Steven Salaita: Nothing scarier than a nervous white man: The “Redskins” debate is really about white privilege – Salon.com

The Redskins mascot is a powerful symbol and progenitor of majoritarian angst in today’s United States.Much has been said about the deleterious effects of the Redskins mascot on Native communities; supporters of the mascot demand that its opponents quit being so uptight or politically correct the stupidest and most insidious red herring in the American lexicon. I am uninterested in rehashing this debate. I instead would like to argue that the redskin has little to do with actual Indians and almost everything to do with the peculiar disquiet of a whiteness perceived to be in decline.Whiteness has always been defined in contradistinction to the invented authenticity of the Indian, who is typecast as barbaric but romanticized as the shamanistic guide to North America’s indigenous spaces, those mystical geographies of the settler’s overactive imagination. We see the same phenomenon in the Zionist appropriation of ostensibly Oriental culture, as when an Israel Day celebration on my campus featured traditional Arabic food and a live camel. The historical Indian, then, was dispossessed and has been retrofitted to Hollywood specifications, repatriated only to the extent that he can serve as a passive emblem of American identity.Humane assimilationists of the past set out to save the man but kill the Indian. These days the goal is to save the fake Indian so we don’t kill the white man.

via Nothing scarier than a nervous white man: The “Redskins” debate is really about white privilege – Salon.com.

 

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