Another Stereotype of the Month entry. A correspondent writes:
The stereotype that bothers me most isn't one used by a company but it is one that is deep in the minds of many non-Indians. It is the image that many have of Indians, especially Indian women, being ignorant and being employed as crafts persons if employed at all. You know that image of the Indian selling crafts, wrapped in a blankie by the side of the road.
It seems unfathomable to many that an Indian could actually follow the spiritual ways of the people while living well, driving a nice car and living in a nice home.
And heck it's not just a stereotype perpetuated by non-Indians. It is many of the online Indians who attack the heck out of anyone who says they are Indian and own their own business or live well in other ways.
To me this is a dangerous stereotype and it must be broken for our people to advance. Our children are intelligent and capable. I personally feel that there is nothing more dangerous to the governments of America and Canada than an educated Indian who stands strong for their people and who is also successful by white and traditional standards and it is possible to do this.
Good observation. Have you come across this in the last month? I want to include as many stereotypes as I can, but I want to make sure they're happening now, not sometime in the past.
I come across it almost every day I have a degree from USC, own my own business and have for 7 years drive a Mercedes and a BMW, have a boat, a house, a condo, and a ranch with a few buffalo and people tell me things like "Oh, you're Indian, I thought you must have been Italian" or "You went to USC?????????" or "You have a house in San Marino?????" Or how about when my relations come to visit or when my recently wed husband moved in? Well the police in our relatively small little town know me and my sister and our cars but they just have to keep on stopping my husband and my cousins to ask them what they are doing in the neighborhood.
Here's another one...you know I can't be an Indian because my business makes evening gowns rather than Indian crafts and oooh I love it when people don't want to deal with me and ask to speak with my boss. I just love telling them I am the boss. BTW I am Cree from Canada and my husband is 5/8ths with relations on Pine Ridge. People also ask incredibly stupid things once they realize I am not Italian or Middle Eastern (I think they must think that because of the suits, high heels, and jewelry, don't you?). I mean heck it's not exactly like wearing skins, mocs, and feathers every day though I do constantly wear my personal medicine bundle and tie my husband's hair in with mine.
Well this is turning into a rant so I guess I'll stop but I think you get my point.
Indeed I do.
Indians as welfare recipients
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