July 24, 2012

Celebrity wannabes don't know Indians

Got Native in You? Great. Just Try to Avoid Pulling a Justin BieberWhen Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber revealed in Rolling Stone that he believes he’s part Native, he wasn’t breaking new ground for a celebrity—believing or claiming to have Native ancestry is nearly as much as a celebrity-interview cliche as “…but what I really want to do is direct.” However, throwing in the comment that he thinks he could get “free gas” because of his heritage turned a perhaps-interesting detail about him into a confession of ignorance.

Many celebrities with no documented Tribal affiliation have said they’re part Native—and there’s usually little reason to doubt the sincerity of their beliefs. But there’s a difference between having an Indian ancestor and actually knowing anything about Indians. It may seem like obvious advice, but perhaps it should be the first lesson a publicist drills into a client: If you don’t know what you’re talking about, best keep your mouth shut. Here are some celebrities who have managed to discuss the Native roots they believe they possess—without pulling a Bieber.
The article gives a brief summary for each of the following:

Channing Tatum
Vanessa Hudgens
Anthony Kiedis (lead singer, Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Megan Fox
Johnny Depp
Taylor Lautner
Jonas Brothers
Shannon Elizabeth (actress, American Pie)
Tommy Lee Jones

Comment:  The article claims none of these people pulled a "Bieber." But I'd say the remarks of Johnny Depp, Taylor Lautner, and Megan Fox were about as bad.

The article highlights something Depp said that I haven't commented on. Namely, that he may have been the product of rape--presumably a white man raping a Cherokee woman.

Really? As we learned previously, Depp doesn't know whether he's Cherokee, Creek, or what. Now he doesn't know whether his ancestry resulted from a loving decision or a vicious assault? Heck, maybe one of the Cherokee "little people" delivered him from a hole in the ground.

How can he claim to have a Native heritage when he doesn't have the slightest clue what that heritage is? It sounds like he has the same info Elizabeth Warren has, which means none. They're both grasping at straws--i.e., guessing.

For more on Native identity questions, see Is Elizabeth Warren Native? and Khloe Kardashian Thinks She's Native.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Free gas". lolnope, being an Indian isn't the same as being a Saudi prince.