September 25, 2012

"Eskimo Susie" in Saturday Night Live

The 2012 season finale of Saturday Night Live (airdate: 5/19/12) had a mention of Natives. In a skit, failed theater actress Mindy Grayson (Kristen Wiig) appeared on the game show Secret Word. When she blurted out a secret word, she claimed she "knew to guess it." She continued:Just like I knew I wasn’t gonna win the Tony for "Eskimo Susie and the Igloo Crew." The New York Post said, "The only way is could be called a hit is if you put an s in front of the h!"

Here is the big number, hit it! "Eskimo Susie and the igloo crew, chewing on blubber, why do we live here?"
Comment:  So "Eskimos" live in igloos, chew on blubber, and live in the Arctic for no good reason? I guess they should move to someplace like Death Valley, which is just as intemperate but firmly ensconced in the United States?

These comments are obviously stereotypical. The Inuit live in igloos the way the Lakota live in teepees and white men live in log cabins. Which is to say, not at all, except in rare situations.

Everyone knows that white men no longer live in log cabins. But no one seems to know that the Inuit live in houses just like everyone else. Skits like this reinforce the stereotypical belief that "everyone knows": that the Inuit and other Natives are primitive people of the past.

For more on Eskimos, see Stereotypical Inuk Adoption Poster and Cartoon About "Eskimo Baptism."

No comments: