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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Chronicle Political Cartoon by Tom Meyer

The tipi as a casino is an obvious bit of shorthand, one that cartoonists use often. That makes it a cliché as well as a stereotype. As always, California's Indians didn't live in tipis.

Also worth noting is Meyer's continuing assertion that Indian casinos offer "loose slots." His fixation with this is almost bizarre. It's erroneous as well.

For starters, Indian casinos aren't required to reveal whether their slots are loose—whether they pay out frequently—or not. If they were loose, no one would know for sure, including Meyer.

More important, it's widely believed that Indian slot machines are the opposite of loose. For instance, in the Reno Gazette-Journal (10/19/03), Ryan Randazzo writes about Thunder Valley Casino outside of Sacramento. "[M]ost [experts] agree that because the California casino lacks significant competition, it could get away with much tighter machines." The same is true across California.

That Meyer believes Indian slots are "loose" is another subtle stereotype. As with the recent claims that Indians are buying politicians, or the age-old claims that Indian women are temptresses, it implies a certain wantonness. Whether it's gambling, sex, or politics, Meyer thinks Indians are doing something sinful. Worse, he claims their casinos are advertising their "looseness," which suggests they're as immoral as Las Vegas's dens of iniquity. Conclusion: Indians aren't quite as respectable or decent as the rest of us.

More of Meyer in the Stereotype of the Month contest
Cartoon:  Fat Indian is addicted to slot machine donations
Cartoon:  Owning a Winnebago enough to open a casino
Cartoon implies California Indians want state for casinos

Related links
Uncivilized Indians
The facts about Indian gaming

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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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