Exploring the impact of racism and stereotyping of Native Americans

(via Womanist Musings)

Tuscaroras.com looks at how race bias and learned self-hatred can effect Native American children:

As I look back at my grandmother, I realize that she was a victim of racism and taught self-hatred, for as a very young child she was made to feel sub-human and to hate the things that made her different from other children. Not only was she told, on a daily basis, that she was a no good dirty Indian, but she was purposely shown that her ethnicity was not equal to dominant society. My grandmother was taught that the baby doll with blue-eyes and blonde hair was beautiful, but when she looked in the mirror as a young child she saw her ethnic features. My grandmother saw her long dark black hair and almond shaped eyes set in a face with very high cheekbones, which was very different from the blue-eyed baby doll. My grandmother’s self image was greatly affected by this blatant racism that was imposed upon her by those who used the blue-eyed baby doll to teach Indian children that they were not equal to whites.

On the other hand, my friend who is Apache told me that as a child her mother would only allow her to play with ethnic dolls, and that she really wanted to have blue-eyed baby doll. What lessons can we learn from my friend and grandmother’s experience? Read more…

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek, Change.org, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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