Racist Paranoia: Stifling Menominee

In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court decreed that we Indians have a RIGHT, not a privilege, to read, write and speak our heritage languages anywhere, including in the work place. Schools count as work places. The teacher's rationale for reprimanding this girl is racist and paranoid. She assumes that any words she doesn't know are automatically negative. She should be suspended without pay for a month in reprimand, and forced to make a public apology to this girl and the entire Menominee Nation. I had a microscopic part in helping the Menominee get their Reservation status back, gadjillion years ago. I'm a grandmother and a Pipe Keeper. This kind of uphill battle is ridiculous. To this teacher, I would say,"Takuni slolyaye sni ye. Yuonihanh tuktel he?" - You know nothing. Where is your respect?"

~ Carel Two-Eagle
To all the Native Americans who came out swinging on a recent article in The Shawano Leader, I say this: I am in awe of all you.

Peep this bullshit our Native siblings are dealing with:
Parents of a child at Sacred Heart Catholic School are upset about the school's decision to bench the girl for "attitude issues" after she spoke a few words in the Menominee language at school.

The seventh-grader's mother, Tanaes Washinawatok, said her daughter, Miranda, was not allowed to play in the basketball game Jan. 19 after being reprimanded that day for using the Menominee language during a homeroom supervised by teacher Julie Gurta.

..."The teacher came in and told my child, 'You are not to be speaking like that. How do I know you're not saying something bad and how would you like it if I spoke Polish and you didn't understand.'"

...Other principals said they had not encountered similar situations, but noted that if a full conversation was going on, they would handle it as Gurta had.

"The teacher would probably ask the students to speak in a language that they could understand because they would have no idea what they were saying to one another," said Keary Mattson, principal at Gresham Community School. "It could be anything from bullying to racist comments to threats. We certainly need to know what students are talking about."
Oh...shut the fuck up.

Many of the Native commenters brought up how white folks shipped Native kids off to boarding schools and prohibited them from speaking their own languages.  Breaking the rule resulted in beatings.  And this isn't ancient history; it's living memory for some of the commenters.  In fact, some commenters talked about how this type of attitude is precisely what killed several of their tribal tongues.

Seriously...this is one article where you definitely want to read the comments.  It's an education and a half.

Why are the teachers listening so intently to this girl's conversations with her friends anyway?  Do they zero in on the white kids' conversations, or are white kids allowed the privilege of respected privacy?  How many white kids actually get in trouble in the event they say something inappropriate in English?  What's with the "what if" bullshit and why does Mattson dare insinuate the possibility of racism when she is defending a racist action?  What's with the dog whistle?

Seriously, white America, newsflash: you live on stolen land.  You are the last people to be telling Native Americans when and where they can speak their own damn languages.

"How would you like it if I spoke Polish?" - seriously?  She asked that?  She really asked that?

It's not the same.  How many times and in how many ways do white people have to be told it's not the fucking same????  Native Americans didn't invade Poland and try to exterminate it's indigenous population.  Native Americans didn't ship Polish kids to boarding schools to force them to learn Native American ways.  Polish isn't on the endangered language list.  A white kid speaking Polish to their friends in an American school is not a big deal.  So why is it a big deal when a Native girl in her own country speaks her mother tongue?  Shouldn't we be applauding and encouraging this girl?

Fuck...why isn't Menominee a required course at the school?  Why aren't Native American studies required at every school?

Is anyone else having flashbacks of Arizona?  If you recall, white Arizona recently declared war on ethnic studies:
Judge Lewis Kowal’s ruling marked a defeat for the Tucson Unified School District, which appealed the findings issued in June by Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal…

The judge said such teaching promotes activism against white people, promotes racial resentment and advocates ethnic solidarity.
I'm surprised POC are even still allowed to read in Arizona.

This, of course, prompted Latino students - who make up 60% of their district anyway - to start holding their own damn history lessons.  Which is, of course, the very best way to say, "Um...fuck you."

Now an Arizona GOP lawmaker wants a state holiday to celebrate white people.  Never mind Columbus Day, or Washington's birthday, or Jefferson's birthday, or Lincoln's birthday, or pretty much every day which hasn't been kindly donated to one POC group or another in America.

Let's be real; all these efforts to stifle POC progress in terms of education and cultural longevity are simply pathetic attempts at white status preservation.  That's all.  This is about keeping people dumb and under the white thumb - that's it.

To all our Native American siblings out there, the bar honors you and has your back. *nods* Represent.

Comments

  1. Every day the fact that whites are the world's minority (and quickly becoming America's minority) is becoming clearer and clearer. They know things are about to change and they're scared out of their minds.

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    1. What annoys me the most is why they're scared. They're not afraid of mass extermination; POC have better shit to do than slaughter white folks en masse. Just because this is something they've done before and most of them would happily do again doesn't automatically make it our meme as well.

      It's their fear of not being #1. It's their fear of not getting to control everybody. It's their terror at the mere thought of no longer being the center of attention. That girl was minding her own damn business. All her teacher had to do was STFU and do the same.

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    2. QueenofSheba2/7/12, 11:15 AM

      Actually they do seem to fear mass extermination in some way. It's called a guilty conscience.
      All criminals fear they'll eventually get caught and forced to pay their debt to society. In india it's called karma, in christianity it's called 'reaping what you sow', and there's a veritable avalanche coming their way.

      If you doubt that check out the hysteria about future white genetic extinction on white supremacists sites such as Stormfront.

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  2. Leoprincess2/5/12, 11:57 PM

    I love how the girl speaking in her native tongue is automatically construed as being negative. I wonder what would have happened if it had been French? Hmm.

    Reminds me of the scene in 'Rabbit Proof Fence' when the eldest girl said, "Look, new clothes!" in her clan's language to her sister and friend, only for the white nun to snap, "We don't speak that jabber here!". And that movie was based on early 20th century events. Wow. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

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    1. Um, just for the record, Aboriginal kids were getting taken and assimilated until the late 20th century (I think the 70's) and they weren't counted in their census until very late in the 20th century as well.

      Australia is no better in its history and treatment and they haven't evolved beyond their racist natures either.

      I think languages associated with white people are definitely more tolerated, are seen as a sign of being refined, so I don't think French kids speaking in French would be a problem. Chinese, Spanish, Haitian Creole, etc. would probably not be received kindly.

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    2. Leoprincess2/10/12, 1:19 PM

      Yea, I know the practice itself continued until way up in the 1970s; I was just using the era in the film, when the real Molly et al endured being stripped from their family, as a point of reference.

      But you're right about the European languages being viewed as 'refined' though. Girl could have rattled off plans to bomb the place sky-high in perfect French, and the teacher probably would have thought, "Oh, she's so smart!".

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  3. Funny thing..At WW2 The US was freeing Jewish people from the Death Camps..but the US has destroyed nations and enslaved millions. I'm suprised that the Soviets, Nazi, and the Dictators in the Middle East said anything about it.

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  4. These types of instances really, really piss me the fuck off. It reminds me of when I was growing up in POC majority countries and attending bloody INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS, where most of the students were of POC backgrounds. Since these schools where run by USians or the British, we were constantly reprimanded for speaking our mother tongue(s) (including the languages of the country we were living in). Letters were sent home every few months stating that English was the only language to be used on school grounds. It was pathetic. The audacity and plain arrogance of whiteness is never-ending. I love how the principal threw in the possibility of the girl making "racist comments"....um...against whom?...your ignorant white ass?...I read somewhere that this particular Sacred Heart school has a student body that is over 60% Native American. It’s funny how whiteness' paranoia comes out flaring while in a POC majority space.

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  5. I recall a few people at my school who took some delight in saying rude things in Arabic around teachers who didn't speak it. If it ever got to be a problem, another kid who understood would rat them out. Otherwise it was a non-issue, because people were not being offended. The teachers are making excuses - if it's that big a deal that they can't understand the students, and the school has a large of a native population, maybe it's only logical that proficiency in Menominee be a requirement to teach at that school

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    1. THIS! The teachers should be required to have at least intermediate level listening/speaking skills in Menominee.

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  6. Its funny that white people say that POC are over-sensitive...when a Native American Students' conversation in her own people's language is being censored on the basis of imagined "racist comments" against white people. White people are the masters of projection.

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  7. @Racist white folks: If you're going to live in this country, LEARN THE LANGUAGE!!!!!!



    Sound familiar?

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  8. Wooooooooo! Where do I start?

    "Why are the teachers listening so intently to this girl's conversations with her friends anyway?"

    That was the very first thought that crossed my mind. Why is it any of their business in the first damn place?

    "Now an Arizona GOP lawmaker wants a state holiday to celebrate white people. Never mind Columbus Day, or Washington's birthday, or Jefferson's birthday, or Lincoln's birthday, or pretty much every day which hasn't been kindly donated to one POC group or another in America."

    It's so hilarious that whenever POC want something to acknowledge their humanity in a nation where it's constantly being suppressed, all of a sudden, white people want the same damn thing as if their whiteness hasn't been promoted for the last 500-plus years. This white resentment syndrome is crazy, man.

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    1. White Americans need to get over the fact that the world they live in multilingual. Even England, motherland of English, is multi-friggin-lingual.

      I just posted a story about something similar on the Blasian Narrative - why is the American instinct to force non-English speakers to speak English? Why not simply set about to learn the other person's language?

      Is it because of work? Lawd knows we all know about white Americans and hard work.

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    2. That's a coincidence. I did something similar here not too long ago:

      http://brothawolf.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/in-english/

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    3. For real. White kids say fucked up things in English to kids of color all the time, and get away with it. Same thing with straight kids verbally abusing gay kids, and non-Muslim kids harassing the living hell out of Muslim kids.

      And where are the consequences then? How many times do we hear about these bullies getting off scot-free?

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    4. I find it bullshit that white kids get away with so much shit. It's ridiculous. Everybody should be treated the same way yet, they aren't and it's not ok. Not at all!

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  9. What the fuck...Just What the fuck, really. I can't believe that shit, I'd be applauding her right now. Talk about them being L̃̃ô đits just ugh is all I gotta say. I think school systems should encourage being proud of one's ethnicity, whether it's Caucasian or not. I'm sorry the school system did little to make anybody who wasn't all white feel very proud of who they were.

    And I have to say I'm happy and love myself for who I am and what I am now; but when I was little I didn't understand and it hurt. And it hurts worse when some of your own family members aren't proud of what they are a reject their roots and culture. That has to hurt the worst, because when you know your own family members aren't proud of their ethnicity there's a problem not only for them but yourself when you try to embrace your ethnicity regardless of what your family members think. It hurts and it's tough, but we all deserve to be proud of who we are and what we are no matter what. And it'd be really nice if we lived in a world with little to no racism. I obviously know that's not going to happen because of so many backwards thinking people but; we can unite together and together stand as one against those who want to shame us for being who we are and what we are.

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  10. For the commenters trying to come on here and brand this a "non-issue", save your breath.

    This is an issue. Racism isn't a straight line; it's a cycle. It goes around and comes around, and this suppression of language and historical knowledge has gone and come before. Just because this isn't new doesn't make it any less infuriating.

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  11. Lifecoaster2/6/12, 8:20 PM

    Once again, racist whites show their asses and front like racism's POC's fault. They're just upset that, that girl reminded them that they are crooks on stolen land. That's like a thief moving in your house and telling you what to say in your home. Wtf?!! I have yet to see another kind of people do this kind of shit.

    As for "White People Day", it already exists. It's actually called "Every Other Damn Day not in February or Martin Luther King Day". Smh

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    1. That's like a thief moving in your house and telling you what to say in your home.

      WORD.

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  12. So the ignorant are trying to comment on here...wonderful. Why don't we teach them a lesson :)

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  13. Denying the past and the present isn't going to help matters any. Perhaps the subject of racism and other kind of prejudices wouldn't exists if it weren't for the fact that it took place and that it has been passed down many generations. Why should they hate us? We were violated( All minorities)because we weren't accepted for who we were and disrespected for our way of life.As long as they try to pretend that they are the heroes of the world it will always be an issue.

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  14. Well, you know I think part of this stems from the fact that white people feel the need to inject themselves into EVERY conversation, even when it is none of their business, even when their opinions and perspectives are not needed or wanted (esp. b/c of their love of whitesplaining everything), and even when they don't have any horse in the race so to speak.

    They cannot stand to be left out of the conversation b/c they LOVE to butt in and tell you why you are wrong, and since so many of them are monolingual, when you use another language they can't take over the conversation.

    So then they use BS excuses to make everyone speak English so no one can have any "secrets." You know, the Native Americans or the Mexicans could be plotting to overthrow them if we let them have their own language.

    They have been beating and torturing people out of using their native languages in pretty much every continent that they invaded and stole. So this is par for the course as far as I'm concerned.

    I mean, let's be honest, they want everyone to speak English even when they aren't in the U.S.

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