November 15, 2010

Global Gaming Expo 2010 (Day 1)

Not much to report today. Drove to Victor Rocha's house Sunday night. After a big breakfast Monday, Victor and his mother and I drove to Las Vegas.

A couple of highlights or lowlights of the trip: 1) A van labeled "Old White Man Mobile Service." 2) A long-haul truck labeled "Navajo" with an Indian maiden's head wearing a headband with a feather.

Someone blogged about this image, which I saw only for a second:


By ElleAs I stared at that image, I wondered why in the world the company portrayed a Navajo woman with blue eyes. It occured to me later that it is for the same reasons PoC are encouraged to take on, or prized for being born with, "European" features IRL.

In theory, such features bring us closer to a standard of beauty that most people of European descent can't even achieve. They make us "stand out," "more beautiful," "different."

But I wasn't thinking of any of those descriptors as that truck rolled by me. I was thinking, "How sad." It isn't enough that Navajo Trucking appropriated names and images of a people to "represent" their company. They altered those images to conform to a certain aesthetic, perpetuating a long-standing pattern of trying to own and control the bodies of WoC and how our bodies will be represented.
But someone defended this misappropriation:In response to your post to the Navajo trucking image, the image of the woman on the side of the truck is authentic and though the eyes are a little color enhanced, her eyes are in fact blue. The image is not a "representation" of the company, it is a picture of the company owner's daughter. The company's name in every way is appropriate, for the fact that the family is of Navajo descent. And the choice that they made to proudly display their daughter as an image on their trucks is a decision of their own, and in no way is "sad" and is not at all an attempt to conform to any standard of beauty.My response to that:

Being of Navajo descent doesn't make you a Navajo. Moreover, the headband, feather, braids, and choker have nothing to do with the Navajo. They're pure stereotypes and offensive to many Natives.

Back to the trip

In Vegas, we dropped off Victor's mother at Harrah's, then headed to the MGM Grand. We arrived at 5 pm and checked into our room.

I called my brother, who recently moved to Las Vegas. He picked me up and drove me to his new home. I had dinner with his family and played a couple of Wii games with the kids. While he put them to bed, my sister-in-law drove me back to the hotel. And that was that.

For more on the subject, see The Facts About Indian Gaming.

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