back control of Congress this fall.
Comment:  When I saw the first story, I posted it on Facebook with the heading "Republican sensitivity to minorities." I was going to leave it at that until Kildee demanded an apology. Then it became a story worth noting.

Some online sources suggest how bad the phrase is (or isn't):

honest injunThis phrase is considered to be impolite (not politically correct) because injun is a slang term for American Indians.honest injun(used to emphasize the truth of a statement; sometimes considered offensive)Here's what a couple of commenters said:Here is a Congressman whose state is the worst in the nation, rarely says 'boo', and what is he most upset about? Stimulus? No. Greater entitlements? No. An unfunded Health Care Bill? No. National security? No way. He is upset over the language someone used. Something Ahmadinejad said about the Holocaust? Nope. Al Qaeda's latest video threat? Still no. How about mischaracterizations of other Congressional members or the opposition party? Nope. He is outraged by Michael Steele's comment, and the 'ridiculous' comment about indians possibly being 'honest.' OR he is upset about Steele's mispronunciation of 'indian'. Now I am being a bit facetious, but come on! We hardly ever hear anything from the Congressman from Michigan and THIS is what he is barking about? Rep. Dale Kildee needs to start representing his failing state instead of pretending to 'crime-fight' as a 'language cop.'

BY MarkV on 01/05/2010 at 17:33

This is one Indian who sees no harm in this old expression. There are plenty of real slights and serious damages that have been done and are being done to American Indians. Ever hear of the IIM Accounts scandal? Why not focus your outrage on the real damages, the sticks and stones if you will, and let the harmless words blow away in the wind.

BY Cawoonache on 01/05/2010 at 17:34
I wouldn't be as dismissive as these commenters were. I think the GOP doesn't care about minorities and this is more evidence of that. Republicans, even minority ones like Steele, approach problems and solutions from a white-privilege position.

But the commenters have a point. Most issues are more important than this one. As a mild slur, "injun" deserves attention only when it's used in a negative, disparaging way, as in Cowboys Catch an "Injun" and Limbaugh Calls Native Americans "Injuns"—for the 4th Time.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

I learned as a little kid not to say that. Around the time I learned that "gyp" was bad.