November 29, 2014

Indians, blacks are America's "others"

A blogger makes the case for how Native stereotyping relates to shootings, violence, and terrorism:

Ferguson, #ChangeTheName, and White Supremacy Entangled

By Miguel GarciaBoth the movement to fight against offensive native mascotry and the murder of yet another unarmed young black man are connected through “othering” and the dehumanization of people of color. “Othering” can be defined as the concept of creating and maintaining a difference of division between one group of people and another (Said, 1979). This of course is white society and the other, the non-white society.

This creation and maintaining of difference manifest itself in Native Americans portrayed as mascots on football helmets, and young black men seen as “demons” by White police officers. The “other” is not viewed by white society as a human being. The “other” is viewed as non-living, a caricature, a mythical devil or demon.

This dehumanization is a product of White Supremacy and Colonialism. White Supremacy is the political ideology that believes white people (Europeans) are superior over people of color. White supremacy is upheld and reinforced through political, economic, social, cultural, educational, legal, and military systems of power. Colonialism can be defined as the subjugation or domination of a group of people and/or culture over the other through the establishments of settlements in a distant territory.

In the white imagination, Native Americans don’t exist anymore but only as artifacts of the past, in the form of mascots. Not only did European settlers commit the biggest genocide in human history when Columbus landed in 1492, Native Americans never existed in the white psyche to begin with. This Thanksgiving let’s not forget that fairy tale of manifest destiny. European colonial settlers as the great discovery states, discovered a land unoccupied by no one. God had made them the chosen people, who had the right to this uninhibited land. So how would white society even treat Native Americans as humans, when they didn’t exist in the first place?
His conclusion:Like the Hottentot Venus human zoos (Blanchard, et. al., 2009) and Buffalo Bills Wild West shows (Maddra, 2006) of the past, Black and Indigenous people are only here for white society’s entertainment. What’s the difference of displaying Black people in cages and Native Americans portrayed as uncivilized savages who had to be tamed by the Cowboy hero Buffalo Bill? There is no difference. They were both seen as not humans. They were “othered.”Comment:  For more on Ferguson, see Black and White Rage in Ferguson and Prosecutor's Bias in Ferguson Shooting.

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