January 15, 2016

Parents magazine shows "wild Indian"

Manning: When Media Promotes Offensive Indian Stereotypes

By Sarah Sunshine ManningThe cover of a popular magazine is catching the attention of Native American parents, writers, educators, and proponents of cultural awareness.

The January 2016 edition of Parents Magazine features a white mother, shaking her finger at a rambunctious child who jumps on furniture, wearing a faux Native American headdress and mouth open wide suggestive of a wild yell.

Native Americans quickly took to social media to call out the magazine for lack of cultural awareness, and for reinforcing harmful stereotypes. On Twitter, Native American educator, Dr. Debbie Reese (Nambe Pueblo), directed tweets at Parents Magazine, and also asked for support to share the message:Dear Editors at Parents Magazine,

Depicting a bored child, in a toy headdress, clearly screaming, suggests "wild Indian." You apparently do not realize that depiction is racist. I'm tweeting the cover on social media and tagging you (at your twitter ID: @parentsmagazine) and sharing this Facebook post widely. I'm encouraging others to do so, too.


Dr. Debbie Reese
American Indians in Children's Literature
The magazine cover highlights the phenomena commonly known as “playing Indian,” which signifies a centuries-old American cultural practice of reducing minorities to demeaning and marginalizing, one-dimensional stereotypes. In this particular mockery, the child is seen portraying one of the most widely established stereotypes of Native Americans–the “wild savage,” or “wild Indian.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see IndianHeaddress.com and Los Angeles Magazine's "Going Native."

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