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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Paying Out Isn't the Same As Owning Up

By Ted Gup Sunday, April 7, 2002; Page B01

At times, it seems America has made a veritable market of past sins, becoming the First National Bank of Reparations & Restitution. The slavery issue, 139 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, is only the most recent in a long line of such appeals. The United States has paid reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II, to Native Americans whose lands were stolen outright, to Pacific Islanders whose paradise was nuked, and to those knowingly exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. New York paid some $8 million to inmates injured or killed in the 1971 Attica prison uprising. We are hounded by our moral debts.



An April 7 Outlook article referred to U.S. payments to Native Americans as reparations. Benefits provided to tribes as part of early peace treaties were not characterized as reparations for harm done.

Rob's comment
Reversing the Post's passive tense, Americans didn't characterize government payments to tribes as "reparations" because they weren't reparations. That Indians got and still get "reparations," "benefits," or another form of government handout is a common misconception. What they're receiving is compensation, under legally binding treaties, for the land taken or stolen from them.

I'm glad the Post corrected its mistake, but it shouldn't have happened in the first place. i noticed the error when I first read the passage and so did others. At one of the most influential newspapers in the world, the powers that be are still propagating stereotypes about Native Americans.

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