Alligator's anti-Indian cartoon notable for racism and stupidity
December 13, 2005—A cartoon that recently appeared in The Independent Florida Alligator, a student newspaper for the University of Florida, has caused quite some excitement, anger, and anguish.
The single-panel cartoon features Albert the Alligator is strangling a crudely-drawn stereotypical barefoot, feather-wearing Native American. An added speech bubble which states "Sorry Albert, but it's considered culturally insensitive to kill a Native American this close to Thanksgiving", accompanied by an accusatory finger with NCAA scrawled on the sleeve really takes the proverbial cake.
First of all, does this mean that it is okay to kill a Native American, as long as it isn't done on or around Thanksgiving? By clearing stating that it isn't okay just because it's around Thanksgiving seems to give the provocation to go and do it around the non-secular holiday. Say that it is March 28th and you have the chance to do so. Does that mean it's okay? Would it be 'culturally sensitive'? Certainly not!
Take into consideration the fact that Thanksgiving is a holiday that doesn't celebrate the joining of two cultures, but quite the opposite. Thanksgiving actually honors the day in 1621 when five hundred Pequot and Wampanog men, women, and children were burned, tortured, and murdered by the white settlers, the Pilgrims, just for living. It's hardly the family-friendly holiday that has been made out to be.
At first glance to many (especially to me), the editorial cartoon is a 'comical' look at the NCAA's decision to ban Native American mascots and imagery from college athletic teams. The desecration of an entire people has been put under the public microscope, allowing people to make assumptions, form opinions, and make snide comments about how "they should be proud to have a team named after them". Again, it is no honor to be profiled into a stereotype, and it certainly is no honor to have an entire race put into scrutiny via this editorial cartoon.
The way that the NCAA is depicted, interfering through the speech bubble, is a direct attack at protecting the indigenous culture and pride of the Seminole. It is construed as being a 'hilarious' poke in a "Now, now, you know better than that" attitude.
Personally, I want to know what was going through the mind of Andy Marlette (the artist). Did he think that his crass attempt at being humorous would be taken lightly by the Seminole tribe (based in Florida), as well as Indian Country in a whole? Did he think he could get away, unscathed, using artistic license as his shield?
Also, will the Seminole tribal members find it fit to change their minds regarding allowing FSU to use their name and imagery? Perhaps. Marlette's illustration has begun to dig its own grave.
I wonder if the mourners will do the 'tomahawk chop' at that funeral?
James Falcon is a freelance writer based in Rolette, North Dakota. He is also a Staff Writer for the Tanasi Journal, a Native American newspaper.
Florida AIM calls upon all human beings who oppose racism and oppose the murder of Indigenous peoples to stand with us January 14th at 1pm in front of the racist offices of the Alligator (1105 W University Ave., Gainesville)
--If you don't find killing Indians funny--Stand with us!
--If you don't support a paper endorsing hate crimes funny--Stand with us!
--If you don't support media inspiried hate and violence against Native peoples--Stand with us!
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