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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Chronicle Political Cartoon by Tom Meyer

Meyer could've intended this to be a poor Indian spending his last fistful of dollars on campaign contributions. But more likely, Meyer intended this to be a continuation of the criticism that Indians are too powerful and greedy.

I say "more likely" because the cartoon doesn't quite make sense. Although some of California's tribal leaders might admit being addicted to making campaign contributions, most probably wouldn't. Most probably would say—as they've said in other contexts—that they're just participating in the political system like everyone else. California's tribes have had a lot at stake in recent elections, so they've contributed accordingly.

Note also the other subtle, stereotypical implications of this cartoon:

  • The Indian is wearing a t-shirt and putting his money into a slot machine. The implication is that he's uneducated, unsophisticated, from the working class. He doesn't know how to lobby like non-Indians lobbyists do—with a persuasive presentation full of facts and figures. Instead, he's gambling on a slot machine in the vain hope of getting lucky.
  • The Indian admits to addictive behavior. This echoes the commonplace belief that Indians are drunks and can't control themselves as well as other people.
  • The Indian is grossly overweight. This also suggests a lower-class person with impulse-control problems.
  • More of Meyer in the Stereotype of the Month contest
    Meyer cartoon shows tipi as casino offering "loose slots"
    Cartoon:  Owning a Winnebago enough to open a casino
    Cartoon implies California Indians want state for casinos

    Related links
    The facts about Indian gaming

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    Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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