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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Let's ignore for the moment the perennial subtext of Piraro's Bizarros: that Indians are a past race, a vanishing breed, lost or hidden in the desert somewhere. This is a perennial problem with Piraro's work, and one could say the comic strip as a whole stereotypes Indians. But it's hard to apply this criticism to any one cartoon. One has to read the series as a whole to get the subliminal message.

But this cartoon is stereotypical in its own right. The scene shows a landscape of mesas and desert, like something out of the Painted Desert or the Grand Canyon. That places the setting firmly in the Southwest, probably in Arizona.

But the Indian "brave" wears feathers and buckskins, and the chief wears a full feathered headdress and blanket. These are the classic symbols of Plains Indians, who live some thousand miles away. Piraro has used stereotypical images so you can't miss the point of his cartoon.

Related links
Tipis, feather bonnets, and other Native American stereotypes
Native comic strips vs. comic books

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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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