Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
KARN Chaos (Action Request)
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2003 08:43:46 -0700
This morning on the "Dave Ellswick Show" on KARN radio out of Little Rock, Arkansas one of the topics was "rude people." As the DJ was going on about rude people, he then started talking about kids and people out in the public. As he continued his dialog, he then said: "...if they didn't act like little Indians there would be no problem!" Now, some people are going to say this statement is no big deal, that radio stations say these kind of things all the time. Well, as an Indian who has respect and honor for our ways and culture, I am here to say it's wrong! Matter of fact, let me tell you how I just got treated by that radio station.
When my good friend Feather called me just now and told me about what had happened on that show, I called the station to voice my opinion and feelings. Here's what happened. When the phone was picked up on their end, I said, "Good morning, I'm calling about your station riding rim shot on Indians again." The gentleman on the line said, "Oh man, I don't believe this..who is this?" I told him I was calling from the Oneida reservation in Wisconsin and that I didn't appreciate what was said on the Dave Ellswick Show about Indians. He then told me, "Dude, listen...I'm half Indian myself...so get a grip...look, I can't believe this is happening...why don't you just go home, smoke your peace pipe and have a nice day!" Then he hung up.
Now, I have been disrespected many times and many different ways, but if this person is in fact "half Indian" as he told me he was, then this is one of the new ones to go in my book. Plus, here is a person on a live radio show, again supposedly Indian, making remarks like this and then not responding in a professional manner to people who call him. You see, my friend Feather, who heard his comments live this morning, called him right away, and he told her: "Look, we get calls from gays, religious groups...a whole lot of people who don't like what we say... it was just a comment and I can't believe you're calling me about it..." and then hung up on her. So, in all fairness, he's two for two on phone calls from two different Indians.
I could go on an on about how angry, violated and disrespected I feel about what he said and how he handled my phone call, but I'd rather share this story in case anyone out there would like to voice your own opinion. Here's the info for you:
The Dave Ellswick Show
KARN News Radio 920
701 Wellington Hills Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Direct line: 501-433-0092
Toll Free: 1-800-264-0092
Bus. Line: 501-401-0200
web site: 920KARN.com
By the way, this is how he ended his show this morning: "...again, if people wouldn't act like...oops, I want to be politically correct, so lets say, if people wouldn't act like tangies...." and then he went on.
In conclusion, I know a lot of Indian people who try every day to get a job in journalism, radio or news, but are not able to. Then along comes a "dude" like this and rattles off what he did, won't take any type of criticism, says he is half Indian himself and then hangs up on people asking questions about his comments. I think Indian country needs to make contact with this station and voice your opinion. Plus, I think a personal visit to this station is in order, so they are now on my list of, "places to see" for this summer.
In a message dated 6/7/03 11:21:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Subj: Wobanaki day 5: karn radio
The responses about karn radio was outstanding and I want to thank everyone for their help.
Subject : KARN day 5 Date : Fri, 6 Jun 2003 21:14:51 -0700 (PDT)
Today I got a phone call from Mr. Neal Gladner, station manager for KARN in Little Rock, Arkansas. He wanted to discuss two things with me. One being the on-air statement made by Dave Ellswick, and the second being how the station staff handled the off-air situations.
First off, in regards to the statement made on-air, Mr. Gladner said Dave Ellswick made an on-air apology today. He also told me that he spoke at length with Dave about the severity and impact his statement made and how wrong he was in making it. He said he told him that it was not a "funny" or "off the cuff" comment and that it was wrong. He told me he had a long discussion with Dave and he is confident he (Dave) will not make any comments like that again.
Secondly, he wanted to know how myself and my friend, Kathy, were handled when we called the station. He told me they take ALL calls to the station very seriously. He told me no matter if the calls relate to complaints about a commercial, a comment made on-air or anything pertaining to a show or the station in general, the staff is supposed to treat all callers with respect and professionalism. Well, I told him that's where the problem grew bigger.
He was not happy when I told him that the gentleman who answered both mine and Kathy's call (Mark) treated us very rudely, yelled and screamed at Kathy and then made the comment, "...look why don't you just go home and smoke your peace pipe and have a good day" to me and then hung up. Then, when I told him about my second call the next day, and it was Mark who answered the phone again, but actually treated me a little better and apologized for the previous call and made the initial offer to me to be a guest. I then went on to tell him that Mark told me he was half Indian but didn't know what tribe. Then he told me that a good move would be to have me as a guest on the Dave Ellswick show and we more or less left it at that.
Then, on Wednesday Mark calls me back and says, "Look Rich, I need you to do me a favor. My boss(Dave Ellswick) is really hot and tired of all the phone calls, e-mails and letters, so you need to have everyone STOP calling the station. If the calls and complaints to stop, he's (Dave) just going to drop everything and tell people to get over it...it was just a joke." I told him, "Well, what about still having me as a guest on his show?" Mark told me, "I don't think that's going to happen now." I told Mr. Gladner that when I hung up, there was NO WAY I was going to re-post and have everyone stop calling.
After sharing all of this with Mr. Gladner, he went on to apologize even more for the on-air comment and how myself and Kathy were handled by Mark. He made it sound to me like some type of disciplinary action was going to be done in-house to and with Mark. As for Dave and his on-air comment, he told me the on-air apology took care of that. I told him that Mark called e and said he was going to send me a copy of the original comment made on-air and then a copy of Dave's apology.
I know this is very wordy, but here's my conclusion...at least the station manager was up front enough to call both me and Kathy and find out our positions and stories. He also seemed sincere in his apologies and planned "talk" with Mark. But, for me, I would like to say "THANK YOU" to everyone who called, e-mailed or sent any type of correspondence on this issue to KARN. You see, I told Mr. Gladner this would be MY resolve to the whole situation: to be a guest on the Dave Ellswick Show. He told me that may not happen. He told me that IF in fact their station were to do a show in the future on Native Americans or Native American issues, they would probably use someone "local" because they are a "local news station." He told me that they would look around the Little Rock area or immediate area to invite someone. So....I then asked him, "So, Mark had told me that I WOULD be a guest, but now you're saying that this will probably NOT happen...so, who makes the decision to invite people on?" He told me, "I do." I then said, "So another words, Mark was blowing smoke?" He said, "Yes, and please understand, I will address this issue with him also."
Bottom line....KARN has no idea how to handle the type of response they received. They have NO IDEA how organized we as Indian people are in communicating situations like this to address these types of issues. Lastly, I am honored by the support, letters and calls I have gotten from around the country on bringing this issue to people's attention. I am also very proud of my friend Kathy for hanging in there and doing what she did. Is this over?
Not for me....Thank you kindly,
Suggesting that rude people are "little Indians" is a mild way of saying Indians are wild...uncivilized...savage. Actually, according to most reports, Indians were a model of decorum compared to most non-Indians. Many still are.
The "peace pipe" comment was simply an insult. Needless to say, not all Indians smoked peace pipes.
Tipis, feather bonnets, and other Native American stereotypes
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