One of the realities of having a blog is getting hate mail. No matter what you put on the internet, chances are, someone is going to disagree with it, and chances are, they’ll want to tell you about it. Now, I get a lot of love-mail, which always makes my day–stories of how you’ve used the blog to educate classmates, family members, and friends, how you’ve engaged with these issues in deep and meaningful ways, your stories of connecting with the struggle and my experiences–I love them. But I also get a lot of hate mail. A lot. So I thought it was high time I shared some with you all. Even though they’re mean and hurtful, a lot of them are just utterly ridiculous as well, and worthy of a laugh. But I also want to share to show you how deeply folks hold on to their right-to-be-racist, and how not at all shy they are about expressing those ideas directly to me.
First up, the tweet above. Apparently “The Juicer” thinks not only am I ignorant, I am, in fact, cancerous. Yikes. I should get that checked out.
Most of the recent gold has come from the Victoria’s Secret controversy, because if you mess with anything, don’t you dare mess with America’s right to watch scantily-clad ladies gallivant across the stage on television. How. Dare. I. First, some selected comments from the VS thread (this post was linked on Yahoo, MSN, and the Today Show blog, so a lot of these were first-time Native Approps readers, if that wasn’t obvious. You can also click to make them bigger):
Oh my. MackA uses both Caps-lock and over 20 exclamation marks. They mean business.
Ok, deep breath for the logic on this next one:
Thank you for not reading any of the blog post where it tells you why Native Americans might find this offensive. That would be silly! I’m also so glad that you don’t find it racist. That’s totally what matters. I’m just going to go withhold Halloween candy from innocent white children now. With my “special privileges.”
There are plenty more, if you care to go look
. Now that we’re warmed up, on to the emails.
This one will truly go down in the books as my favorite, because it comes in two parts. Part 1 (pardon the NSFW language!):
“Dimwit Babies” and “Taxpayer’s Tit” sound like really good punk rock band names, amiright? So Mr. Richard sent this email, only to receive my auto-reply, which is a cheerful “Thank you for your submission to Native Appropriations! Your tip might not go up right away…blah blah” It’s nice, or at least I think it is. He thought it was me emailing him back, to which he replied eloquently and succinctly:
This email came as a uninterrupted block of text, which I feel must be read in its entirety to appreciate its beauty:
Have you lost your crazy ass mind? Why is the hell do you find that Victoria Secret model offensive? Apparently you don’t look at it as a beautiful art, or appreciate that people still think about Native Americans. I can’t tell you how wrong you are to consider yourself a Native American, if you are even one, or just putting on a show to draw attention to yourself. Where you here when the white man took the land from the Native Americans? No didn’t think so? Where you here to hear the stories of what the Native Americans went through during that time, nope didn’t think so on that either. You have no right nor busy making anyone hate anything people are doing. So it is ok your majesty to have Native Americans taught in public schools or does all the school in this country (which by the way FYI, you don’t own) need your periods permission. I would hate for my daughter to go to school and not learn about the Native Americans cause they are very interesting to learn about and how they live off the land and not technology like today. Let me know so I can let her school know that someone like you finds it offensive. That model had a beautiful outfit on and Im sorry LOL but since when did Native Americans have Leopard print??? Just curious…. since just the hair dress offended you. I don’t see you wearing one in your picture. Do you go around telling people not to dress or talk about the Native Americans?? I know when I was a kid we did a play and a bunch of white and black kids were running around and dancing like them, would that have offended you?? There is a high school not far from where I live that mascot is a Native American is that wrong too??? You can’t change history, no one can, but your a sick minded person to think it is wrong for a company to come up with something that is Native American, and you have no right blasting anything on the internet that proves to the other races that it is wrong too. I have a feeling if you were old enough you would of been burning crosses in black families yards back in the old days, wouldn’t you?? You need to find another hobby and lay off the fact that people are making things that has something to do with Native Americans. I don’t think not one Native American man would have any objections to that model wearing that. This is the land of the free or at least people want to think so but apparently people like you want to stop that from happening. Your not God and you can’t change the world so stop wasting your time and others with that fucken garbage, no one cares what you think or what you want done to make it go perfect. Let people enjoy the colors and the style that the Native Americans created for you and the rest of the world to see and appreciate, let the children of the next generation and many more to follow enjoy it or no one will even know who the Native Americans even were. I was able to understand it in history class but if stupid bitches like you continue to bitch and moan about it then they will terminated forever.
I have so many words, but not that many. I’ll let that one lie. I just love the jump from me talking about VS to my being a cross-burning racist in years of yore. Oh, and one last thing:
Finally, the hate comes from all sides, and I actually get some from Native folks too, mostly those who a) don’t think I’m a “real Indian” and/or b)think that issues of representation and cultural appropriation are masking the “real” issues in Indian Country. One “group” in particular sends me harassing emails quite often, culling the internet for personal details about me and my activities at school, pretending they have talked to my friends and classmates, and overall just trying to scare me into submission. They hide behind masked IP addresses, and when I graciously offered to give them a platform on my blog–I even said they could say anything they wanted–they declined. Go figure. But the best part, oh the best part, is the cartoons. I now am the proud owner of over 10 of these poorly-photoshopped masterpieces:
Notice the little headband added onto the man in bed. Adorbs. Most of them involve a “Cherokee” who doesn’t care about “real issues” in Indian Country. Omg, is that me?! Also, for the record, I never once have questioned anyone’s identity, except maybe Johnny Depp.
The irony is not lost on me that they think I should stop wasting my time on these issues, when they clearly have plenty of time to waste making these cartoons and scouring the internet for my personal information. Good times. Am I giving them more fodder to use against me by publishing these? Maybe. But come on, these are awesome. Though I only wish I had a cute little anime outfit like the “Cherokee” above. A girl can dream.
But the bottom line with all of this? Let’s think about what I’m doing with the blog. I’m asking, admittedly sometimes demanding, that Native peoples be allowed to be represented in real and respectful ways. That we be afforded the same basic human right that other groups enjoy, so that we can be proud of our living, contemporary cultures and nations. I honestly have a hard time seeing why you would react so vehemently against that. I get that I’m disrupting privilege, and when folks aren’t prepared for that, they react negatively. But for my Native brothers and sisters who don’t agree with me, I’m sorry. I’m not doing this to mask the “real issues”–I’m doing this so that the facade of Indians-as-fantasy-characters, Indians-as-situated-in-the-historic-past, Indians-as-savages, can be torn away and the real images of who we are as contemporary people, struggles and all, can replace them. Do I argue that this is the only thing we should focus on? Absolutely not, and I never have. This is just one sliver of a multi-pronged fight.
So yay, hate mail. Superhappyfuntimes, right?
Since I kinda brought it down at the end, enjoy one more, just for fun. This one from a Cherokee sister:
With “infinate love and understanding in the universe”,