September 20, 2015

Indian wannabes = sports mascots

A Facebook discussion of Indian wannabe-ism that applies to Susan Taffe Reed, Andrea Smith, and Rachel Dolezal:

I don't understand this huge need to be Indian. Why can't people say they're multiracial? As in, "I'm A, B, C, D, E, F, and Delaware." Not Delaware, period.

In my case, it would be English, Irish, Welsh, German, and other European groups. It wouldn't occur to me to pick one--say, Irish--and make that my identity. Much less tell other Irish people they need to accept me as one of them. I think Native Mascotry needs some serious study. It's like a mental illness.It's related to mascotry, I'd say. The same issues keep coming up--with Dolezal, Smith, and now Reed as well as generations of previous wannabes.

Namely, that people don't want to be white because white folks did nasty, icky things. Much better to be an oppressed but still noble minority like black or Native.

Now I'm on the good side, they can tell themselves, not the bad side. I'm like a virtuous Plains chief or the equivalent sports mascot. People don't fear and hate me, they love me!

Same thing goes on with the Germans and other Europeans who act as Indian "hobbyists." They don't want to be a modern Indian fighting to protect a sacred site or prevent suicide. They want to be a noble Plains Indian on horseback by a tipi. I.e., a living mascot.

Another clue is that no one ever claims to be descended from a Cherokee slave or scullery maid or fumble-fingered warrior. It's almost always "royalty" such as a princess.

Why? Because it's about exalting yourself, not connecting to the culture. If you were seeking a genuine connection, you wouldn't care about the status of your alleged ancestor. A peasant or a slave would be as good as a chief.

Wannabes = losers?

Another commenter had similar thoughts:Ok, let's be honest--it's not just that people don't want to be White because White people did bad things--they're trying to justify why they're not benefitting from the White privilege they're supposed to have. They know full well that if they're White, good things are supposed to happen to them--so why are they poor? Why are they sick? Why can't they get ahead? And they justification a number of these people get is that they must be part something else. they're certainly not going to say they're part black, because that removes them from the White privilege sphere altogether--but Indian, now that's close enough to White, but because Indians have gotten so screwed, it explains why they're being screwed. It saves them from confronting the system that's more than happy enough keeping a foot on their neck, and comforts them at the same time, believing themselves to be just part of a long line of oppressed Noble Savages.For more on Indian wannabes, see Native Scholars Demand Academic Integrity and Wannabes Obscure Real Indians.

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