Saturday, November 21, 2009

key insults native americans

So whilst discussing the stadium in Dunedin, our Prime Minister key says, "we are not indian givers."
"When questioned whether the Government might ask for the money back if it was not finished in time, Mr Key said: "I don't think so.
"We're not Indian-givers."
This is an insulting term that denigrates native americans.

"Indian giver derives from the alleged practise of American Indians of taking back gifts from white settlers. It is more likely that the settlers wrongly interpreted the Indians' loans to them as gifts. This term, which is certainly American, may have been coined to denigrate of the native race. Historians would now agree that, where deceit was concerned, it was the settlers who were the front runners. It isn't uncommon, and it could be argued that it is customary, for the conquering race to attempt to justify their invasion by dismissing the conquered as dishonest and stupid."
And from the straight dope
"Indian" was once used by the white man as an all-purpose adjective signifying "bogus" or "false," owing to the supposedly low morals of the red man. Thus you had "Indian summer," false summer late in the year; "Indian corn" and "Indian tea," cheap substitutes for products the original colonists had known back in England; and "Indian giver," someone who gives you something and then takes it back.
But of course Europeans were the real Indian givers, repeatedly promising the Indians reservations by treaty and then stealing them back once valuable farmland or minerals were found."
Now we know key isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but this insult is not acceptable. We all unconsciously use terms that once examined, we realise are inappropriate. This is one of those situations.

Apologise to native americans. Start thinking before you insult indigenous people.

The positive from this is that the term is now more known for the cheating of the native americans - not much different from the broken treaties and promises over here and the cheating of maori that occured and still occurs.

1 comment:

feddabonn said...

thanks for pointing this out, marty.

even though the argument may be made that this is 'usage' and not a deliberate insult, i sometimes think the language choices we make betray deep seated prejudices we have.