Opinion: Indian Country can't forget our African American allies

Amy Moore and Mike Taylor discuss attitudes of African Americans towards American Indians:
Whether we were in Massachusetts or Ohio or Texas or Maryland or elsewhere, black Americans have always gone out of their way to be extra nice and helpful to us. Intrigued, we used student subject pools and ran experiments to assess if African Americans were really generous toward Indians or if our experiences were an anomaly. We used games called dictator games and trust games from the field of experimental economics. The simplest possible description of the dictator game is that you give a person a token sum of money, like $10, and ask them if they would like to split this money with another person. If white people give more money to whites than they give to minority individuals, then you have a measure of prejudice right there. The trust game is a little more complicated than the dictator game. While details of our experiments are well beyond the scope of this essay, our findings show that, of all racial groups, black Americans are indeed the most gracious toward and most trusting of Indians. In fact, our experiments found that black experimental participants were more generous toward Indians than Indians were toward other Indians.

Most Indians know that the average German is far more knowledgeable about us than the average white American. We also know that Germans are considerably more interested in our culture than are white Americans. The Germans even enthusiastically learn our Native languages. We consider the Germans our allies. But we often forget that blacks have always been our strongest allies. Historically, black slaves allied with Indians. They fought wars with us and gave their lives for us. They protected Indian women, children and elders. They lived with us in our communities. But somewhere along the line, we forgot how allied we had always been with black Americans. Maybe this is a consequence of the divide-and-conquer policies of the colonizers. Maybe it is the brainwashing in our boarding schools. Maybe this is the result of negative impressions about blacks that we are constantly bombarded with by the American media. Maybe we are giving in to a colonized mentality and learning to hate our closest allies.

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Amy Moore & Mike Taylor: Our Forgotten Allies: African Americans (Indian Country Today 10/31)

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