February 11, 2012

Cartoon about "Eskimo baptism"

Speaking of Eskimo stereotypes, here's another example of them:

In addition to the usuals--igloo, parkas, sled dog--the cartoon implies the Inuit are too stupid or ignorant to conduct a baptism. In reality, they'd be the least likely people to freeze a baby, not the most likely. They're much more familiar with Arctic conditions than anyone else.

To deconstruct this "humor," imagine a white father baptizing his baby in a kitchen pot of boiling water, thereby killing the baby. Is that funny? No. Is it conceivable? No. White people are smart enough not to dunk their babies in boiling water. It's not funny to contradict this obvious truism for the sake of a "joke."

The same applies to the "Eskimo" situation. The difference is, we subconsciously think the Inuit may be that stupid and ignorant. In other words, that primitive and savage. They worship polar bears or whales or something, right? How would they know about Christian baptisms?

Well, like everyone else in the Americas, most of them are Christians. Most have lived in the modern world of computers, televisions, and baptisms all their lives. They're no more likely to make this mistake than anyone else.

In short, the cartoon is stereotypical if not racist. As is almost every mass-media portrayal of the Inuit.

For more on the subject, see Eskimos: The Ultimate Aborigines.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What about Eskimo Joe's sports pub in Stillwater, Oklahoma? Have you seen their Tshirts and imagery of the smiling eskimo and dog? Its a very successful and protected business in the same town as Oklahoma State University, a college town?