Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
January 23, 2007
P R E S S R E L E A S E
Contact: Christine Rose 203-256-9720 or 203-543-9720
Larry the Cable Guy management:
9255 Sunset Blvd. Suite 1040
Los Angeles, CA 90069
On December 4, Larry the Cable Guy told a joke using the word "squaw" followed by an intensely negative description on The Tonight Show. Has our country taken a giant step backward with this sudden rash of racism and hateful spewing by such celebrities as Michael Richards, Mel Gibson and now Larry the Cable Guy?
Celebrities are role models; their words travel around the globe and their fame depends on the support of the public. Comments made by well known, long established stars such as Michael Richards and Mel Gibson are astonishing in that they attack the very people who make their careers possible. Let's hope that Larry the Cable Guy makes a fast and sincere apology to Native Americans, who up until now have been a source of support for Larry.
The word "squaw" was derived by the early European traders from an Algonquin word that described women's genitalia and was used to refer to prostitutes. Its misuse has followed American Indian women throughout history and the meaning has evolved into common usage. Its meaning, however, has never escaped American Indian women who have always found it offensive. Larry the Cable Guy proved its prevalence in being used in a derogatory manner by accompanying the word squaw with the slang word "skank."
According to an article by Karen Hill and Linda Artichoke in "The Cherokee One Feather," " Native women are the most battered, most stalked, most murdered group of women in America" and that a Department of Justice report on violence "states the perpetrators of violence against Native American women are not Native 70 percent of the time."
Changing Winds Advocacy Center
PO Box 801
Fairfield, CT 06824
Harjo: Stop giving Indian money to anti-Indians and their backers
Posted: December 08, 2006
by: Suzan Shown Harjo / Indian Country Today
Tribal leaders, in their haste to make friends by giving gaming revenue to non-Indians, sometimes have funded people and entities that are part of this national anti-Indian movement. Tribal funds also have enhanced the campaign coffers of some politicians who support the anti-Indian agenda and many more who do not oppose it.
Even less comprehensible are the tribal resorts that feature comedians who say the same things for laughs that the ONU members say for real.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm 100 percent for their free-speech rights to say any old racist thing they want. I just don't think that Native peoples' monies should support their anti-Indian speech. The same goes for "political speech," which is legalese for campaign dollars.
For all those who book jokesters in tribal casinos, here's one to avoid like the plague — Larry the Cable Guy from the "redneck humor" genre that mostly mocks poor white Southerners. His Dec. 4 appearance on the NBC's "Tonight Show" started off with a "joke" about a movie of "an Indian woman who found religion, called the 'Squaw Skank Redemption."'
I can't recall a worse statement related to a Native woman on national television, intended to be humorous or not. It should have been bleeped. But that didn't happen. And another slur against Native women seeped into the public consciousness.
It's interesting that defenders of "squaw" claim the word isn't offensive or vulgar. Here we see Larry the Cable Guy explicitly using it as a vulgarism. He implies what many people think: that "squaw" is the Indian equivalent of "skank."
Squaw: the s-word
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