This guy famously said he was an Indian:
So did this gal:
In his book, even this guy said he was Indian:
Oddly, although this guy might actually be Amerindian, the mainstream media loves to call him "white" because they think he may have done something not very cool:
See these people? Half of them are pretending to be Italian, but they are not...
...yet Iron Eyes Cody was Italian...
...as was one of my boyhood favorites, Chief Jay Strongbow:
Tanto was an Irish Guy:
It seems that it has always been thought of as pretty cool in America to be an Indian, even if you aren't. However, pretending to be other ethnicities can get you into trouble. Don't do what Ted Danson did, even if you are dating Whoopi Goldberg:
And don't get caught pretending to be an East Indian like Ashton did:
But if you are as loved as Billy Cyrstal - then blackface is OK:
Oh, and I have no idea what she is trying to accomplish:
The intertwine between sociology and political correctness is fascinating but so complicated that I feel more compelled to observe than analyze. Does anyone really know what the rules are?
We've all heard that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, yet it is often taken for unfair stereotyping. When is imitation flattery and when is it insult? Is the standard by which to judge completely objective or do we give greater weight to the subjective opinion of those being imitated? Is the "laughing with us/laughing at us inquiry" the proper standard?
Indians, it appears, do not like being imitated. It is a stealing of their culture according to the complaints I've read. We've all seen the objections to sport team names and Oregon just this week banned all school mascots from having Indian names. I admit I've never understood the objection. Our athletes are revered because of their strength, speed, fast thinking and abilities. I don't know why that is taken as insult.
How I would love it were there a team called the "New Jersey Italians" but HBO and MTV have already made those teams and they had nothing to do with the virtue of good sportsmanship.
I would imagine if we stopped imitating Indians, stopped naming sports franchises after them and removed their names from our various states, municipalities and streets, we would then be accused of burying their culture.
I'm not even sure if I'm supposed to be calling them Indians. I do believe a man should be called what he wants to be called, so I will use "Native American" if there is an insistence that I do.
So - is it reverence to imitate an Indian, or is it insult? If you are 1/32nd Indian as Elizabeth Warren claims, is it insult to accentuate that?