Ivan Star Comes Out: Why are we still dealing with racism today?

Ivan F. Star Comes Out. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

Why is it we are still dealing with racism?
By Ivan F. Star Comes Out
Native Sun News Today Columnist

Conducting seminars about bigotry may appear unusual to many people. However, I see it as a necessity to improve our existence here in the Dakotas or any other place where native people encounter racism.

Natives have endured ethnic discrimination since the colonial era. Legally or socially sanctioned rights and privileges were denied them while White Americans lived a privileged lifestyle.

Native, African, Asian, Hispanic, and Latino Americans endured xenophobic exclusion along with Non-Protestant immigrants (Irish, Poles, and Italians). This racial bias is practiced in the form of verbal abuse by racist individuals or groups. It may be an unsubstantiated denial for a job or housing. It may be a service refusal or very bad service in a restaurant or other business establishment.

The nature of racist acts come rather sudden and unexpectedly and are completely violent thus Natives often react with violence. This may be satisfying to some natives, but experience has proven that this is not the best reaction as most are perceived and treated as criminals while white racist perpetrators are not prosecuted.

A toothache is remedied by a dentist. A broken bone is remedied by a physician. Alcoholism is treated by a trained person. Tornado spotter training is provided to help save lives. However, there is no established remedial for racism. An education process specifically for Natives to help them to understand racism in America is in order.

An example of this perpetual bigotry occurred recently to an Oglala grandfather. He experienced violent aggression from a white male, obviously a racist, at a popular restaurant in Rapid City. He reacted the only way he could and that was to face the violence with violence. The racist, when confronted, tried to resort to using a lethal weapon but then left the scene. Police were not involved.

My wife was involved in a similar incident many years ago at a Burger King restaurant in Rapid City. She took our three year-old son into the women’s bathroom because she did not want to send him into the men’s bathroom alone. I was busy with our two year-old daughter and infant son. She ended up chasing two white racist women out of the bathroom all the way to their car. Police were not involved.

In both cases, had the police been involved, these two natives would have been arrested and charged with felonious crimes. I am still thinking about the beer spilling incident that occurred at the Civic Center in Rapid City. The only accused perpetrator got away with a “slap on the hand” while the victims of the violent incident, 57 elementary native children, are still dealing with the trauma of that violence.

We had a recent incident at Denny’s, a restaurant we frequented often. My wife and I and our two grandsons ordered up without incident. As we were eating though, I noticed the water glasses were filthy like they hadn’t been washed. I pointed this out to the young white waitress but she awkwardly explained that all the glasses are like that. We quietly finished our meal, left and haven’t back there since.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Why is it we are still dealing with racism?

(Ivan F. Star Comes Out can be reached at PO Box 147, Oglala, SD 57764; 605-867-2448 or via email at mato_nasula2@outlook.com)

Ed. Note: The weekly column that appears in the Native Sun News Today, “Grouchy Gourmet” was started in 1982 in the original Lakota Times by Tim Giago. It was intended to point out the racism found in some of the restaurants in Rapid City. When discrimination was found it was pointed out in the column.

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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