Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
From a correspondent:
This Yahoo! greeting card is horrible. It was sent to my three year old son.
Dress the Turkey
You can dress a turkey as a stereotypical Indian (beaded moccasins, beaded and fringed blanket, braid with headband and feather). Every time you move one of these items, a "war whoop" soundbit plays. And when you're done dressing the turkey, it turns into a COOKED VERSION OF THE BIRD. (You can also dress the turkey as a pilgrim or as a football player, which I suppose is supposed to make everything "okay" somehow—NOT.)
The clothes are stereotypical. The war whoop is stereotypical. There are also some subtly stereotypical messages embedded in the concept:
1) That anyone, even a turkey, can become an Indian merely by dressing like one. Indians aren't analogous to Pilgrims or football players. You can't become an Indian unless you're born one or you go through a lifetime of cultural immersion.
2) That Indians are equivalent to animals. Sure, the e-card also lets you dress up the turkey as a Pilgrim or football player. But football players can be any ethnicity, as could Pilgrims (in theory). The e-card identifies only one ethnicity with being an animal: Indians.
You'll never see blacks, Hispanics, Asians, or Jews portrayed as animals because you'd quickly hear an onslaught of protest. But you will see Indians portrayed as animals occasionally in the media and pop culture (and in the Stereotype of the Month contest). It happens because people presume Indians are either insignificant or extinct.
3) That Indians can be roasted like turkeys. This isn't stereotypical so much as offensive. If the offense seems trivial, imagine a turkey dressed as a Jew and then thrust into an oven. Native people feel a similar pain over the deaths of their ancestors.
Note: The link above takes you to a duplicate of the e-card, which disappeared after I saw it on Yahoo! As Carolyn observed (12/13/03):
No idea if it was protests (like the blistering missive I sent) or not, but you're right: Yahoo! doesn't have it anymore.
. . .
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