Opinion | Politics

Opinion: The media ignores another 'off the reservation' comment






Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, on the campaign trail. Photo from Facebook

Did anybody notice when billionaire Mark Cuban said he could not support Donald Trump because the Republican presidential candidate "went off the reservation?" You probably didn't but professor Karen Melissa Hannel and Eric Hannel, a Republican staffer on Capitol Hill, want to remind you that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton apologized for making a similar comment a few months ago:
Just over three months after the Clinton characterization, the Clinton campaign was once again linked with this racist phrase, only this time it was billionaire supporter Mark Cuban. Cuban endorsed Clinton at a July 30 Pittsburgh event with the statement that he could not support Trump because “he went off the reservation and went bat---- crazy.” Unlike when Clinton used the phrase in April, there was no uproar in response though Cuban’s equating volatility and mental illness with indigenous experience is obviously a more injurious affront.

It is more injurious given that history reveals that indigenous peoples were condemned to federal mental institutions, such as Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians in Canton, South Dakota or Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., where they awaited forced sterilization, were abused, and lived in unsanitary conditions oftentimes for nothing more than practicing their “cultural traditions, and Indian lifestyles” on the reservation. The asylum advertised itself as a tourist destination where sightseers could “come and see the crazy Indians” and pick-up a few souvenirs to commemorate the occasion.

While Cuban is not employed by the Clinton campaign his use of the phrase, so soon after his nominee of choice’s chastisement, demonstrates a willful desire to remain obtuse. That the media did not pick up on round 2 of “off the reservation” indicates a commitment to reporting on Indian issues only when those issues can be used to stir the pot on a slow news day.

Read More from the Hannels:
Karen Melissa Hannel and Eric Hannel: Political Deafness & ‘Crazy Indians’ (Indian Country Today 8/14)

Related Stories:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Delete 'off the reservation' from our discourse (05/04)
Simon Moya-Smith: Donald Trump sees Indian people going 'wild' (05/04)
Mark Charles: Politicians haven't learned from our genocidal past (5/2)