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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Limbaugh calls Native Americans "injuns" — again

On the August 17 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio talk show, Rush Limbaugh referred to Native Americans as "injuns." After a caller suggested that legislation introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), which would grant limited rights of self-government to Native Hawaiians, was a first step toward establishing Native Hawaiian-owned casinos, Limbaugh responded, "So in your mind they're simply trying to duplicate the actions taken by the American injuns, and get themselves set up so they have casinos over there?"

Media Matters has documented at least four separate instances of Limbaugh using this slur on his program during the past year. In addition to his use of the term on August 17, Limbaugh used the term on the January 26, 2005, September 22, 2004, and November 24, 2004, editions of his program.

From the August 17 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

CALLER: I'm calling about the Hawaiian issue.


CALLER: I'm thinking that we'd better chase the dollars and cents of this much like the American Indians had their reservation freedom, and the ability to have tax exempt status to run their own casinos. My guess is, I can see it now: the Tiki casino or Luau casino on Oahu. And therefore, established not necessarily a separate nation-state, but at least a separate taxing situation for the people of indigenous heritage.

LIMBAUGH: So, in your mind, they're simply trying to duplicate the actions taken by the American injuns, and get themselves set up so they have casinos over there?

From the January 26 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: You wanna hear a funny story? The left just keeps stepping in it. You put a pile of excrement out there, and they're just gonna step in it. Here's a story from Oakland, California: "The sounds of birds may soon compete with the sounds of bets at a marsh in Oakland, Calif., where a landless tribe of Pomo Indians plans to move ahead with construction of a casino and spa next to a wetlands home to a dozen species of birds. 'This is really a wonderful jewel that provides a rare opportunity for people to connect with nature, and having a casino as a next-door neighbor would greatly degrade that,' said Elizabeth Murdock of the Golden Gate Audubon Society."

"Tribe members" — the injuns — "say they have great respect for nature — their tribal symbol features the red tail hawk. But, they argue, they need the casino to get some land of their own and finally become economically self-sufficient."

From the November 24, 2004, broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: When I went to school, when I was going to grade school and it was time to teach us about Thanksgiving, the basic synopsis of what I was told was the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, a bunch of destitute white people. When they arrived, they had no clue what to do. They didn't know how to grow corn, didn't know how to hunt, didn't — basically had — didn't know how to do anything. And if it weren't for the injuns, who befriended them, and gave them coats and skins and taught them how to fish, and share their food and corn with them, the Pilgrims wouldn't have survived.

And the Pilgrims thanked them by killing them and taking over the country and bringing with them syphilis, environmental destruction, racism, sexism, bigotry, and homophobia. That's basically the Thanksgiving story we were all raised with, with the — the latter part of that has been recently added as part of the politically correct multicultural curriculum.

From the September 22, 2004, broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that California schools can continue — they're — calling their "the Redskins." Now, he vetoed a bill that would have banned the use of the term as racially derogatory. The debate over the bill had pitted Democrats, who control the state legislature, against Republicans and Democratic representatives from the rural districts, where at least five high screwl [sic] teams are called the Redskins.

Now, an earlier virgin [sic] of the bill, which ran into opposition in California's legislature, would have banned the use of other American injun nicknames as school team names, including the Chiefs, the Braves and the Papooses.

The Papooses? What kind of a team is named the Papooses? That's — that's losers — it's a bunch of babies. The Papooses is a bunch of babies. "Schwarzenegger said he vetoed the bill because it would have usurped the authority of the local screwl [sic] boards." Hubba, hubba, hubba.

— J.B.

Posted to the web on Thursday August 18, 2005 at 5:12 PM EST

Rob's comment
If it isn't obvious, calling Indians "Injuns" belittles them. As this posting suggests, it's a diminutive nickname intended to slur them. Like "Munchkins" or "Smurfs," it implies they're comical or childlike, not full-fledged people.

Limbaugh shows his contempt for Indians by equating "tribe members" (in quotes) with "injuns." Whatever you call them, he seems to be saying, they and their causes aren't quite legitimate. No doubt they're trying to scam us—to pull the "liberal" or "PC" wool over our eyes.

Oh, and Limbaugh's probably wrong about what he learned in school. He was in grade school in the late 1950s, long before any '60s revisionism began. When I was in grade school, in the mid-'60s, we were still hearing the standard Thanksgiving myth of the good Indians helping the even better Pilgrims.

Based on what I've seen in the Stereotype of the Month contest, as well as in Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, the standard myth still holds. Our children are learning the Pilgrims were the first founders of America, not the first looters and pillagers.

Related links
Rush Limbaugh is a big fat racist
Ten little Pilgrims and Indians
Team names and mascots

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