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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

This cartoon takes the subtext of the Lone Ranger/Tonto partnership and makes it plain—and not in a good way. It literally equates an Indian with a dog. As a sidekick, implies the cartoon, Tonto is no more important than a dumb beast.

Consider some of the great pairings of black and white characters. Culp and Cosby in I Spy. Crockett and Tubbs in Miami Vice. Gibson and Glover in Lethal Weapon. Would Dan Piraro show any of these black men crouching like a dog behind Dorothy? I don't think so.

For the umpteenth time, we see Piraro's negative view of Indians. He sees them as primitive creatures of the past—not quite human like the rest of us.

A correspondent comments
One correspondent tried to defend Piraro's stereotyping. Here are his (misspelled) comments and my replies:

>> it was just stupid that you pick this, for one, he was just ride in the deasert, he wasn't saveing a danzle or shooting up bad guys. so at that time both of them were usless as a dumb beast. <<

Riding a horse makes someone a dumb beast? Tonto was a fully functional human being while he was aboard Scout. He could've been composing the world's greatest song or story while he was traveling silently.

>> and i'll laught if some one got on to you for calling ANYTHING a dumb beast when your trying to complain about this artical. <<

Okay, your mother is a dumb beast.

>> second its a comic strip, comedy was first definded as a skit or play making fun of a belife or culture so get over it. <<

No kidding? I've addressed the point about whether it's acceptable to stereotype people in comedy several dozen times. Read my analyses and get back to me on the flaws in my thinking, if any.

>> i'm a mex and i'm called a org picker every day. BY FRIENDS. <<

"Org picker"?

So your friends stereotype you. So what? Friends have called me a nerd before. That they meant it as a joke doesn't change the fact that it's a stereotype.

In short, humor and stereotyping are two different things. The sooner you learn that, the more intelligent you'll sound.

>> if you cant get over the fact that you lost land maybe you should grab some buffelo skin and move to anartica because you live in the usa. put it this way, if your pride land wasnt tooken by use, you would be tooken over by britian or russia by now and you wouldnt have the right you have today now would ya. <<

I've addressed that argument about a dozen times too. Read about it in This Ain't No Party:  A Columbus Day Rant, for instance.

By the way, I'm a pure WASP, not an Indian. Sorry to ruin your stereotypical thinking.

Related links
Tonto and the "good Indian"
Savage Indians
Native comic strips vs. comic books

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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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