What's Offensive?

This topic contains 120 replies, has 20,126 voices, and was last updated by  1_optimistic 14 years ago.

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  • #19489

    Deirdre
    Participant

    Linda,

    You’ve given me something to really think about. Do we see Indians as a “bunch of Mexicans”? I hope not. It has a demeaning sound to it when put in that context, so I certainly hope Natives don’t feel that way. Being Mexican is great, I’m sure. Knowing what you are is what is really great and my ultimate goal. I just want to honor the ancestors properly. Not haphazardly, fishing around in the dark.

    Lewis,

    So sorry about the job. Sometimes shedding is a good thing. I used to cut my long dark wavy locks each time I’d leave a man. Like water flowing, I’d shed all the “stuff” that got caught up in my crown and wait for the snow to melt from the snow-capped mountains, only to flow again and fill the rivers. Wiser for my experience. Revitalized, strong, and healthy, it was always more beautiful than before. Your crown will grow.

    Yes, it depends on where you live, but watch out-people up here tend to “pretend” to be open minded and it’s easy to get fooled.

    Lynne,

    Yes, yes, yes, yes. Amen to purity of motive. This is what sustains me. This is what the Spirit knows about me and this is what will guide me to my truth.

    Be in Peace everyone,

    Golden Swallow

    #19491

    Deirdre
    Participant

    As I ponder it, this is a good thread. Some may be tiring of it, but it is a good thread. Thank you Erica for your brave heart to even start it. It is a dialogue that is needed for healing. For me, it is emptying out some things that need to surface so that I can let go of the unimportant things that separate us. You see, perhaps we have let the offender succeed by making us think that it is we who are offensive merely because we exist. I have to ask myself. What is offensive.? It’s a much larger question. Is it mixed bloods who are offensive? And if so, to whom and why? If we offend, merely because we are, do we offend that which created us? Is that even possible? I accept that people have to receive and acknowledge things in their time, but I am not sure that our time is the Spirit’s time as well. What is offensive? What is the purpose of mixed bloods in America and what can be learned of the experience? What good can come out of it, you know what I mean? Can our country be changed or improve through the mixed blood experience? You see I truly feel, because of my personal mixed heritage, that this country is truly mine. A part of me was always here, not just imported.

    (O.K. I’m not on drugs and i don’t consume a lot of alcohol, so stay with me on this)

    It’s just that suddenly, the original question got me thinking of deeper things.

    Golden Swallow

    aka Deirdre

    #19495

    Deirdre
    Participant

    Hmmm. First, what the Nottaways experienced if horrific.

    Your words. Strong words. Walk lightly Linda. Be careful linking whites and Blacks with regards to encroaching upon Native lands. My history teaches me that at one time we had a common oppressor and we banded together however briefly for our collective survival, despite our differences. Also, freedom for Blacks has not been restored because we never really had it to begin with in this country. We still do not. Racism is alive and strong in subtle and overt ways; from being passed up for a job using all kinds of excuses – you need a Masters degree, or you’re over qualified, to being out priced for houseing in our own neighborhoods, to hate crimes, to being called _____. We were imported as live stock to help cultivate, first a new breed of tobacco that was palatable, and then other crops (cotton, indigo) which we died in large numbers and never ever received the fruit of our own labor. I’d like to think that we wouldv’e shared this fruit with our friendly Native neighbors had we ever had the opportunity to, but internal racism crushed that. Our (Aficans/Natives) common enemy may not even have been the white MAN, but his tool of destruction – capitalism.

    When you speak of First People, I understand this term to mean the First people in this country. Research and biological studies have proven that the first people of the world were of African descent. That we all descended from a common female out of Africa. This is why racism to me is so rediculous, because when we dishonor one African , we dishonor ourselves-literally! Finally; yes, mixed bloods are the highest in population and it is growing. I saw a beautiful mixed baby girl tonight at dinner. White father/Black(Indian) mother…Something New! We (mixed bloods) bring something to the table for future generations. We just have to figure out what that is. A common good. And we should go back and learn the traditions of our ancestors and pass them to our children (for those of us who do know them-I am one who is ignorant). The Creator created us for a a reason. So, i guess we all have a steak in this country. This is a good post. It needs to come out. We need to be healed of our wounds.

    -Deirdre

    Golden Swallow

    #19504

    Red Metis
    Participant

    To All,

    A lot of passionate feelings going on here. It is good to see such honesty whether we agree or disagree on this topic(s).

    There is ugliness in every race and even internally. My daughter just asked me today were some black people prejudiced against one another (we were talking about prejudice based on appearances). I told her yes.

    Linda, there are many guilty in contributing to the rape and downfall of the 500 nations. But Deirdre is right–Native Americans and Africans have both suffered from the brutality of those who wanted to carve out a nation FOR THEMSELVES

    #19509

    quest for facts
    Participant

    When I refer to both white and blacks encroaching on us I refer to the free black individuals that came here in the 1600’s and took land and set up their farms and plantations. There are many blacks who were never slaves. How about those regiments of black soldiers who went west to fight the indians? These historical facts can’t be explained away with slavery and lack of freedoms. Slavery is and was a horrible institution ( there are still many slaves in this world). Lewis in regard to your post not all Africans were brought here against their wills and not all were slaves and the soldiers I refer to going west to fight indians were not slaves at this time so no one made them do anything. Another thing there are many blacks in the Congress even our secretary of state is a black woman…answer me this if the Africans “loved” and understood the Native Americans them why is the plight of the Native not changing? The Africans are getting power in our government so why do we as natives have to still continue to be turned down gosh we only seek recognition what harm can come from that? Oh yeah that’s right we might open a casino or the government might have to acknowledge it did someone wrong or better yet they might lose some taxes. So regardless of whether that Congressperson is black or white it’s still a game of repression….let’s keep the native down maybe he’ll out breed himself and just calmly go away. When pigs fly!!!!

    Linda

    #19510

    Red Metis
    Participant

    To All,

    A lot of passionate feelings going on here. It is good to see such honesty whether we agree or disagree on this topic(s).

    There is ugliness in every race and even internally. My daughter just asked me today were some black people prejudiced against one another (we were talking about prejudice based on appearances). I told her yes.

    Linda, there are many guilty in contributing to the rape and downfall of the 500 nations. But Deirdre is right–Native Americans and Africans have both suffered from the brutality of those who wanted to carve out a nation FOR THEMSELVES. America should have been called the land of ‘economic’ opportunity. Opportunity turned a profit and the desire for more gave birth to a pathological greed that is still busily stuffing itself today.

    The peoples of the Americas were in the way and the people from the continent of Africa were merely tools to work toward their owners economic goals. Our apparent inferiority to the civilized ones helped a great deal to rationalize what was being done. Sounds a great deal like the modern, “We’re just trying to help you people!”

    I feel very strongly about issues with women, too. When I would start my anti-testosterone tirades

    :rolleyes: my husband used to ask me why don’t I join with some group to change laws or lobby for better treatment. What in Hades for??? All the laws in the universe cannot change someone’s heart!! If they believe in the inferiority of any group then no law can change that. So, yes, AA is a bad idea because it is USELESS. Many in the majority doesn’t want his mind changed and it causes nasty resentment to have one’s hand forced. But deeper than that, it is an ugly reminder that people are prejudice and it’s wrong to be that way. That these are things that have been passed down through the collective consciousness of our nation. I think it is a WHOLE lot of ignorance, too. Not knowing what another goes through, what their lives are like as a minority, not realizing that there a barriers to face just based on what race a person is perceived to be. What white person has ever been put through the crucible simply because they were a target of prejudice (of course, I’m not referring to being passed over because of AA laws)? I would tell my husband stuff about sexism and he was clueless about it!! I couldn’t believe he didn’t see it, doesn’t notice it, or is not outraged by it…well, until I brought it to his attention. He is a very open person and it still took a while for me to really open his eyes to the prejudice that women still face. He never could see the darts because he didn’t have a target on him for it–it might has well had not existed. He opened himself to being aware by listening to me and giving attention to what I was saying. He could have given me one of those, “Yes, dear” and turned over to work his nightly allotment of logs but he didn’t. I would that people who didn’t have targets on them take notice of those who do. Listen to them, open their eyes. It’s not prejudice to note that the majority of folks who need to do this are the majority–white people.

    I think we all have grievances against those who began this nation and still run it. I also believe that we will never, ever, ever have our sorrows, our own collective conscious of suffering, and what we continue to endure acknowledged. It just ain’t gonna happen. Governments have long-established methods of dealing with those who want fairness–not justice. Justice is based on the law, which is too often unfair. Take a lesson from hurricane Katrina–government has its uses but for the most part, we’re on our own.

    I also believe that it will take __________ to overcome this deeply rooted desire that many have to shape, force, shave, and saw us square, triangular, octagonal, trapezoid, etc pegs to fit in the round holes. If folks are upset with our ambiguity then they will have to live with that discomfort. Of course, having said that, I can still get irked sometimes when my family and I are stared at–many here have expressed their varied appearances, you know what I mean.

    Anthropoligists have debunked the notion of race and yet the government still bugged them on racial guidelines!!! You’re right, Linda, they need to get out of our back pockets and actually do something useful.

    Yes, this is a good thread. What’s offensive? People like us–daring to name ourselves, honor our ancestry and claim our relatives, know who our people are, and I think, most of all, demanding to be treated as a creation of the Creator–he had the wisdom to use such colors and textures.

    It is human shortsidedness to lack appreciation of his works.

    #19512

    Red Metis
    Participant

    <>

    Linda

    Divide and conquer. The PTB DO NOT want any African/Native/Hispanic peoples realizing that if they really, truly, and firmly united then someone’s posterior would really be in some deep kimchee. And yes, the government certainly does want the “Indian problem” to vanish into history–sadly lamented but lauded and honored by a few stolen, chipped arrowheads displayed in a dusty museum. NDNs are purposely displayed as a ‘historical’ people because it’s just too damned ugly to admit that Europeans came as outright conquerors. It doesn’t fit neatly into that ‘land of opportunity’ thing. Nobody wants to widely distribute the fact that the founding fathers were in fact, violent squatters and swatters. That sheer greediness, lack of gratitude, backstabbing, bloodspilling, and hypocrisy bought this land at many other people’s expense.

    It would be bad policy to have any Native Americans around for people to see–don’t they have reservations they can live on? They were given some dirt and now they are supposed to fade into the backwater of history. If they are really lucky, the government that has no true authority over them will acknowledge them as ‘real Indians’ and give them a bone or two of federal aide gift-wrapped in red tape.

    If they had a real voice and an image that fit who they truly are then someone might let slip that this country really did get off on the wrong foot and ask for redress from those who took without asking. Those kind of questions might lead to other questions and the whole pile might topple or at best, there’d be a lot of ka-ka to clean up.

    I believe that many blacks are so caught up in trying to get ‘a fair deal’ that they have completely forgotten the plight of other disenfranchised folks. A lot of wrong by blacks has been done historically to the original peoples of this country (and to themselves by unc Toms). If coming down on someone else met that it might get a white man off their case, well…or if we have to follow your lead…. Given the history of the relationship between whites and blacks, it might be too easy to make the wrong choice.

    I think the cream skimmers want it that way, too. It’s amusing to watch the dogs fight over scraps. Too bad that the dogs get hurt fighting over the occasional token bone.

    For the life in me, I have no true ideas of what to do about this sad state of affairs. Equality seems like some ideal that is so far above what is able to be done in reality. I am struggling not to be bitter about the truth but it’s so very hard. I try to remember my own father’s family–they were prejudiced against their black neighbors and my own grandparents (Redbone and Choctaw) weren’t thrilled with their son not marrying another Native or at least someone who had the same background as Nanny did. My mother’s father and mother’s families didn’t get along either. Ignorant ‘damn-near white’ folk on one side and ‘uppity n_____’ on the other. I like to think it’s in my bones but I’m performing surgical extraction to remove it. But I can tell anyone, bitterness is located at the back of the tongue and it’s the taste that takes the longest to fade.

    #19513

    quest for facts
    Participant

    It seems you may have gotten my point Red Metis thank you for that. Neither blacks or whites are innocent in the plight of the Native American. I have been guilty of saying this in the past…the black people of today are just a mirror image of the white people…they both seek POWER. I try not to be bitter but like you said it is hard. Now I also know within both the black and white races we really do have some good friends this I do not deny. A persons actions and actions alone make who they are and those of good action are worthy of my respect.

    The Creator made all of us and we should remember that. He doesn’t care for one race above the other. HE sees no COLOR. We are just his children.

    We are bi racial, we are triracial but there are so MANY of us……WHY WHY can’t we unite and change this country….not so anyone has to eat ka-ka but so we can truly ALL be equal. Why can’t we honestly stand on what our Constitution says….ALL are created equal…..We the people. Because folks we are the people. I understand this is an ideal that will probably never be realized because even the mixed blood can’t get pass all the hurt and indignity. But if it happens it has to come from us we are the core the largest and strongest of this country.

    Linda

    #19515

    quest for facts
    Participant

    Lewis, check your history.

    Linda

    #19523

    Red Metis
    Participant

    Linda writes:

    It seems you may have gotten my point Red Metis thank you for that. Neither blacks or whites are innocent in the plight of the Native American. I have been guilty of saying this in the past…the black people of today are just a mirror image of the white people…they both seek POWER. I try not to be bitter but like you said it is hard. Now I also know within both the black and white races we really do have some good friends this I do not deny. A persons actions and actions alone make who they are and those of good action are worthy of my respect.

    The Creator made all of us and we should remember that. He doesn’t care for one race above the other. HE sees no COLOR. We are just his children.

    Red Metis replies:

    You are welcomed. You had somethng to say that is important to you–I do not mind listening, cousin. Yes, I did get your point and I can see your anger. Nobody but nobody can stand up and claim to have done no harm. There are no innocents. All races have done harm to others and to each other.

    Living with white people definitely changed the people that were brought here from the shores of Africa. Seperated from their homes, their way of life, their food, clothing…It created an enormous vacuum that could only filled by the only other people that slaves lived with–whites. What else was there? If over time many of the attitudes whites espoused were taken up, it’s not surprising to me. It’s also common in suppressed cultures to be forced to emulate the dominate culture–the more it’s done, the more acceptable they appear to be.

    There may be plenty of blacks in this or that position or doing such-and-such but as someone raised as a black person, I can tell you that like many others it’s usually either for their own advancement or to look really good in the eyes of others as so-called leaders.

    I have not seen many blacks that are actually out to really do something and the ones that are have usually banded with folks of other colors. (Yeah, like this poor woman that got dragged out of city hall by the cops for talking about the ‘good ol’boy’ network still alive and well. There were a lot of blacks, whites, and even a few Indians that were there to give her support). Isn’t it ironic that those who actually want a change for good and to right the wrongs are given the smallest megaphone in the crowd? Only once in a great while do you actually see change from folks who are truly altruistic, like MLK, Ghandi, and others. I don’t believe it’s particularly seen as a virtue in a lot of places–the virtue of looking out for self and all others, too.

    Hmm, having said that I have to stifle my feelings of thinking that my own Choctaws betrayed their way of life by emulating whites. And as Indians and blacks have learned, it won’t keep them from turning on you and biting you in —.

    I think that the fact our of racial mixture should speak for itself. It is ironic that we can speak of injustice and prejudice that has been done when we HAVE the blood of all those people! I put my face in my hands and wonder why we cannot see each other as the Creator sees us. Then I remember that you can see and hear people say, “God bless America” all the time. I know good and darn well they ain’t talking about folks like us. If there are any blessings to be had from the Creator then pray they go to the sick, the young and the old that are neglected, the ones that have lost their way, the abandoned ones, the ones who have been locked away without just cause, the ones whose hatred blinds them, the ones who are not even born free, the ones who search for a shaft of light in such darkness, the ones who cry because they do not know how they will feed themselves or their loved ones, the ones who crouch in fear not knowing what another….

    I’m trying hard to deal with my deep cynicism but it is a real struggle in these atmospheric conditions!

    It would be nice if we banded together in our own culture like the Canadian Metis. There are Metis groups here–I belong to one. It would show that we are a people that are bonded together through the common blood of the original inhabitants of this land.

    Lewis,

    There were quite a few free blacks or ‘free persons of color’ in the 1600s. Most of them lived around Virginia and it’s surrounding states. Didn’t last long, though. Interestingly enough, many of them married white and other biracial people (mainly free black men marrying freed white women!!)–I read a paper online about this somewhere–it had names and dates of people. I’ll have to dig it up and post it to the group.

    #19526

    roca
    Participant

    Like others on this list,I was raised AA and have AA,EA,and NA ancestors.

    Over a decade ago,I went to a football game in FL with a friend of mine.I don’t like football;the only reason I went to the game was because I was driving her to

    see her daughter who came with a football coach.(the young girl’s father)

    The team’s name was the Chiefs. 🙁 As the fans on our side of the stadium got

    more spirited,out comes the “tomahawk chopping gesture”.(No explanation needed!)

    My friend urged me to get into the spirit and began to raise my arm up.I put it down!Again she raised it;I put it down again.I told her that out of respect for my

    late g-grandmother (part black,1/2 Mattaponi) and her father (FB Mattaponi),my arm was going to stay down.Whereupon she rudely told me I needed to “get black

    and stay black!”Wow!I wasn’t expecting that to come from her since she told me

    previously she was 1/8-1/4 Cherokee. :confused:((Was dark-skinned and kinky haired.)

    I went a few months ago to meet with the local AA geneological society.We’re

    all talking about our families and someone let out a bomb that some black Americans see relatives with “high cheekbones and brown complexion” and assume there’s some “NDN” ancestry.Well,I have brown complexion and kinky hair and someone told me I have some ancestors from W Africa and I bought that!(I didn’t say that,but that’s what i was thinking!)I thought this group would

    know better but it looks like they only wish to trace the African ancestry.

    Because this is a “Black Indian” thread,what became of the Black Native American Association,bnaa.org,based in the SF Bay area?I haven’t gotten any response yet from them.

    I’ve also visited the website for the Black and Intertribal Native American Association.(BINAA) I think the URL is blackindians.com or .org(?) They claim to be a state-recognized tribe in IL.(?) They have members who range from mixed to

    FB.I heard from them that it’s possible for some people to be FB but of mixed tribal ancestry and not qualify for registration in any tribe one is descended from.

    (?) There’s also a page on that site listing famous Black Indians.past and present.

    Anyone know more about these 2 organizations?Thank you.

    Roca

    #19528

    1_optimistic
    Participant

    The following comment was posted on another thread but I know how it feels to be beaten down by black people who don’t want to accept racial mixing.

    Just Black

    Hi,

    I too am tired of African American people talking down to us Black Indians about being “just black.” I had a conversation with one person who is African American and her parents were from Trinidad. She said, “Black people from North Carolina get on my nerves about saying they have Indian in their family…..they just black.” But on the other hand, she would always talk about Trinidad and her people from TRINIDAD!!!! She had no right to say that because I did not tell her…..”Your parents are from Trinidad but your just black!!!! I am sure she would have gotten upset.

    Personally, we should all embrace our ancesters and not try to dishonor other ancestry. Just something to think about.

    Erica

    #19535

    lynne pepper
    Participant

    Originally posted by 1_optimistic

    The following comment was posted on another thread but I know how it feels to be beaten down by black people who don’t want to accept racial mixing.

    Just Black

    Hi,

    I too am tired of African American people talking down to us Black Indians about being “just black.” I had a conversation with one person who is African American and her parents were from Trinidad. She said, “Black people from North Carolina get on my nerves about saying they have Indian in their family…..they just black.” But on the other hand, she would always talk about Trinidad and her people from TRINIDAD!!!! She had no right to say that because I did not tell her…..”Your parents are from Trinidad but your just black!!!! I am sure she would have gotten upset.

    Personally, we should all embrace our ancesters and not try to dishonor other ancestry. Just something to think about.

    Me:

    I agree with you. There is little way to resolve the past.

    And in reading all the other posts before this one, it occurs to me that while it is a good thing to know what really happened historically….we don’t have to re-live it. There is a big difference between knowing, and having to re-live what happened. I point out discrepencies in history (American, and NA) to my husband all the time, but it causes me no wrenching misery. I realize that people were killed, miserable, getting by as best they could…..and in our own way, this is still happening, all over the world. We live in the now. It is up to us, and our good blood, to make any kind of positive difference.

    If we were all together in the flesh, I would say that everyone should dance this out. And in dancing it, some kind of personal resolution could be found. This is the real value of living in an Indian way….or if you like, living in an archaic way…where everything is brought down to its most basic, and *personal* level.

    Lynne

    Erica

    #19536

    lynne pepper
    Participant

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by quest for facts

    [Africans “loved” and understood the Native Americans them why is the plight of the Native not changing?

    Me:

    Whatever happened in the past, things have changed now. Groups have banded together to promote their own interests. I suspect that may be why some blacks are not pleased with Indians who they perceive as black who do not call themselves black, and conversely the same for whites who reject those who they think are white people playing Indian. It might be perceived as defection in either case…..meaning that there is a pervasive thought that someone can tell someone else who they are, with out regard to what the subject themselves have to say.

    And certainly this has been a big part of the history of the US in regard to Indians. Sorry about the Nottoway….they shouldn’t give up in their quest, if this is what they really want.

    Yes, almost all parties would like for Indians to disappear by “outbreeding”. One tragedy in all this, is that most Indians in this country hold onto this idea themselves. Its a numbers game….with so few “recognized Indians”, eventually there will be no Indians, unless Indians themselves change the parameters of the game.

    Allow me to digress…..so many tribes continually took in adoptees, of other tribes and other races…to prevent themselves from going extinct as a people….it is sad to see the state of affairs today where blood quontum, and test of appearance seem to call the shots. With this kind of “plan” in place, what our ancestors feared WILL come to pass. Virtual extinction. Take into account as well, that Indians have to be sanctified by the government to be “real”, it is in the interests of the govenment to keep Indians as museum pieces, or marginalized “wildlife” on reservations, and keep the numbers down. Sadly, this is all part of the sanctification process, otherwise called government recognition.

    Sure, it would be great to be officially recognized to all the world as what you are. But even as people, how many of us can say that about our persons, our lives, or our hearts?

    Yes, we could change the perception of the country, and even the world, if we all came out as mixed race Indians. Perhaps this would encourage other people of mixed race to be upfront about what they are too. And maybe over time, we could kill off this myth that the mixed race are anamolies. The whole world sees the US as “multi-ethnic”, when in fact, its mixed race. Its not just “diverse peoples and cultures living side by side”, a whole lot of it is mixed race and blended cultural traditions living side by side and pretending that they are vastly different.

    Regards,

    Lynne

    #19543

    Dreaminghawk
    Moderator

    This has become a phenomenal (sp) thread. I applaud everyone’s candor and civility. Before I add any comments, please read the thread at the link below. It is my story of coming of age in the 60’s in klan country.

    http://www.saponitown.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1024&highlight=it+aint+right

    Ken

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