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Friday, July 20, 2012

177

Real Indians Don't Care About Tonto

Adrienne K., the blogger who writes Native Appropriations, has been having a series of increasingly heated discussions on, amongst other things, the idea of Johnny Depp portraying Tonto, and, well, the idea of portraying Tonto at all. The situation came to a head with what seems to have been an exceptionally unpleasant phone call with the actor Saginaw Grant:

His team had written down tweets and quotes from my blog, read them back to me, and forced me to defend myself. I was in a horrible position, because if I defended myself and stood by my words, I would have been perceived as being "disrespectful" towards a "respected elder," so instead I avoided directly addressing their questions, to which I was called "evasive" and therefore, "disrespectful." I was so polite and tried to show the utmost respect, though I was shown none in return. I sat there, for over two hours, and listened as my identity was questioned and my writing torn apart. I listened carefully, because I know I'm wrong all the time–and if I was wrong about this, I wanted to know. But instead, the only message I heard was that I was not Indian if I dared question this film. At one point, after about the twelfth time I was told I had "no right to call [my]self an Indian"–I broke down and said (in Cherokee), "I'm Cherokee, not a white person." I didn't know how else to defend myself.

Adrienne then posted positively about the portrayal of authentic Native American dancing in Nelly Furtado's "Big Hoops" video as an example of a better way to include "Indian" themes in popular culture, reigniting the whole controversy. The entire situation is a fascinating look at what happens when different members of the same group disagree, respectfully or disrespectfully, about their own representations, who is "Indian enough" to have an opinion, and how cultural traditions can alter even the way we are expected to argue.



177 Comments / Post A Comment

adorable-eggplant

Oh legitimacy, that's one of the worst, most poisonous way to insult someone because it takes from the core of who they are. As someone who grew up mixed race (which honestly baffles some people I guess), I have had to deal with this a lot, and so I know it can be really painful. I'm glad to see folks are rallying around Adrienne. Someone at my office responded to learning about my heritage with "oh I just thought you were just really tan" and "what about your nose". I've honestly never been so floored. But I think it feels much worse when it comes from within your affiliated group so I'm really impressed with how composed and thoughtful her response is.

JadedStone

@adorable-eggplant OH MAN A HALFLING! ME TOO.

The best? "What are you?"

2nd best: "You're not 100% white, are you? I can tell by your eyes"

Jaya

@Jade Halfliiiiiings 4lyfe. My best:

Him: Yo, you hot. I don't even care that you're hispanic.
Me: I'm not hispanic.
Him: Or Italian or whatever.
Me: Not that either.

iceberg

@Jade "what are you?" Ugh people are the WORST.

New Hoarder

@iceberg I get this too. I respond, "1/2 Ohio, 1/2 DC." It's the truth!

the roughest toughest frail

@adorable-eggplant I've found that my being mixed-race straight up infuriates other people. I literally can not count the amount of times I've been yelled at because someone can't wrap their minds around the fact that no matter how many times they demand or guess, my ethnicity is none of their damn business.

kimkrypto

@abetterfate I have stopped telling people. My nice response is "I'm not really comfortable talking about that with people I don't know." My less-nice response is "That's none of your business." When it's someone I care about who asks, I always ask for their family history in return. It's going to be a trade of information or it's not going to happen.

Jaya

@adorable-eggplant I also love what an American/newer thing this has become. My mother spent time in Scotland when she was younger, where everyone thought she was a native because of her red hair and freckles. When she told them she had English, Irish, and French blood they could not stop going on about how "exotic" she was. Yet over here, she's just "white."

Scandyhoovian

@New Hoarder My mom pulls this on people all the time, it's hilarious every single time. She has an accent (she's Finnish) and so people are always asking her "OHHH WHERE ARE YOU FROM?" and, well, she gets sick of it, as she's been here for ~30 years now, so she always says, "Duluth."

adorable-eggplant

@Jade HALFLING HUG!!! I briefly considered keeping a 'what are you' map with every country a random stranger guessed at me in a coffee shop/party/on the subway. Also, the cab driver who took me to the airport and insisted I must be going 'home'. Yeah dude, I was born here.

@Jaya My best:

Him: Are you Russian?
Me: No.
Him: I'm from Russia. I can see it in your eyes. [aside: what's this with the eyes dudesss?]
Me: Yes, well I'm not.
Him: Not all Russians are white.
Me: Yes, I knew that. Thank you. Please stop leering at me and insisting I'm Russian. [what I actually said was 'uh-huh' and then I attempted semi-successfully to slip away; I've gotten more assertive since then]

@iceberg My new favorite answer, "Human, motherf*cker." and then laugh maniacally, because I don't actually like confrontation, so I'd rather seem totally off my rocker. Least effective response I've tried is the normally helpful redirect, "Why do you ask?" Oh wait, I didn't want to know, actually.

the roughest toughest frail

@kimkrypto I usually snap "Why do you want to know?" and then refuse to answer, since they're not taking a fucking census. Or I lie.

winslow

@iceberg I know this is an unpopular opinion (and that the question is loaded for mixed-race people in ways that I can't comprehend), but I've never understood why "What are you?" is so terrible a question in and of itself. Is curiosity about another person's ethnic background - as long as it really is just curiosity, and doesn't come with a bunch of baggage/assumptions about that person's identity/personality/upbringing - really that offensive? And if so, why? I'm genuinely curious. I get asked about my heritage all the time, even though I'm caucasian (although I'm olive-skinned, so maybe that has something to do with it), but it's never seemed malicious to me.

iceberg

@winslow IMO (as a whitey mcwhiterson) it's the phrasing. a person is not a "what". I personally have been asked what my ethnic background is due to looking slightly asian (depsite not having any asian ancestry), which I think is fine, but "what are you?" just seems rude to me.

Jaya

@winslow I'm actually really into talking about it, because I'm super into genealogy and love hearing about other people's stories. And I love it when people are genuinely curious. I think it gets offensive when it's the first question you're asked, or when people make assumptions about you, or when they immediately think you're interesting just because you're mixed raced. I'm half-Indian and half-European mutt that's been in America since the 1600s. I find the "white" part just as fascinating (I have witches in my family!) but everyone always focuses on India because it's more "exotic." I'm more than half of my ethnicity, thanks.

insouciantlover

@winslow I'm a mutt of European origin who has been asked "what are you?" many times and it's never bothered me. In fact, it's often felt a little flattering, to the point where I've coined my look as "generic exotic" because people will guess every damn ethnicity in the books. But I also "pass" as white (which I, uh, am) and am able to reap all the benefits of a nice anglo-saxon last name, which puts me in this cushy position from which I can enjoy a little gentle othering. So I think it's one thing to be olive skinned and casually drunkenly make up a Babylonian origin story, and another to have to deal with a barrage of interrogation on a regular basis.

This is totally off-topic, but something that DOES bug me is when random people ask "how tall are you?" (I'm super duper tall). That might also be innocent curiosity, but it's none of their fucking business, it just leads to questions about basketball, it's none of their fucking business, it's invasive, and it's none of their fucking business. My response to that is often "why do you need to know?"... which really is the case when people ask "what are you?"

the roughest toughest frail

@winslow It's all about context. I don't mind it if we've been having a conversation and it comes up somewhat organically, but I've had total strangers -- the checkout person at my grocery store, for example -- accusingly ask "What are you?" The phrase alone is really rude, but it's often delivered with a demanding tone -- at least in my experience. It just reinforces my "Otherness" in those situations.

... sorry if this comes off as really defensive. Like I mentioned before, I've had people straight up yell at me because I don't fit into whatever box they've constructed. Questions from strangers -- particularly "What are you?" get my hackles up.

Faintly Macabre

@winslow I think it's mostly the "what" phrasing that gets people. Some people also get weirdly obsessed with getting a straight answer or make weird assumptions. I'm pretty stereotypically Ashkenazi-looking, and my family's geographical background is a pretty typical example of Jewish diaspora. But some people, especially those who are ignorant of Jewish history/culture, get really frustrated when I can't tell them exactly where my family comes from.

I think for people who are clearly non-white, sometimes the question feels like an insinuation that they're not really American. I knew a girl in college who was Asian and spoke Cantonese, but I didn't know where in Asia her family was from. I once asked "Where are you from?" instead of "Where is your family from?" and she bristled and said, "America." Even though it was pretty obvious that I knew she herself was American, I could see how the question was annoying, especially as she'd probably gotten it many times before.

adorable-eggplant

@winslow I think Jaya is right on about how it feels for the first interaction you have with a person to be about why the color of your skin (in my case) is different. So when somebody walks up to me in a bar and says, "What are you? Palestinian?" [true story] and then grins at me like he's going to get cultural awareness points for guessing right, I want to claw my eyes out. Also, woah same here on the witches!! My second-wave feminist total badass grandmother put 'druid' on the spot in job applications that used to ask that question (before there were laws to protect her on that identification)!! Swoon. Also I qualify for Daughters of the American and Texas Revolution, so yeah a) interested in genealogy and b) have lots of roots here. But when someone approaches me with a question where the subtext is I noticed you look different, why? I have no interest in telling them. My own family history includes a painful schism and nobody has the right to coax that out of me over the course of small talk.

Also, it might depend on how racist your community is. Because I've also had the question asked of me in situations where the implied subtext was a slightly more frightening "because if you're not white, we have a problem..."

Jaya

@adorable-eggplant "Cultural awareness points" FTW

ThundaCunt

@adorable-eggplant OMG! I don't get it as much anymore, only because I don't venture out much or look approachable anymore, but in high school! AWW GAWD!! All the TIME! I went to a 90% black high school in a pretty sheltered town. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY someone would argue my ethnicity with me! I am French Canadian, Irish & Blackfoot Indian. I have dark curly hair, fairly tan skin and dark brown eyes. I swear I had to tell ppl 60 times in Spanish class that I didnt speak spanish and I didnt know the answer to that test question. Towards the end of the year after being called Chico for the majority of the year, they finally got it and started arguing the autheticity of my curly hair and whether I had black in me. SMH!! It was so surreal for me moving up from Ft. Lauderdale where every and all ethnicity was around, and normal and no one really questioned you! Here, it was like they couldnt fathom you not being white, black, or hispanic. Those were the only options they understood!!

Judith Slutler

@adorable-eggplant On racialicious recently there was a story about a girl who just kept acting obtuse about what some random dude really wanted to ask her (i.e. "where are you from?" - "oh, I'm from Wisconsin" - "where are your parents from" - "They're from New York" etc) until he finally phrased his question as "No, I mean, what have you got in you"

Her answer: "A super-absorbent tampon"

Jaya

@winslow Also, when I was a baby my mom apparently got a lot of "Is she yours?" and "So what's the father?" comments when she was out alone with me, as if she couldn't be my mother because we didn't have the same coloring.

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@iceberg yeah the 'what' makes an intrusive question even ruder. i don't mind talking about it to people I know, but I get stopped by strangers (usually white guys) all the time demanding to know my ethnicity. Um no, that's not how you do life.
Plus the question itself basically means "Why are you not white?"
I have no problem talking about my background to friends or acquaintances if we're having that conversation, but people don't have a right to my life story just because they see non-white features and get curious.

winslow

@insouciantlover I can imagine it gets really tiresome to be asked the same question over and over (which is probably true in any case but especially when your physical appearance is the subject). But getting angry about it seems like such a waste of time and a weird punishment for people who are mostly just guilty of being inarticulate and not being able to think of a better conversation topic. And I mean, if "needing" to know becomes the standard for asking anybody anything about themselves, then pretty much any personal question is invasive and none of other people's fucking business. And people will stand around having very boring conversations about whether it's going to rain or not.

insouciantlover

@Jaya My mom had my photo on her work computer as the background. Once a coworker walked past and said "hey, who's that?" and my mom answered "that's my daughter" and the coworker asked "what... what is she?" Mom called me, completely baffled by this.

I told her about the time that a guy in Istanbul followed me for blocks until I "admitted" that my mom must have had an affair with a Turkish dude.

adorable-eggplant

@ThundaCunt THE ARGUERS ahhh. Truly I cannot set things on fire with the force of my mind, because this has happened to me so often (yes, back in high school when I thought I had to be polite to everything) because a classic follow up to the "What are you?" question is "But [fact about your appearance that contradicts interrogator's stereotypical view of X people]"

@Emmanuelle Cunt Hahaha! Even better. I will borrow that.

insouciantlover

@winslow Yeah, but I'm referring to the guy in line behind me at the pharmacy, the person taking my money at the taqueria, the dude in his car stopped at a stop sign. They don't really need to know anything about me.

Judith Slutler

@winslow Then... talk to people about the weather instead of pulling out the amateur phrenology? I don't mean to be harsh on this, as goodness knows I have done enough clueless stuff in my time. But really, people need to think harder about how they relate to friends & neighbors who don't have a "default" appearance or name.

We live in a diverse and complicated world nowadays, you gotta move through your life in a vaguely conscious fashion.

New Hoarder

@adorable-eggplant Another offensive slant: You tell people your ethnicity, they respond, "But you're so pretty/ well-spoken/ smart!" etc.

I had that specifically happen to me when bartending at a golf course near parents' house, in an area that was, at the time, quite white. Someone asked my ethnicity, I answered, old golf guy says, "But you're so beautiful!" Definitely NOT a compliment. Also at that same job, with another old guy, it was brought up that this was my summer gig in between college semesters and he told me, "Good for you. That must be a first for your family."

OKAY I WAS TAN FROM AUSTRALIA BUT WHAT?!

JadedStone

@winslow Like some other's have said, it's often the context. Guys use it as a pick up line, angry old ladies grab your arm in a supermarket, etc. Another person's curiosity trumps courtesy.

winslow

@Jaya Gaaahh that's so rude. People will ask the most ridiculous questions about babies - I had tan skin and enormous cheeks as an infant and strangers would actually come up to my mom and congratulate her on having adopted an Eskimo.

laurel

"You ain't white. I don't know what you are but you ain't white."

Well, random dude, I'm half-Scots, half-Italian. So, you know, suuuper mysteriously exotic. I can see why you'd be so insistent that I clarify what, exactly, I am and why I look and speak the way I do. 'Glad we had this little chat.

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@winslow People don't get angry because it is a worthwhile use of their time; it is an emotional response to annoying bullshit. Sorry, if people can't think of anything else in the entire world to talk about except how my body phenotypically represents non-white ancestry, they probably aren't that interesting in the first place.

winslow

@Emmanuelle Cunt That was more in reference to the previous comment than the "What are you" question, and I still think we're all better off if we don't come at these interactions with our backs up - most people are genuinely curious, just trying to connect, and don't mean any harm. But that said, I'm in no way defending the examples on this thread of people who ask about ethnicity as a pickup line or accost a stranger to demand info on their lineage, or who make ridiculous, shitty assumptions about someone's intelligence/family/etc based on their answer; that is definitely not who I'm talking about when I talk about people asking politely about your ethnic background because they're genuinely interested.

adorable-eggplant

@winslow It's about intention, too. I will totally answer that question if I get the impression that the person is genuinely trying to get to know me, and we have already established a relationship that makes that effort appropriate. For instance, my boyfriend's aunt asked me, "Are you mixed blood?" the first time we met and I gave her my most new-acquaintance appropriate version of my family history, which she appreciated. And then she said, "I just asked because you're very beautiful and I thought maybe French." No hard feelings. I think she was making conversation, which can be tricky with new people.

And I don't waste time by being angry: I protect my boundaries and guard my personal space from rude strangers by getting angry. I used to feel obligated to be nice, but now I know that it's much more important to be firm and safe.

New Hoarder

@winslow To be fair, I've also had many polite inquiries, usually coming from people who assume (gently) that I am "from" where-ever they're "from." I usually respond, "I wish!" with a smile.

iceberg

@Mooah "Plus the question itself basically means "Why are you not white?"" this. yup.

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@adorable-eggplant Yes. It's all about the boundaries.
Though sometimes people are so naive that they say hideously offensive things unknowingly. I usually don't yell at people like that but I stay far away from them after that, no matter who they are. Just because you didn't realize that you just said the most offensive thing I've heard in a month doesn't mean I am obligated to stand here and put up with your ignorance.
My peace of mind and personal comfort trumps other people's curiosity. Always. Always.

adorable-eggplant

@winslow Also, anyone who asks politely does not say "What are you?" My boyfriend's aunt is an ESL speaker, so gets a pass in my book on the mixed blood phrasing. Someone asking politely might say, "Here's a story about my background [insert story]. What about you? Where do your parents come from? How did they meet? [Some other question that isn't 'you look weird, whyyyy?']" It might also be nice to live in a culture where people presume I'm from here (more likely demographically speaking, since I live in a sticky state) than presume that I must be from somewhere else.

adorable-eggplant

@Mooah Always. I love that.

@New Hoarder This! The number of times I've answered this question with a blandly polite, non-committal answer outweighs the rude answers given 10 to 1.

PatatasBravas

People can be real fuckwits about phenotypes, ugh. I'm sorry you've all experienced these ridiculous encounters.

JadedStone

@PatatasBravas Don't be sorry! They're pretty hilarious sometimes. All we can do is laugh.

Another, unrelated to race: random people will always ask if my sister and I are sisters. Which.. we could pass for twins. It's kinda obvious we're related.
I generally look somewhat baffled and say 'No! I don't even know her.'
Or to the 'what are you' I say 'huuuuummmmmmmman.. maybe?'

Lisa Frank

@adorable-eggplant Yes this is my situation, too! (re: being an Ashkenazi Jew) Even though all of my great-grandparents were born in western Ukraine, their ancestors came from all over Europe and the Middle East, but I don't know exactly where. My father's family may have come from Turkey by way of Spain and my mother's family is probably from Germany or Austria. We don't know for sure, and that genealogy is really difficult to do. But people love guessing my ethnicity and I've gotten everything from two guys at a bar who said they had a bet to see if I was Sicilian or Greek to a guy who came up to me on the subway insisting I have "Egyptian eyes" and an Indian shopkeeper who told me "You are from my country." And then people like to argue with me when I say I'm "just Jewish."

Lisa Frank

@Lisa Frank Whoops, I was trying to reply to @Faintly Macabre!

sidral mundet

@Jaya This used to happen to my (white) mother all the time, walking around with her half-black daughter. I've very recently had some really sweet interactions, though, where strangers have assumed that an older, white, female co-worker I'm out is my mother. Love my new city :)

sidral mundet

@Mooah Yes! And also, anyone who has that little experience with ethnic/racial diversity is immediately suspect.

Fear Biter

@adorable-eggplant I love "What about your nose?" Like, what does that even mean?
Someone once told me "you can't be part Cherokee - Cherokee all have beautiful, high, cheekbones." Um, thanks for dissing my heritage and my appearance all at the same time. It's like a portmanteau insult - so economical!

sidral mundet

@winslow That was more in reference to the previous comment than the "What are you" question, and I still think we're all better off if we don't come at these interactions with our backs up - most people are genuinely curious, just trying to connect, and don't mean any harm. But that said, I'm in no way defending the examples on this thread of people who ask about ethnicity as a pickup line or accost a stranger to demand info on their lineage, or who make ridiculous, shitty assumptions about someone's intelligence/family/etc based on their answer; that is definitely not who I'm talking about when I talk about people asking politely about your ethnic background because they're genuinely interested.

Yo--for one, you never have to come at this question from a place of oppression. And actually, yes, people often mean harm.

It's also incredibly rude of you to bring up a question and then go about telling the historically marginalized people it affects how you think they should go about responding to it. If there ever was "whitesplaining," your comment is it. Ugh.

Banana dance

@winslow people were confused by my eskimo appearance due to my gingerness. But I swear, if I had.dark hair as.a baby, we'd be telling.the same story. Instead, my mom just got sideways glances.

winslow

@sidral mundet Again, that comment was directed explicitly at the person I was replying to, and what was being discussed was personal questions in general (and "How tall are you", specifically). I don't know how I can make this any more clear.

I also recognize (as I said in my first comment, up-thread, and again in the comment you replied to) that my experience as a white person being asked this question is very different from that of mixed-race people, and I'm saddened to hear that there are so many assholes in the world who ask about people's ethnic background as though there's a wrong answer to the question.

If that makes me rude in your eyes, so be it, and if I've been unclear, I apologize, but I asked a question and I appreciate having received (mostly) thoughtful responses to it.

Blushingflwr

@winslow I am just about the whitest white girl who ever whited but I've seen people ask this question of coworkers, and the thing that's important is the tone of voice. It's often demanding and a little accusatory, like you're doing something wrong by not easily falling into one of the default allowed boxes of race. Or like you should be ashamed to be the product of your parents' relationship, which was clearly unwholesome and wrong. A lot of people get bent out of shape about people dating/marrying outside of their racial/ethnic group, and about having children who don't fit neatly into their box.

It would be just as rude to walk up to someone who was androgynous in appearance in some way and say "what are you?" There is a way to ask someone about their life story, but flat out "what are you" while you're ringing up their groceries is not it. (And if you're hard up to make conversation, there are other things to talk about - "Where'd you get those shoes?" "I like your earrings" "I love your hair" "Crazy weather we're having!" "How about that local sports team?")

adorable-eggplant

@winslow Just another advantage of your privilege. You can ask rude questions that subtly insult other people's perceptions of their experience, and, yes, you'll mostly get polite responses. Enjoy it.

@sidral mundet Yes! This.

adorable-eggplant

@pixie in p Portmanteau insult! That's perfect. And yup, it's the inverse of the opposite double insult: "But you don't seem like X... you're so pretty/articulate/quiet/assertive [insert other positive quality reserved for people who are totally not X]"

Also my nose might be my most vulnerable spot because kids on the playground used to ask if it was broken. Nope, just distinctive. ;)

sidral mundet

@winslow Thanks for your non-apology for perpetuating the standard of making POC feel not only uncomfortable in their skin, but also in their brains! Guess what? It does make you incredibly rude.

You should start here.
http://www.tolerance.org/activity/racism-and-white-privilege

sidral mundet

@winslow Also, you still don't get it. It's not just the people who are asking "as if there's a wrong answer." It's also the people who are asking because OMG it's so innnnnnteresting! because you're so exotic and different and other who are contributing to a culture of systemic racism. I don't care if you "mean well." I have a whole family who looks like me. I don't deserve ANYONE invading my comfort because I'm different. And I especially don't need a white person telling me I should be comfortable with it.

Inkling

@Jade
Oh good because I laughed at some of them.
Especially the "what... what is she?" from Insouciantlover's mom's coworker. It sounds like the beginning to a horror movie, which would be funny if it didn't actually happen, all the time, to nonmonster humans :(
They remind me grossly of people asking the breed of a dog, especially Jaya's "What's the father?" Oh um, a husky/pit. Wait, I meant a sentient human not obligated to be white, I always mix those up!

adorable-eggplant

@Inkling Nonmonster human, yesss. That's me, I think. Sometimes I laugh too.

Inkling

@adorable-eggplant
What ARE you? Ohhh my white god!!! Save me from this person of unidentifiable heritaaaaage!

adorable-eggplant

@Inkling Oh dear, that is sadlarious! What strikes me as especially funny/sad is that we're not the first generation of people who are mixed (in the US, cause let's be honest it goes allll the way back to the beginning) but maybe we are the first generation who can feel safe (with a few notable exceptions in my experience) talking about it. And that's why many people want to pick out the obvious outliers and grill them for details?

winslow

@adorable-eggplant I asked because I was interested in the experiences of other people when it comes to this stuff and wanted to understand other perspectives, not because I want to invalidate it, subtly or otherwise. And before you say I'm derailing and that it's not the responsibility of the marginalized to educate the privileged: I know it's not, but I also don't see the harm in asking for information in a forum where nobody had to answer me if they didn't want to.

@sidral mundet I'm not sure where you got the impression that I disagree with you. I don't. It's nobody's right to know anyone else's ethnic background, and people who ask because they're exoticizing/fetishizing POC are offensive. I do still think it's possible to have a conversation about ethnic background that's well-intentioned and respectful and doesn't involve viewing non-whites as "other", although apparently it's rare, which is disappointing.

adorable-eggplant

@winslow Here's what you said earlier in this thread: "But getting angry about it seems like such a waste of time and a weird punishment for people who are mostly just guilty of being inarticulate and not being able to think of a better conversation topic. And I mean, if "needing" to know becomes the standard for asking anybody anything about themselves, then pretty much any personal question is invasive and none of other people's fucking business."

If you were interested in learning from other people's experiences, why did you then judge them and their reactions? And yes, ask me any personal question in a public space and I will be miffed. Not as miffed as the 'what are you question' because 'how big is your penis?' or 'are your on your period?' or 'what hospital were you born in?' are all inappropriately personal questions that I at least haven't heard a million times before, so maybe you will even get a chuckle for those. Anger is a waste of time? Well, it's my time.

Sure, have very sensitive conversations about race and ethnicity with your close friends, but you were insensitive here. Go ahead and own that.

Also, thank you for preempting the accusation of derailing, but it's actually a very important point in this discussion. Because the reason derailing works is not because people 'have' to answer a question, but because we are conditioned to believe that it is rude to ignore or even side step a question... which is why I spent a lot of my early twenties answering the "what are you?" question and then vigorously defending my answer when it was inevitably challenged. And that's an actual waste of my time.

adorable-eggplant

@winslow And lest it seem like I am a total meanie, here's an experience I've had: I used to ask my friend when she was going to finish her dissertation. Honestly, I just wanted to know when she would be a big, bad professor person and I wanted to show her that I cared about her project. Instead, I really hurt her feelings and stressed her out. Then she told me that. And now I don't ask about when she will finish her dissertation, but instead about something she's reading or about how a seminar was or really any less fraught question.

So it's not just on the topic of race that we sometimes need to take hints that maybe we've been clueless and totally obliviously caused a lot of damage.

It happens all the time. We're all human. :)

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@winslow You say your aim was to understand our perspectives, but you said that our feelings about the whole thing were "a waste of time" and tried to invalidate our reactions to racist comments(intended or not). That is not your place. No one in this whole thread said that it is impossible to have a respectful convo about race and heritage. But people are telling you that that hasn't always been their experience and they will deal with it how they see fit in order to maintain boundaries and their own personal dignity. If you want to understand better, give your typing fingers a rest and read people's comments again.

adorable-eggplant

@laurel "Glad we had this little chat." I'm adding that to my quiver of saucy responses, too. :)

adorable-eggplant

@Mooah So on point! Thanks for that.

Also, to make it clear that this is not a conversation about white people vs people of color (because I think that's a dichotomy that can really hurt mixed people [I'm both and neither at the same time, folks]) let me just say that the person who has delivered the most scathing critique of how my appearance and mannerisms and behavior don't quiet add up: my own grandmother. Yup. And not the 'white' one-- she was the druid and totally loved me as a person, not as a science experiment from the island of doctor moreau gone wrong.

The reason this is a personal question (and thus not good for small talk with strangers) is not just because of the exoticizing/fetishizing, but also because we live in a racist society, and some of us have to live in it all the time beset on both sides. Maybe we've been really hurt, maybe we are more angry than necessary, maybe we'd like to have some space to not feel 'other' in every conversation. Those are all valid feelings.

winslow

@Mooah @adorable-eggplant The "waste of time" thing was directed at one person, and the question that prompted the comment was not race-related. I meant it as an aside, to that person only, about the general nature of personal questions and the way they act as a social lubricant. It was in no way meant to invalidate (or even question!) the (totally legitimate!) discomfort of people who feel otherized or violated or harangued by being asked about their ethnicity. Which, thanks to people sharing their experiences in response to my question, I now know is a thing that happens all the time and in a multitude of ways.

I also wouldn't know if I hadn't asked, so while I respect that questions can be seen as non-optional or stressful/judgey in a one-on-one situation, I don't think that asking one in the context of an open forum replicates that dynamic.

I also intensely regret having made the comment that you guys keep referring to, because it was a stupid thought to express on a race-related thread and it was especially dense of me to think it wouldn't be incendiary, regardless of my intent. I'm sorry for that.

adorable-eggplant

@winslow Thanks for the clarification winslow! Good point about the open forum. I think this is a particularly nice one, in which people are very friendly and non-judgmental, so it's cool that you got a lot of helpful responses.

Plus, I am still laughing @Inkling's "nonmonster humans" phrase, so clearly this was a thread I enjoyed a lot too. Because it's fun to talk about this stuff in an accepting place, where everyone has good intentions.

.
.

@winslow No worries :)
This is a good thread and it helps a lot for us to blow off steam once in a while. Hearing about other people's experiences makes me feel less isolated and if it helps with awareness about this stuff, all the better.

adorable-eggplant

@Mooah Exactly! Thanks to the 'cannot say anything disrespectful to elders' bind that Adrienne finds herself in, I have very few avenues for steam releasing on this subject within my family. Plus, it can be really hard for even well-meaning folks to understand because our language about race and stuff is so hopelessly clunky and imprecise. So yeah, I've been digging the hell out of this thread.

Also yes on the bonus of helping with awareness, since just because someone didn't mean to hurt doesn't mean something doesn't hurt. As someone who maybe wants to have children someday this is one of those things that I think about a lot. My parents weren't really prepared to understand how my struggle would be different from theirs, so it threw them for a loop when I tried to explain how I felt like I didn't fit anywhere. This is one of those things that maybe more awareness and respect and less isolation can change over time.

JadedStone

@adorable-eggplant AAHHH. ok. I know this is late and we've probably all forgotten this thread on mixed race but I forgot my fav mixed race story which ties into what adorable eggplant was saying about it not always being the 'white' half that's more racially insensitive.

When my asian dad remarried, my Asian grandparents didn't invite us, the 3 halfling kids to the wedding cause: OMG WHITE PEOPLE??? Oh no, that 'mistake' didn't happen. No freaky proof of white mixed kids at THAT classy affair.

The hilarious part? My cousin totally married a white dude a few years later. ALL the grand kids are halflings now. It's grand.

adorable-eggplant

@Jade Oh man, that is so terrible! Ahhh! Yeah that visible mark of shame feeling reeeeally sucks.

But hooray for a whole generation of halflings! That must be so nice. :)

I wish I hadn't been the only mixie of my generation in my family, and I worry a bit about having children who will naturally also not be 100% something, because they will have cousins who are not mixed and who speak their grandparents native language (I will really do my best on this one, too, but I'm not a native speaker myself) plus their international cousins' language, which I could actually help with, since it's incidentally the language I studied in college. But still, I don't want my imaginary kids to feel less loved by their grandparents, because that sucks.

packedsuitcase

@adorable-eggplant Okay, my head just exploded from this conversation in the absolute best way possible. I'm on the whitest white that ever whited train (ancestors from ALLLLLLLLLLLL over Europe, meaning that no matter where you drop me, people speak to me in their own language and get realllllllly confused when I don't speak Czech/Hungarian/French/Finnish), so a lot of this is stuff I've never really had to think of outside of an academic context. And it's silly, because I think that this is all stuff that should be common sense, but because it hasn't been my experience, it's not something I've ever really thought of before.

I seriously freaking love reading conversations like these. Love love love the 'Pin.

rayuela

@adorable-eggplant it's true, you really are adorbz

carolinaclay

The memories!!!@y

ThundaCunt

How are you not "Indian enough" to know what qualifies as racism?? I am about 25% Blackfoot Indian. I stll know what is right & what is wrong and even if you have NO Indian blood you should be able, as a person, to see if something is right or wrong! That's like saying no white people should of marched in Selma, or DC because they weren't black enough! Or white people can't be offended by the whole Trayvon Martin thing. SMH...A human can sympathize and want to correct wrongs and find justice even if they aren't the ones affected.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@ThundaCunt
Absolutely! In fact, if it were otherwise, that'd be pretty hopeless.

Danzig!

@ThundaCunt Different tribes have different "blood quantum" levels required for official membership. Us white folks were such effective mass murderers that full-blooded Indians can be found waaaaay up the family tree and you can still be considered. Mostly, though, that's a function of determining who's entitled to the rights that tribes were granted on account of (sovereign!) reservation lands being held "in trust" by the federal government.

That said, it doesn't really matter as a form of identity credentials, what the fuck

realtalk

@Danzig! my hairpin crush on you grows every day :)

Susanna

That image of Johnny Depp just makes me feel overwhelmingly bored and tired, even beyond the question of appropriate portrayals. It looks like every other sodding Johnny Depp performance ever.

adorable-eggplant

@Susanna Yeah, replace the blackbird with a parrot and you've got pirates of the carribean 4 or 6 or whatever number they're on now. Ugh. You're ruining my tween crush with your inability to be anything other than quirky and bedraggled, Mr. Depp. :/

The Lady of Shalott

@Susanna It really does. It makes me TIRED. Of him.

sarah girl

@Susanna Thank you for putting this into words, I feel the exact same way. I just kind of sighed when I saw the picture.

TheBourneApproximation

@Susanna I am just going to go back and watch Dead Man instead. (I wonder if that film is generally accepted as respectful by the Native American community? I am not qualified to judge.)

noodge

@Susanna I shocked my friends the other day when I confessed that I just think he's lame. It's probably the samey-ness of his roles and his looks - oh, you're a caricature of something? yawn.

Susanna

@teenie The rape apology, the predictable midlife crisis... Meh. I was never hot for Johnny but I'd be happy to respect him as a character actor if he played more than one character in his career.

fondue with cheddar

@Susanna He plays all kinds of characters! They all just happen to wear white makeup.

cosmia

@Susanna I used to love him so much as a young, sorta gothy teenager but as an adult I am frequently bored and tired by him, and disappointed that my high school crush turned out to be not interesting and annoyingly quirky.

gtrachel

@Susanna The two of them don't even look like they're in the same movie! They look like they ran into each other at someone else's costume party, and Depp's costume was way expensive and took ten hours to put together, but the Ranger bought his badge at a 99 cent store and the mask was left over from a Girl Scouts Halloween party.

adorable-eggplant

@cosmia That's actually true of how my irl high school crush turned out too. Maybe that's just how life goes.

PatatasBravas

I LOVE ADRIENNE K. Read that blog all the time!

PistolPackinMama

@PatatasBravas I was gonna say... bet Patatas Bravas is gonna love this.

And I feel so badly for the blogger.

(Thank you, Nicole, for posting about this topic.)

I AM DIAPHENA

@PatatasBravas I'm excited to start reading more of her blog!!

PatatasBravas

@PistolPackinMama Haha I swear I'm not one-dimensional in my reading interests! I am a shameless omnivore of blogs and books!

@I AM DIAPHENA It's pretty much the best.

Also, attn: the Hairpin Fashion Club: Dr. Jessica Metcalfe has an amazing blog that makes me want to drop mad dollahs on the Etsy lists she curates, which is all this gorgeous stuff from indigenous artists. Yay! There's so much appropriated/offensive stuff tagged 'native american' on Etsy, so I take care to buy things from the real artists. And Dr. Metcalfe makes it easier!

Judith Slutler

@PatatasBravas WHY did you show me Beyond Buckskin when I have zero fashion dollars to spend? So many amazing things

PatatasBravas

@Emmanuelle Cunt Because I am a bad person with an academic crush on the blogger?

(and a taste for stuff I can't afford, ha)

cosmia

@PatatasBravas Same! I love her writing style and she's so incredibly informative about an issue I, as a White Person, am eager to educate myself on.

cosmia

@Emmanuelle Cunt OMG AND THEN WHY DID I GOOGLE SEARCH BEYOND BUCKSKIN BECAUSE OF YOUR COMMENT

Judith Slutler

@PatatasBravas Those cuffs! WITH THE FUR

olivia

@PatatasBravas aaaaand there went all my dollars.

PatatasBravas

@all I used her Etsy lists to buy approximately half of my christmas and birthday gifts this past year. DELIGHTFUL.

PatatasBravas

@PatatasBravas also this shop is on vacation for right now and reopens on the 24th, but I've had only the best interactions with the shopowner and her stuff is beauuuuuutiful.

area@twitter

@all I love/hate all of you for introducing me to more places where I can support incredible independent artists make beautiful art that respects their culture. Salmonberry Dreams, help, you are going to get all of my monies.

Scandyhoovian

Wow, it always unsettles me so much when people just assume they know where you're speaking from based on your writing, your actions, or your words, as Adrienne's identity was obviously misunderstood by Saginaw Grant's team. It happens so much on the internet, particularly when you get into discussions about social justice -- someone who thinks you are in the wrong will just flat out assume they know where you're speaking from, when there's no real way to understand someone's life and experiences based on some discussion on the internet. It's such a dangerous ground to tread and almost always leads to foot-in-mouth issues more than constructiveness, from what I've seen.

Scandyhoovian

@Scandyhoovian AH and in further reading on her blog (which I am now TOTALLY READING THE WHOLE BACK ARCHIVES OF) tells me Grant's team didn't misunderstand her identity so much as they spent a hell of a lot of time trying to diminish it. Which... seems even worse to me. Damn.

TN
TN

@Scandyhoovian Ugh that's what made me so much more upset, they did understand her identity and manipulated certain traits of a culture with which she identifies to turn that into a weapon to be used against her.

datalass

@TN Yes, that was some insidious, hardcore manipulation.

New Hoarder

@Scandyhoovian Money talks, culture walks. =-(

The Lady of Shalott

Native Appropriations is the BEST blog. Adrienne is great! AND the dancing in the Big Hoops video (well, the dancing that isn't by Nelly Furtado) is superawesome.

In short, Adrienne A+++++++

PatatasBravas

@The Lady of Shalott Yeah, I can't say that I like the song very much, but the dancing is incredible!

alannaofdoom

@The Lady of Shalott - Yes, that was amazing. I appreciated that it wasn't presented as, like, "let's go on a field trip to the Rez and see how exotic it is." Just: here are some talented dancers, look what they are doing!

frigwiggin

@The Lady of Shalott Oh my god, I came away from that with such a crush on Tony Duncan.

packedsuitcase

@PatatasBravas I have definitely watched the video with the sound off so that I did't have to listen to the music (not my taste, sorry Ms. Furtado!) but got to watch the dancing over and over.

cuminafterall

It really freaks me out that a person could get that kind of ambush conference call from a high-profile person and their posse and be berated and have their own words thrown back in their face. I'm impressed that she was able to make it through 2.5 hours-- I would've started sobbing and hung up after 15 minutes. Maybe less.

ThundaCunt

@cuminafterall Yea, I don't think I would of lasted 2.5 hours. I understand the respect aspect, but excuse me, they had no right to attempt to speak for all Natives by trying to shut her up. That whole situation was ridic!! I might of forgot my ingrained respect and cussed that publicist out! How DARE you question someone's morals, beliefs, and their very IDENTITY when you know nothing of their history! That level of disrespect would of immediately had me fighting fire with fire!

wharrgarbl

@cuminafterall "Oh, hey, you're breaking up, the house is going through a tunnel..." *click*

adorable-eggplant

@wharrgarbl That made me laugh inappropriately loudly. I also just read the advice (somewhere in the comments of captainawkward) that you should hang up on yourself mid-sentence, because nobody would expect you to cut yourself off on purpose. I may or may not use this advice someday, but I certainly would go to great lengths to get off the phone if someone were berating me for >5 minutes.

fabel

@adorable-eggplant I may or may not have used this tactic before. (I have.)

packedsuitcase

@adorable-eggplant This saved my life in customer service. Well...it saved my job, at least!

Dorothea

this isn't just about who gets to speak for indians, it's also about authority, respect, and when questioning an authority becomes disrespect. (according to people in positions of authority, instantly.) as a young up-start, this sort of thing drives me nuts: because you're an older person who has done a lot of great things, you're right about everything? especially because i so frequently encounter older people who are just obviously wrong. but i also feel strongly that all people deserve respect, and that it's possible that older people deserve more just because of their status as people who have experienced more things. it's untenable.

ThundaCunt

It seems almost comical that this attack was coming from someone who themselves have come under fire for being disrespectful as hell to Natives. And it almost appears as if BECAUSE she is a young upstart, they wanted to nip her negative opinion in the bud because they didn't want MORE backlash on Saginaw Grant for his poor choice of portrayls!

NeverOddOrEven

Not to diminish any of this, but I'm surprised that this is where the controversy over the movie lies, rather than in the continual portrayal of The Lone Ranger as white, when he was most likely based on a black man.

Thanks, Stuff You Missed In Histroy Class!

Judith Slutler

@NeverOddOrEven Wow, I never knew that. US history is basically full of amazing POC who need to have movies made about their lives, though, you know?

area@twitter

@NeverOddOrEven Goddamn, I did not know that! Personally speaking, I would be much more excited to watch a movie about Bass Reeves than another Lone Ranger story.

The Lady of Shalott

@NeverOddOrEven It's like how (a certain very small subset of) people freaked out when the My Name is America series did the diary of a black cowboy, being "but what about the WHITE COWBOYS" even though statistically the vast majority of cowboys were Mexican, black, or mixed-race. Trufax: not many cowboys were white!

Maladydee

@NeverOddOrEven holy crap, that guy is a certifiable badass! And that moustache! Dang, I would rather watch a movie about him than the lone ranger.

NeverOddOrEven

@NeverOddOrEven
Get the podcast! It's in the How Stuff Works network and available through iTunes or their website. They're all just under a half hour, but the one on Bass Reeves gets way more detailed than the Wikipedia page.
Stuff Mom Never Told You is another good one, but I'm always a little frustrated in how it just barelyscratches the surface of stuff. Feminism Lite. The format doesn't really allow for any more, though.

dale

@Emmanuelle Cunt If I ever, and I do mean ever, come into any large sums of money I would be a financial backer for anyone who wanted to make movies about should-be-more-famous POCs.

I want someone to make a good movie about Frederick Douglass, for one. That man was amazing.

Faintly Macabre

@NeverOddOrEven Oh, wow, that's fascinating! I would love to see a movie about his life. Also, how great of a name is Nellie Jennie?

Judith Slutler

@dale My love for Frederick Douglass knows no bounds. SUCH an amazing man.

dale

@Emmanuelle Cunt Did you read the book that is a collection of his feminist speeches? For anyone who hasn't, it's basically the speeches he gave at womens' suffrage events. And then for them to basically crap all over him makes me so mad.

Blushingflwr

@dale PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE dear gods in heaven I want a movie about Frederick Douglass sooooo bad. He is my history boyfriend (I used to work at his house, and he is one of the few historical figures who just gets more and more awesome the more you learn about him.)

Some days I am tempted to just write my own damn screenplay about him.

gtrachel

@NeverOddOrEven Wow! I would stand in line to see Lone Ranger with an African American and a Native American in the principal roles, and a little more history.

dale

@Blushingflwr Do eet! And then send it to Samuel Jackson because based on some of those pics of Douglass in his later years, Jackson could play him.

He definitely has a spot at my Historical Figures Dinner Party.

packedsuitcase

@Blushingflwr Do it! Please? He is amazing, and not enough people know it.

Xanthophyllippa

@dale I have a picture of me standing next to his grave. And another of me standing next to Susan B. Anthony. (Thank you, hometown full of AWESOME.)

MissT123

@Blushingflwr For goodness' sake, do it!

atipofthehat

What do you mean "we," blogger?

adorable-eggplant

@atipofthehat Great catch! I totally glossed that over because I was already listening to Nelly Furtado.

iceberg

It's interesting, the point about who is Indian enough etc, and sort of funny that Adrienne accidentally pulled that on Depp when it's something that really hurts her, but also she is pretty clearly more connected and invested with her tribal culture than he is, which IMO counts for waaaaay more than blood quantum.

eta - and I wasn't sure about the Big Hoops dancers being Harajuku Girl style decorations (although extremely awesome and talented ones) but then I was like hoops - HOOPS! So at least there was a reason for them to be in the song. And now I know hoop dancing is a thing, so. Education!

The Lady of Shalott

@iceberg The hoop dancers in the video spoke very highly of Nelly Furtado, too, and said that she and the entire production crew were lovely to work with and very respectful of the whole enterprise. I was super psyched to hear that the dancers themselves were all "YES THIS RULED" rather than being under a record-label gag order.

muddgirl

@iceberg First of all, Depp "guesses" that he has some 'Cherokee or Creek' heritage (just like practically every liberal white person I know, including me). He was ceremonially adopted by a Native American, which does not make him a member of a tribe. Johnny Depp has not lived as a Native American, and I don't think it's fair to compare him in any way to Adrienne, when it comes to lived-in experience as an American Indian.

But putting both those things aside, I think the "Johnny Depp is/is not Indian" thing is quite a red herring. It's not just his portrayal of Tonto - the things he says about his portrayal, documented by Adrienne, are straight up stupid and objectifying. Native Americans are a living, breathing, vital culture, and the statements Depp made about "honoring his heritage" by basing his character off a fantasy painting made by a white dude just seem really REALLY tone-deaf.

iceberg

@muddgirl Oh I agree with everything you said. It's just interesting where that line is I guess.

Judith Slutler

@muddgirl WORD, plus here is a secret: a lot of that "Cherokee or Creek or idk" among white Americans? Actually, way more likely to be African-American heritage.

WhiskeySour

@Emmanuelle Cunt
Yes, I have heard that before. Also, that "descended from a Cherokee princess" (right...) in white people is a really interesting phenomenon. I know my family has one of those stories. But why? Is it to try to claim some sort of political upperhand? To establish "true American" heritage for those who otherwise come from immigrant ancestry? To be pulled out to defend when called out for being racist? I guess I just don't understand.

Judith Slutler

@WhiskeySour I think part of it is "Hey, I am Secretly Exotic", and part of it is just the way we romanticize frontier life, but I have heard it as a defense against racism, too.

H.E. Ladypants

@Emmanuelle Cunt I'm convinced the Cherokee princess thing totally trying to be exotic and personally it weirds me out.

I am 100% very pale folks (being very honest about things here) but I grew up around knowing folks who were Lakota, Shoshone, Blackfoot and Crow and like, and these are all very real folks to me! And so when someone decides to let drop that they have native American ancestry in this "it's not a thing but oooh, really it is sort of a way" and it's SO bizarre.

It feels a lot like it would if someone just leaned across the table and confessed that one of their ancestors was CANADIAN.

Jkizzlemurphy

Ever since that first photo was posted of him in costume, I had a feeling conversations like this would transpire and I'm already tired of it. I've had a friend or two ask me how I felt about it (being 75% Navajo with other herbs and spices) and I just roll my eyes.

I think the movie sounds dumb, especially after it was rumored that werewolves would be involved in some aspect.

PistolPackinMama

@Jkizzlemurphy herbs and spices... that was not a good time to be drinking coffee, reading other herbs and spices.

stuffisthings

Good thing Johnny Depp turned down the role of Django.

PistolPackinMama

@stuffisthings Wait, do you mean for Sweet n'Lowdown? Or is there (going to be) another Django movie?

Danzig!

@stuffisthings I heard he had some very interesting ideas on where to take the character but the shoot schedule conflicted with his obligations as the lead on Tim Burton's pop-goth retelling of the Gidget story

stuffisthings

Can't wait for him to play Golda Meir though.

okaycrochet

@PistolPackinMama DJANGO!!!! TARANTINO!!! JAMIE FOXX!!!! It's happening. Christmas, I think?

stuffisthings

@okaycrochet Dunno, I'm boycotting it because Django isn't played by an actual slave.

cosmia

@okaycrochet Christmas!

PistolPackinMama

@atipofthehat Oh, wow.

Okay. So, the joke in the first comment, now that I get it because I did not know this movie existed and now I do?

Priceless.

Also, the movie itself.

!!

I hope it's good.

Luckier

Love Adrienne and her blog, so "atta girl" for keeping your cool during the weird ambush call.
When I've talked to Elders about cultural misappropriation and other issues of race & cultural portrayals, I find that older folks just don't always get it, I guess. Like on the debate about the nastiness of the Washington Redskins' team name, even my dad (Native and fairly progressive) is all "eh, it's not such a big deal." I think it's a generational thing. If you were raised to have only cartoonish portrayals of your people in film, then anything less than cartoon maybe isn't so bad? I don't know, I just nod my head and think/sigh "Ah, Elders."

frigwiggin

I was hoping the Hairpin would feature this! Native Appropriations is a fantastic blog and mad props to Adrienne for not backing down.

darklingplain

Ugh, let's all watch Smoke Signals instead.

PistolPackinMama

@darklingplain by that, did you mean, let's have an Adam Beach Appreciation Party? Because I'll bring the Diet Coke, Cheezits, and chocolate covered graham crackers.

darklingplain

@PistolPackinMama Um, yes please!

PistolPackinMama

@darklingplain OK BE RIGHT THERE HOLD ON...

do you like Doritos?

The Lady of Shalott

@PistolPackinMama Oh my god you guys, I don't know if you can get it in the States but you should DEFINITELY be watching Arctic Air, if only for Adam Beach and HE TAKES HIS SHIRT OFF SOMETIMES GUYS.

trefoil

@The Lady of Shalott It's on CBC.ca, maybe people in the States can stream it? Because Lordy. Adam Beach.

Also! Has anyone else been reading Powwow Shades of Grey?
http://www.powwowshadesofgrey.com/

Generally: I think there's a huge difference between pointing out the ridiculousness of having a white actor play an Aboriginal role, and being called down and not "Indian Enough" because you have that opinion. I think she has an incredibly valid point, particularly given the Aboriginal talent who could have been in that role.
...says the white looking Metis...

Fear Biter

@The Lady of Shalott, @PPM, You guysssss! I don't even want to admit all the dubious entertainment I have endured because of the Adam Beach factor. It is fully embarrassing! Except not, because ADAM BEACH!!

dokuchan

@The Lady of Shalott OMG I caught an episode on a recent Air Canada flight, thought "what is this Canadian Northern Exposure type show" and then was bummed they only had one episode. I think he punched somebody? No, got punched. Been loving him since Smoke Signals.

Uumellmahaye

Mixed race couple prominent in the Galaxy phone advert on this page, coincidence??

jagosaurus

Years ago an acquaintance earnestly told me she was positive I am at least partly American Indian because I am reserved and quiet and I have high cheekbones.*

And she was serious.

I just stared at her because I was so stunned at all the ways that was terrible because it's so reductive and shallow and dismissive of an entire population. I wish I'd had my shit together enough to eloquently and convincingly bust her chops, but I think I just blinked at her and said "Uh, no. That doesn't even make sense!"

*Spoiler: I'm just a white introverted chick with high cheekbones.

Tweedle Dumb

I am a card-carrying, tribally enrolled, ass-kicking, name-taking, black-haired, high-cheekboned, 100% full blood Native person (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska) with all my papers and shots,

And I cannot commend Adrienne enough for her "brave" face (a ho ho ho, I get to make those jokes), and incredible composure about this incident.

When I was younger, I would have gone into a long rant about this whole issue, and frankly, I'm exhausted. Being Native in today's society is just that. Exhausting. We are a rare, rare breed these days. If you're unlucky enough to wear it publicly (I have an "animal" last name) every day is another weary day of answering questions from well-meaning but sadly misguided Non-Native (trademark) people - and being ENDLESSLY EXOTICIZED and OVER-REVERED. Which, in and of itself is its OWN form of racism.

I love Adrienne's blog and I HATE Johnny Depp just on principle. But, honestly, I'm too tired of being The Exotic Indigenous Person every minute of my life to really give a crap about a movie.

All these debates have been done to death, from John Wayne to Dances With Wolves to Smoke Signals (a FUCKING terrible movie that portrays Native people in a REALLY SHITTY WAY, by the way). I just wanna drink a bunch of beer, go drive my falling apart car around the rez, get diabetes and then blame "historical trauma" and "the white man" for my problems like the rest of my comrades. I got bigger problems than Tonto, believe me.

Xanthophyllippa

@Tweedle Dumb It occurs to me that you have the perfect opportunity to be entirely honest and still confuse clueless people:

Clueless Person: What are you?
You: A Winnebago.

Extra points if you do it at a highway rest stop or at a campground.

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