By Chief Roy Crazy Horse
Why is it that racism causes people to say ignorant things about other people, and then come around year after year, asking them how they feel about it? And then expect them to feel honored that they've been degraded? Instead, they should be twice as asha med of themselves for their bigotry. There's no other word for it.
Why do honorable people not rise up in anger if they do not want their society to be racist? Could you ever imagine a sports team called the "Los Angeles Slant Eyes?" or the "Atlanta Darkies?"
Significant, isn't it, that Europeans do not have derogatory names for themselves. Instead, their names ring with pride: the "Vikings," the "Cowboys," the "Patriots."
The settlers who came from Europe had men, women, and children. They did not apply the same humanity when they spoke of us. We were the "braves," the "squaws," "papooses," the same as they spoke of the "buck," the "doe" and the "fawn." They might be excus ed for being products of their unenlightened times centuries ago, but what excuse do the people of 1999 wish to offer?
If the "Braves," the "Redskins," the "Indians" were just names, perhaps we could overlook it. Unfortunately, these "Indian" equivalents of the old darkface shows continue to engrave a stereotype in the minds of each generation that the Original People of this land are less than human, that they are savages, gleefully killing people with their toma hawk chops. These racist labels stick when we apply for jobs, in the workplace, in government decision-making, even the way we are taught to think about ourselves. How else can you explain the continuing margination of the Original Peoples all across the land?
When Euro-Americans understand that their people gain honor by their own highly-principled conduct and not by depreciating other peoples, we will be close to the foundation of democracy and quality of opportunity for all peoples of this land. There is still hope.
Chief Roy Crazy Horse