'You chose this as contest finalist?'
By Mary Papenfuss
Gawker suggests a caption that probably very nearly made the cut: "Dang redskins tryin' to steal my Blackberry!" Oh, the magazine probably intended an "ironic commentary on the half-hearted reparations Indians have received ... or something," Chen adds. "But still—it's just dumb."
Comment: Yep, this cartoon is pretty racist, all right. And don't blame the caption. That only adds an extra layer of racism: "The Indians are shooting arrows because they want a casino. They're so violent and warlike they can't get one any other way."
The main racism is implying that today's Indians would try to kill someone for any reason. Whether it's a casino, a Blackberry, or frybread, the implication is wrong. It stereotypes Indians as primitive people of the past. As savages incapable of diplomacy, reason, or calm.
And New Yorker readers are supposedly America's liberal elite. This demonstrates how pervasive Native stereotypes are. Even people who know (or should know) better are okay with Indians shooting arrows. It's like having a white man as president or a marriage between a man and a woman--i.e., something Americans have assumed to be true.
For more on the subject, see Native Comic Books vs. Comic Strips.
P.S. It would be difficult to salvage this racist cartoon, but how about this caption:
"No, no Indians. Just angry white readers trying to make a point in an ironic way."