September 07, 2011

Indians aren't real to TeePee Games

Someone named Carrie forwarded the TeePee Games link to me Monday. Curious about how this issue started, I asked her if someone forwarded it to her or she found it herself. She said found it on the page below while searching for Lady Gaga.

TeePee games supports FFAD

Raise money for The Mercury Phoenix Trust by joining TeePee games and playing your favourite online games–dressed as the fabulous Freddie Mercury!TeePee Games, the rapidly growing discovery platform for social, smartphone and online Flash Games, has announced that it is supporting the Freddie For A Day campaign and its annual fundraising activity to raise money for The Mercury Phoenix Trust. Individuals can help raise money for the MPT through TeePee Games simply by playing games for free at , or via the Facebook app on Monday 5th September, Freddie’s 65th birthday!

Between the hours of 00:00 - 23.59 BST on 5th September 2011, TeePee Games will donate 20% of all its profits to the MPT. Individuals are encouraged to play as many games as they can throughout the day as the more games that are played the more money is raised. To further support the campaign, TeePee Games has asked its lovable mascot Gerry the Gopher to don his very own Freddy Mercury outfit, the famous yellow jacket and bright white trousers.
Comment:  I didn't see Gerry the Gopher anywhere on the TeePee Games website. I'm surprised the company doesn't have a phony Indian mascot.

For Freddie For a Day (FFAD) day, Gerry has a feather and an eyepatch with the TeePee Games logo on it. Okay, that's not too bad. Other than that, Gerry is dressed normally in a jacket, shirt, and pants.

I find this kind of ironic. I wonder what would happen if TeePee's managers dressed up as "flaming gays" to match their "flaming Indian" stereotypes.

Obviously they knew better than to do that. They dressed Gerry in a demure outfit rather than some sort of leather bondage thing. They were sensitive to how gays and Queen fans would perceive them.

But they didn't use this sensitivity when dressing themselves as Indians. Indeed, they took the opposite approach. Unlike their Freddy Mercury image, they went for blatant caricatures of Indians. They even admitted this was their approach. They wanted to look like cartoon Indians.

The question, of course, is why. And the answer, as I've already indicated, is they don't think of Indians as people. Gays are real to them; they're potential buyers of TeePee products. But Indians are either extinct or so remote, in desert hovels without electricity, that they might as well be extinct. They're historical or fantasy figures--i.e., cartoon characters--not modern people who use cellphones or computers.

For more on TeePee Games, see TeePee Games Responds to Criticism and Racist TeePee Games Website. For a related discussion of gay and Native stereotypes, see Battle of the Bands:  Gays vs. Indians.

Below:  Which one is an outrageous caricature of a minority?

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