Opinion

Crystal Willcuts: Indian people endure racism every day in U.S.





Crystal Willcuts on the culturally acceptable racism against Native people in the United States:
Every day in this country Native people endure culturally accepted racism. I don’t see Paula Deen doing the Tomahawk Chop. And I don’t see her dressed up in red face and Washington Redskins gear. As long as people walk into stadiums and exploit and jubilantly mock a culture that is already suffering under the weight of racism, poverty, disease and suicide, racism wins. It’s hypocrisy to rake Deen over the coals based on one private conversation she had nearly three decades ago, under duress, and let these types of no-apology-racist-Indian-mascot-you-should-feel-honored-ignorant-did I say racist? acts pass by with nary a tsk-tsk. There is no doubt about this special brand of racism that snubs its nose and jabs its finger in open wounds. Indian mascots do nothing to “honor” our culture. Thank you, but no thank you. I don’t feel honored. Would white America feel honored with a mascot of a pig dressed up in an American flag sporting a cigar and a fistful of dollars? I don’t think so, but from someone who has lived and worked in D.C., that seems a far more fitting and accurate mascot for a Washington team.

It’s hypocrisy to accuse another for the same offense you yourself have committed and refused to apologize for. Let’s thoughtfully consider Matt Lauer’s use of “Indian giver” on live television. While covering the London Olympics and during a conversation with Meredith Viera over underwear, the world watched as he used the pejorative Indian giver. When the public, including the National Congress of American Indians, voiced their outrage, surely an apology would be forthcoming, right? When you hurt someone, you say you are sorry. Alas, Matt Lauer could not accept responsibility for his words when not even a shadow of a doubt lingered, and certainly gave no remorseful apology, because there was NO apology.

Get the Story:
Crystal Willcuts: Glass Houses and the Hypocrites Hating on Paula Deen (Indian Country Today 7/3)