SEMINOLE, TEXAS — For five-year-old Malachi Wilson, the first day of kindergarten will always be one he remembers. As it turns out, Monday, which was the first day of school for students at F.J. Young Elementary School in Seminole, Texas, was not Malachi’s first day of school because he was sent home because of the length of his hair.

School principal Sherrie Warren informed April Wilson, Malachi’s mother, that Malachi’s hair is too long since he is a boy; therefore, he would not be able to attend classes until he got a haircut.

Malachi is Navajo on his father’s side of the family and Kiowa on his mother’s side.

Seminole is located in southwest Texas. F. J. Elementary School is home of the Seminole Indians. A sign near the school’s gymnasium reads: “Welcome to the Tribe.”

Wilson told Warren that Malachi is Native American and she and her husband don’t believe in cutting his hair. Malachi has never had a haircut, except for trims at the ends to keep it his hair healthy.

She explained to the principal that for religious beliefs Native Americans consider hair sacred and spiritual. The principal then asked Wilson if she could prove Malachi is Native American.

“I told her yes and told her what tribe he is part of,” Wilson told the Native News Online on Wednesday night.

Even with the explanation, Warren would not relent. Malachi was denied admission on his first day of kindergarten.


After Malachi and his mother left the school, Wilson called the Navajo Nation to assist in the documentation process. She also called a member of the American Indian Movement, who called the school district’s superintendant.

By mid-afternoon, the school called Wilson to inform her that Malachi could attend school the next day if she was willing to sign an exemption form with a brief explanation why Malachi wears his hair long.

“The principal asked me if I could pull his hair back and even tuck it into his shirt to hide it,” said Wilson. “I braid it all the time, so that was not a problem to keep it confined. But, I would not agree to have him put his hair down his shirt collar.”

On Tuesday, Malachi attended his first day of kindergarten – without incident.

Watch Your Red-skinned Back (racism)

‘Watch Your Red-skinned Back’: Racist Notes Surface in California Schools


Notes reading “Watch Your Redskinned Back” and “White Pride Bitch” were left March 4 in the lockers of two Pit River Tribe students at a Northern California high school where parents have alleged for months there is systemic, racially charged abuse of their children.

The notes were reported by parents to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, and deputies are investigating whether it constitutes a hate crime. Believing that the atmosphere at Burney Junior-Senior High School has become too toxic and dangerous, two Pit River parents have already transferred their children to the neighboring schools 16 miles away in Fall River Mills.

“I have to protect my daughter. (The administration) should have done something at the beginning, but they sat on their hands,” said Matilda Wilson, whose daughter Sarah, 12, received one of the notes and has been the subject of regular racial taunting. “They have been calling the Native kids names like ‘dirty rotten Indians’ and ‘wagon burners’, but the staff just passes it off as if ‘it’s just kids being kids.’ But then it escalates.”

Pit River tribal member Sharon Elmore’s daughter, Alexis Elmore, 12, received one of the notes. Elmore said the incident made her cry as she remembered suffering similar bullying when she was the same age, a sentiment echoed by many other parents who say racism in the schools has persisted for generations.

“When I heard about the notes, I was really scared. I dropped out in ninth grade because of how bad the racism was, and it’s sad it has never really stopped,” Elmore said. “They’re just randomly attacking our Native kids, and the teachers are looking the other way.”

Elmore believes the notes are related to white students reportedly creating a “Redneck Club” as a response to the Pit River students holding elections for their Native Youth Council. Many running for council had posted “Native Pride” stickers on their lockers, which were later defaced, Elmore said.

Fall River Unified School District Superintendent Greg Hawkins said he met with Burney Junior-Senior High’s principal and vice principal about the incident and they are taking the matter seriously. He said he was unaware of any previous reports of racial issues at the school and said they had not made any decisions whether specific action was necessary to address the situation.

“We value our relationship with the Native American community members, and it’s our goal to have a safe school for everyone,” he said. “But the bottom line is we have to know what’s going on to fix it. We encourage the students and parents to contact the administration if there’s a problem.”

However, Pit River parents have been talking withIndian Country Today Media Networkabout the racist bullying and the alleged lack of response by administrators since December, and their allegations are remarkably similar to those in recent legal complaints filed in December by the American Civil Liberties Union, Yurok Tribe and Wiyot Tribe of Table Bluff Rancheria against two Humboldt County school districts.

RELATED:Lawsuit Against California Districts Allege Abuse of Native Students

These allegations are being made in a region that is not far removed from the genocide suffered by Northern California tribes during the Gold Rush era when Indians were hunted by government funded militias, forced into slavery under California law and later sent to boarding schools to be converted to Christianity.

“The cowboys and Indians days have never ended (in Northern California),” Elmore said.

In the Humboldt complaints, parents alleged staff ignored their concerns of racist bullying until the Indian students reacted out of frustration, leading to detentions and suspensions while the bullies were relatively unpunished. This led to a cycle, the complaints allege, of Native students regularly being disproportionately suspended and being pushed into continuation schools, where college preparatory classes are unavailable.

Pit River parents shared similar concerns about Burney schools during a January 31 meeting at the Pit River tribal offices, where Elmore and others gathered to discuss her meeting with the high school’s principal, Ray Guerrero. The previous day, Elmore had sent a letter notifying him of her daughter Alexis being sexually harassed by other students during what is known at the school “Slap Ass Friday” and “Crotch Shot Thursday”, which had forced Alexis to change for gym in a teacher’s office in order to feel safe.

Pictured from left are Michele LaMirande Tyler LaMirande Alexis Elmore and Mikaela Gali-LaMirande and Sharon Elmore have reported systemic bullying that targeted Indian students at Burney Junior-Senior High School in Northern California Marc Dadigan
Pictured, from left, are Michele LaMirande, Tyler LaMirande, Alexis Elmore and Mikaela Gali-LaMirande and Sharon Elmore have reported systemic bullying that targeted Indian students at Burney Junior-Senior High School in Northern California. (Marc Dadigan)

Parents at that meeting said racism began to escalate about a year ago when Pit River 7thgrader Tyler LaMirande, his two siblings and his mother Michele LaMirande had moved back to the Pit River Tribe’s reservation from the Bay Area after Tyler’s father had passed away from kidney disease.

Tyler had grown his hair long in honor of his father, and students would pull him down by the hair in gym class as well as call him a “long-haired freak” and homosexual slurs, Tyler and LaMirande said. When Tyler was suspended in October after fighting a student who ridiculed his hair, Guerrero told her that she should cut Tyler’s hair to stop the bullying, LaMirande said.

“I can already see Tyler is becoming bitter towards people and angrier. He was a relatively happy kid before he came here,” LaMirande said.

As was reported in the Humboldt county complaints, many of the Pit River students are suffering from depression and anxiety due to the school environments, they and their parents said.

Morning Star Gali, the Pit River Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, transferred her 4thgrade daughter, Talissa, from Burney Elementary because she had begun plucking out her own eyelashes from the stress of school. Part of her stress, Gali said, related from teachers being harshly critical or dismissive of her daughter’s perspectives based on her tribal values and history, a problem also raised by many other Pit River parents and students.

“It was concerning that she wasn’t encouraged to go against the grain and that her opinion wasn’t respected when she was the only Native student in the class,” Gali said. “They know better, but they seem like they just want to teach what they want and not go outside of that.”


Specter of racism still haunts US sports (mascot)

The furor surrounding comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has again cast an unfavorable light on racism in American sport.

Sixty-seven years after Jackie Robinson famously broke baseball's "color line" when he went to bat for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the specter of racism still looms large over US professional sport -- from outspoken billionaire franchise owners to foul-mouthed players and bigoted fans who spew xenophobic nonsense behind the anonymity of Twitter avatars.

"Racism remains a problem throughout our society as a whole, and sports merely reflects that," said Ray Halbritter, who has been leading a campaign for the Washington Redskins to drop their racially charged name.

"The good news in the Sterling situation is that everybody acknowledges that his statements are unacceptable," Halbritter, representative of the Oneida Native American nation in upstate New York, told AFP.

Sterling, 80, has yet to apologize for a recording in which he reputedly asks a twenty-something female friend to stop bringing African-American friends to Clipper games and stop posting their photos on her Instagram feed.

"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?" says a male voice on the recording, which Sterling's estranged wife has confirmed as his.

"You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it... and not to bring them to my games."

President Barack Obama, the first African-American to be elected US president and also a well-known basketball fan, swiftly denounced the comments as "incredibly offensive racist statements," while basketball legend Magic Johnson questioned whether Sterling was fit to own a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise.

- Redskins controversy -

Sterling, a real estate mogul estimated by Forbes business magazine to be worth $1.9 billion, is by no means the first US sports franchise proprietor to come under fire for racism.

In the 1990s, Marge Schott of baseball's Cincinnati Reds offended just about everyone with her casual use of racist language, her mocking Japanese accent, her admiration for Hitler and her belief that men with earrings were "fruity."

She sold her majority stake in the Reds in 1999, three years after she was banned by Major League Baseball from her close involvement in the team's day-to-day operations.

More recently, in the US capital, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has stubbornly resisted pressure from Native Americans and their allies to rebrand his National Football League (NFL) team.

"While Sterling has tried to retroactively disassociate himself with the abhorrent comments in question, Dan Snyder proudly defends his own continued promotion of a dictionary-defined racial slur," Halbritter said.

In November, in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins suspended Richie Incognito over the racially tinged harassment of a black team-mate, while in 2013 the Philadelphia Eagles suspended Riley Cooper after a video emerged of him using racially abusing a bouncer at a Kenny Chesney country music concert.

- 'Pervasive problem' -

Social media has meanwhile enabled some fans to anonymously churn out bigoted sentiments, such as in July 2013 when chart-topping Latino singer Marc Anthony sang "God Bless America" at baseball's All-Star classic.

"Welcome to america where god bless america is sung at our national pastime by a mexican," sneered one of many Twitter mentions that overlooked the fact that Anthony was born in New York to Puerto Rican, and thus American, parents.

Debra Nixon, a professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida who specializes in diversity issues, said racism in American sports, and indeed throughout American society, remains "a pervasive problem."

"And it's going to keep happening until we really begin to do something constructive (about discussing race in America)," she told AFP, "as opposed to just having someone apologize until somebody else messes up."

(h/t to @GregGehr)

Cowboys-and-Indians (mascot/cultural appropriation/racism)

The University of Regina is responding after a photo depicting some members of the school's cheerleading team posing in stereotypical "cowboys and Indians" costumes sparked outrage over the web.

Some of the women in the Instagram picture are wearing plaid shirts and cowboy hats, while others have feathers, headbands and braids in their hair and dresses that are made to look like they're made from animal skin.

University of Regina President Vianne Timmons issued a written release Sunday acknowledging that the team was part of a social event Friday evening that included "culturally inappropriate themes and costumes."

Her statement went on to say that the team's coach has apologized. 

"Further steps will require that the team's coaches and team members discuss this matter as a group with the university's Executive Lead on Indigenization and take cultural sensitivity training," Timmons's statement said. "Once these discussions have taken place, the university will determine whether further disciplinary actions are required."

Kinesiology Dean Harold Riemer also expressed his apologies on behalf of the university Sunday afternoon. 

Full story at:

Watch Your Red-skinned Back (racism)

'Watch Your Red-skinned Back'--Racist Notes Surface in California Schools

Notes reading "Watch Your Redskinned Back" and "White Pride Bitch" were
left March 4 in the lockers of two Pit River Tribe students at a Northern
California high school where parents have alleged for months there is
systemic, racially charged abuse of their children.

The notes were reported by parents to the Shasta County Sheriff's Office,
and deputies are investigating whether it constitutes a hate crime.
Believing that the atmosphere at Burney Junior-Senior High School has
become too toxic and dangerous, two Pit River parents have already
transferred their children to the neighboring schools 16 miles away in Fall
River Mills.

Additional Story:

These allegations are being made in a region that is not far removed from

the genocide suffered by Northern California tribes during the Gold Rush
era when Indians were hunted by government funded militias, forced into
slavery under California law and later sent to boarding schools to be
converted to Christianity.

"The cowboys and Indians days have never ended (in Northern California),"
Elmore said.

In the Humboldt complaints, parents alleged staff ignored their concerns of
racist bullying until the Indian students reacted out of frustration,
leading to detentions and suspensions while the bullies were relatively
unpunished. This led to a cycle, the complaints allege, of Native students
regularly being disproportionately suspended and being pushed into
continuation schools, where college preparatory classes are unavailable.


Unpacking the Knapsack (racism)

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Peggy McIntosh

"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group"

Through work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women's statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women's disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended.

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there are most likely a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of while privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.

Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women's studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?"

After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are just seen as oppressive, even when we don't see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow "them" to be more like "us."

Daily effects of white privilege

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

 14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races. 

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me. 

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race. 

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.

47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership. 

50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

Elusive and fugitive

I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.

 In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience that I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some of these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant, and destructive.

 I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a pattern of assumptions that were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turn, and I was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.

 In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color.

 For this reason, the word "privilege" now seems to me misleading. We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work systematically to over empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one's race or sex.

Earned strength, unearned power

I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups.

 We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally say as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance.

 I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.

Difficulties and angers surrounding the task of finding parallels are many. Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same. In addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage that rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex, and ethnic identity that on other factors. Still, all of the oppressions are interlocking, as the members of the Combahee River Collective pointed out in their "Black Feminist Statement" of 1977.

One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

Disapproving of the system won't be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitude. But a "white" skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate but cannot end, these problems

To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these subject taboo. Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist.

It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.

Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing questions for me and, I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.

Peggy McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women. This essay is excerpted from Working Paper 189. "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies" (1988), by Peggy McIntosh; available for $4.00 from the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley MA 02181 The working paper contains a longer list of privileges. This excerpted essay is reprinted from the Winter 1990 issue of Independent School.   

Lone Ranger Is Not Just A Movie (cultural appropriation/racism)

Why The Lone Ranger is Not Just a Movie By Michelle Shining Elk

Why “The Lone Ranger” is Not “Just” a Movie, By Michelle Shining Elk

It keeps being said about the upcoming movie “The Lone Ranger”, “it’s just a movie,” it’s not going to “change the world.” 

Well, I wish that were true and I wished this were JUST about “a movie.” But sadly, it goes deeper and farther back than many realize, or have taken the time to think about, especially when considering how we, as Indian people, are perceived by mainstream society and the perpetual time warp we are stuck in because of how we continue to be portrayed in film and television.  

It’s all about framing and I advocate re-framing the negative images. Framing…what do I mean? Framing can be subtle or invisible, harmful stereotypes or perceptions that cause problems that are more overt that manifest themselves in all degrees of subtlety. How is the damage done – because all of these things are embedded in the public psyche and roll into our modern day existence and continue to be seen everywhere. We are trapped in a muddy time warp and defined by stereotypes and historical images that are NOT accurate by any stretch of the imagination. The “Injun say how!” way Depp delivers his character “Tonto” is NOT helping, no matter how much “courting” he and Disney are doing to get “in good with the Indians.” 

Any group that has an interest in obtaining or achieving success in the world, at large, understands that portrayals have consequences. Hollywood continues to portray American Indian people in ways that perpetuate damaging stereotypes and inaccurate depictions of who we are and that, in turn, affects all outside interactions, perceptions and understandings that mainstream has of us – worldwide. Lost and seemingly unknown is the fact that we are current, educated, relevant, multi-dimensional people and tribal nations, and NOT the images, symbols, portrayals or caricatures that exist and constantly used in film and television to define us. 

This is about the baggage, the Hollywood baggage we can’t seem to ditch. The baggage that, has for decades, created inaccurate perceptions of who we are as the first people of the Nation. Baggage we have been trying to dump for years.

Hollywood caters to popular culture – popular culture is comprised of predominantly members of the majority (we are not in this mix, just so you know). In this, Hollywood has, and continues to, propagate misinformation, skewed perspectives and inappropriate depictions of who we truly are as NDN people.

What’s the big deal you might ask? Well, the big deal is that we continue to end up being defined by inaccurate depictions and skewed perspectives because the members of the majority (the group that doesn’t include us) internalizes the misinformation and depictions as fact and the way things are (when it’s completely not the way things are), because they do not know any better. It’s a sad fact, but true.

It’s time we change the public paradigm about who we are — the one shaped by Hollywood and non-Natives. People keep saying, “It’s JUST a movie”. Well, I’m not JUST an Indian willing to accept perpetuating damaging stereotypes for the sake of “JUST A MOVIE”. Depp made promises that he would move away from damaging stereotypes and provide a more well-rounded “Tonto” but he failed and regardless of what anyone wants to say, or thing, Depp’s been driving this bus since the day he became an Executive Producer and took the film off the “dead” projects shelf.

Some say “It’s a new era, modern day movie, made to entertain…get over it.”

I say, “Yes, it is a new era, modern day movie, but when is our cultural group going to stop being the entertainment?” It’s a new era, but yet we continue to face, and be forced to deal with these old problems. When is enough, enough?  

It’s time that we place ourselves into the American society equation as a contemporary force and as a people of interest that is nothing like the damaging stereotypical images and depictions that continue to define us.

Drunk Indians (racism/media)

The CBS Show Mike & Molly made the "joke" that Arizona is full of Drunk Indians. Contact CBS Here: user_services/ fb_global_form.php

The Navajo Nation is Livid after a joke aired on "Mike & Molly" ... calling Native Americans a bunch of drunks ... and now the group is demanding an apology from CBS.In case you missed it, Mike's mother on the show -- an Archie Bunker type -- says, "Arizona? Why would I move to Arizona? It's nothing but a furnace full of drunk Indians."The joke isn't sitting well in the Native American community. A rep for the Navajo Nation tells TMZ, »

My note to CBS: It is 2013 I cannot believe the show Mike and Molly was allowed or even considered making the joke that Arizona is full of drunk Indians. Would you say that Compton was full of House Negros or that West Virginia full of people committing incest. Wake up and join the 21st Century.


Someone elses letter to CBS:

"Thank you, CBS, for granting your viewers more time with their families by promoting a boycott of Mike & Molly due to the racist comment on your show. "Arizona is a furnace full of drunk Indians." Really? Who approved of such stereotypical, negative promotion of Native people? As we are right now fighting in the House of Representative for the Violence Against Women Act with the Native Provisions attached, CBS is promoting negative stereotypes of our people on national television? What does that say about how you view us as Indigenous people who welcomed, fed, clothed and helped your ancestors to survive on our continent where you enjoy great prosperity today due to us agreeing to give up millions of acres of land and resources. Does your network really think it's appropriate to treat us with disrespect through the promotion of negative stereotypes? Please issue an abject apology and support the VAWA with Native provisions immediately since the sexual objectification of our women is symptomatic of the violence we continue to suffer with 1 of every 3 Native women being raped or sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Shame on CBS! You can do so much better!"