Would someone tell me what Brad Bennett said yesterday on his 710 AM talk show re: “Indian giver?” A friend of mine (who is Caucasian) said it was disrespectful, insulting and racist.
I've had this debate. On strict language, this is an expression that denigrates the people who gave things to originals and then broke the agreement. So, it could be a slam on white folks. In reality, the phrase has always had a racial tinge to it, and it is best left for the dust bin of history.
Most of the people I know think it is racially insensitive and offensive. It usually implies that Native Americans are never truly generous, since it implies they only give to get something in return.
People sometimes get in hot water for saying it: "Native Americans object to Kardashian mom's 'Indian giver' remark"
If Brad Bennett said it, you can bet it was disrespectful, insulting and racist.
A couple of years ago he referred to the residents of Harbor View as "porch monkeys."
Somebody actually listens to Brad Bennett?
Louis C.K. on the subject:
People really are not as nice as they used to be, even people that think--like a friend of mine who I think is a nice guy...the other day, he called me an Indian giver.
How--is there anything more offensive than that? Like it's supposed to mean that you gave somebody something and then took it back. And we say "Indian giver" because the idea is that the Indians gave us America, and then tried anyway to take it back. And it's so offensive, when you think of what the truth is, which is that we came here, and we're like--the Indians were already here--and we're like, "Hey, can we have everything?"
And they're like, "I guess, because we don't 'have' things, we just enjoy them, and use them when we need them." And then we start killing all of them. And they're like, "Oh, dude, if that's what 'have' means, can we go ahead and not do that?"
Bennett does exactly what he's paid to do: piss people off. Logic and civility don't figure into the bottom line.
His kids are pretty radical, last I heard. Wonder what the conversation is like around the Thanksgiving dinner table.
I think the context that most anyone would use this phrase, in this time and place, unfortunately would probably be racist.
The etymology behind it seems to point toward a misunderstanding of a (probably generalized) Native American cultural practice of a gift given being kind of a karma token for receiving something comparable, whether symbolically or practically. Seems to have surfaced mid-eighteenth century, certainly amongst ethnocentric east-coast settlers, whose skewed perspectives I won't even get into.
A few years back, I did have an archaeology instructor use the term, which she then graciously explained: when used in the proper context -- that of the U.S gov't signing treaties with already devastated Native American tribes, then recanting on the terms and further driving home the practice of cultural genocide.
So when I hear the term (rarely), I either think 'this person is an asshat/dumb', or how difficult -- and probably futile it is to explain a much more interesting and valuable context to the term. Sigh.
I don't think we're looking for the definition of "Indian Giver" here, enlightening as that is. We're looking for what Brad Bennett said re: the topic the other day during his show. I'm guessing there were no listeners here, though.
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