Breaking stereotypes event discusses stereotypes about Native Americans
The “Breaking Stereotypes” ICE event was put on by the Student Life-Diversity Initiatives members on Wednesday the 7th of November 2018. In Penland 110, students gathered at 2pm for a roundtable discussion based on the stereotype of the minority group of Native Americans. The event proved to be an eye-opener to most, including myself.
From the Diversity Initiatives previous events, I learned about cultural appropriation regarding Native Americans, and today’s event proved even more revealing. Cartoons such as Looney Tunes, yes… our favorite characters like Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam were are guilty of racial actions and disrespect toward the Native Americans that make up the small 2% of the population. “Funny” caricature of Native American kidnapping, robbery, abusive and mockery of their culture, bodily markings and outfits were evident and in plain vision. As a child, I watched Looney Tunes relentlessly, and of course had no idea of what I was unconsciously exposed to. I was disappointed beyond words, needless to say.
One of the other main points was to shed light on the popular Washington football team the “Redskins”. Their entire identity; their name and their logo, is a slap in the face to Native Americans. The term “redskins” literally means the scalp head of a Native American to be sold for money. States would reward people with payment for dead Indians. To add, their logo is that of an Indian head, showing that they’re not hiding their intention at all… these people are who they’re talking about, there’s no confusion. For discussion, one of the Diversity Initiative mentors wore a parody of the t-shirt with a photo of Trump, and underneath said “Caucasians.”
A YouTube interview was played of a black gentleman who did similar, and he revealed his experience. Needless to say, it was not a good one. Why then would the word “Caucasian” offend people, when it is not a derogatory term? It went to show the hypocrisy, as a non-offensive word was met with such anger, and an offensive and racist term like “Redskins” was not. It’s disappointing, to say the least.
The event proved to be informative and thought provoking. It surely was an event that I hope will gain notoriety. A lot of people may not understand the historical background behind what may be portrayed as innocent, but imagine how the 2% of Native Americans feel about their lives being ridiculed, and worse, making billions of dollars off of their pain.