Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Limbaugh unites South Dakota Democrats and Republicans
Both angry at his latest comments
PINE RIDGE SD
Sam Lewin 4/28/2004
Both Republicans and Democrats in South Dakota are criticizing conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh for his latest comments regarding American Indians.
Last Friday, Limbaugh spoke about former newspaper publisher Tim Giago's decision not to challenge South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle in the Democratic Primary. Giago had said he would take Daschle on in an attempt to bring attention to issues important to Indians in the state. Last week he abruptly dropped out of the race.
A transcript of Limbaugh's full comments follows:
"Days ago, my friends, I predicted that Tim Giago -- South Dakota Native American activist -- would be scalped. Politically. He had the audacity to run for Democrat Senate minority leader Tom Daschle's seat. Now Daschle is in a tight race, the radio show is in trouble, and since Democrats view Native Americans as they do every minority -- as their private property -- Giago had to go. Last week, Daschle and Giago had a pow-wow. What happened in the tee-pee is unknown, but when the smoke signals cleared, Giago was Home on the Range. He dropped out of the race. Now he supports Daschle...who agreed to "talk" with Indian leaders about the Black Hills...which the federal government took in violation of a treaty -- an issue unresolved since 1877. As for Giago: since he's back on the reservation, maybe Daschle will forgive him for asserting himself."
The comments have South Dakota Democrats crying foul.
"I think Rush Limbaugh's comments were at a minimum incredibly insensitive. To use words like pow wow and smoke signals the way he did is offensive. Senator Tom Daschle and Tim Giago had a thoughtful dialogue on issues important to our Native American friends and it is unfortunate that Rush Limbaugh chose to paint a thoughtful discussion the way he did," said South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Jason Schulte.
Bruce Whelan, the Lakota leader of the Shannon County Republican Party, also took issue with Limbaugh's comments, although he agrees with some of what was said.
"I am kind wondering what history books Rush Limbaugh was reading from. Scalping did not originate from the Indian-it originated from the Europeans. It is a tragedy that some of the negative stereotyping that comes from our media reinforces blaming the victim. I don't like words likes scalping, tee-pee and smoke signals," Whelan said. "[But] Democrats are definitely taking advantage of the vote here. We are definitely property of the Democrats here and we are tying to change that."
This is not the first time Limbaugh's comments about Indians have generated controversy. He once said, "There are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived or at any other time in history. Does this sound like a record of genocide?"
Whelan said he did not think that Limbaugh's views are representative of Republicans as a whole.
"No, I'm sure they aren't. There are things he says that even I roll my eyes too," he said.
Limbaugh goes over the line
Political correctness can go too far. We've all seen it.
But racist bigotry still is easy to spot -- as it was in a Rush Limbaugh broadcast last week.
Limbaugh was commenting on Tim Giago's decision to drop out of the U.S. Senate race after a meeting with Minority Leader Tom Daschle. The decision was worthy of comment and brings up all sorts of questions that many of us would like to have answered.
But Limbaugh went too far:
"I predicted that Tim Giago -- South Dakota Native American activist -- would be scalped politically. ... Last week, Daschle and Giago had a powwow. What happened in the tepee is unknown, but when the smoke signals cleared, Giago was Home on the Range. ... As for Giago, since he's back on the reservation ... ."
Let's be clear about Tim Giago. He has his supporters and he has his detractors. But he's also a successful businessman who for years has promoted the needs and issues of Native Americans, particularly in South Dakota.
What Limbaugh did was to reduce Giago and all Native Americans to stereotypical caricatures -- in both unflattering and offensive terms.
We all need to be wary of that, but commentators such as Limbaugh -- with national followings -- have a particular responsibility.
We have enough racial division in this state and in this nation. We don't need anyone fanning those flames. They're hot enough as it is.
Giago says Rush has it all wrong
Disputes radio host
RAPID CITY SD
Sam Lewin 4/29/2004
Newspaper publisher Tim Giago has one word for conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh's description of the reason he abandoned his challenge to South Dakota Senator Tim Daschle: " Nonsense"
Last Friday, Limbaugh theorized on Giago's decision not to further oppose Daschle in the Democratic Primary.
"Days ago, my friends, I predicted that Tim Giago -- South Dakota Native American activist -- would be scalped. Politically. He had the audacity to run for Democrat Senate minority leader Tom Daschle's seat. Now Daschle is in a tight race, the radio show is in trouble, and since Democrats view Native Americans as they do every minority -- as their private property -- Giago had to go," Limbaugh said. "Last week, Daschle and Giago had a pow-wow. What happened in the tee-pee is unknown, but when the smoke signals cleared, Giago was Home on the Range. He dropped out of the race. Now he supports Daschle..."
" Anytime I listen to Rush Limbaugh he has an affliction called foot in mouth disease," Giago said. " He is right when he says he doesn't know what happened in my meeting with Tom Daschle."
Giago, 69, said the reason he started the campaign is the same reason he gave it up: to bring attention to Indian issues. When Daschle agreed to pursue those issues, he says, there was no reason to continue.
" [Daschle] gave me his word that he would follow up on them. I have known Tom for more than 20 years and when he shook my hand and gave me his word of honor I believed him," Giago said. " Why see the race through when everything I wanted he said he was going to do?"
Giago, who currently owns three Indian-interest newspapers, has been travelling the past few days and was not aware of Limbaugh's statements. He stresses that he did not come under any pressure to drop out of the race.
"It was my own choice," he said.
Giago is not the only one in South Dakota to take issue with Limbaugh's remarks. Both the head of the state's Democratic Party and the leader of the Shannon County Republican Party objected to Limbaugh's use of words like "scalped" and "tee-pee,"-finding them racially offensive.
Limbaugh was fired from his ESPN job when he made racially insensitive remarks about black quarterback Donovan McNabb. But like the OutKast outrage, this anti-Indian incident barely got a mention in the media. As many have said, Indians are one of the last groups people can still mock with impunity.
Rush Limbaugh is a big fat racist
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