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Stereotype of the Month Entry
(7/20/02)


Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Charlie Brown and Snoopy are at camp. Snoopy is wearing a life jacket from a "trapper who lived around here years ago"Świth three arrows protruding from the back.

Saying the life-jacket belonged to a trapper might suggest it was centuries old. But if it were that old, both the jacket and the arrows would've decayed. It couldn't be that old, anyway. Life jackets weren't used regularly until the mid 19th century (Life Jacket Information). And I believe the early ones were inflatable. If Snoopy has a noninflatable life jacket with arrows in it, it must be of more recent vintage.

In any case, the implication of arrows is that Indians were violent. The further implication is that they were violent not that long agoŚ"years" rather than "decades" or "centuries." That's stereotypical.

Question from a correspondent
>> How do we know that the arrows were Indian arrows? Indians are not the only ones to have used them. <<

I presume Charlie Brown goes to camp somewhere in the United States. I've seen lots of camp-based "Peanuts" strips and none have ever indicated otherwise.

I suppose you could say the arrows were there because some white archer was shooting target practice and missed. And the little mascot at Arrow Chevrolet might be an Italian dressing up for trick-or-treat, too. We have to make assumptions on many of these stereotypes based on common sense. Common sense tells me that trappers + wilderness + arrows = Indians.

Related links
Savage Indians


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