Sunday, July 13, 2014


   I wrote a book set in the deep south in the 50s & 60s. Language was different than it is today. Words that were used to describe people or ethnic groups were different and acceptable then. They may not have been liked or appreciated, but they were used. They have a place in history and therefore in the story. I also have a unique perspective on this because of my heritage. My mother was Seneca, my dad was Scot/Irish/Blackfoot, I was raised with a good bit of the old ways. There has been great debate over the use of "Indian" versus "Native American", if you look at it from a geographical stand point. Indian should refer to someone from India, and Native American is anyone born in America. But that isn't the way it works. I prefer American Indian. It covers the background and pinpoints where     I'm from. A college in Charleston did a study at a Pow-wow to see what term was the preferred. American Indian was preferred by 190 of the 200 indigenous people there. 1 old man said he didn't care what they called him, as long as they remembered to call him for supper.
    The other big hoopla has been over the use of "discriminatory terms" Red Skin. Braves. get the drift. I do not see the problem with Braves. It's the same as warriors-Indians and Red Skins...they are what you allow them to be. Someone could decide that "water" is derogatory to those of the liquid state--you'd think their bag of marbles had split wide open. It has the same connotation for me with the others. Get real. The Seminoles of Florida State have long used Osceola as their mascot. Do the research and you'll know why...he was cunning, brave, a leader, etc. That is just what a good coach hopes his team shows on the field. The Florida Seminole Tribes work with the University to be sure the portrayal is done in a tasteful manner and back the use. Imagine that. They came, sat, talked, listened, debated in an adult manner and came to an agreement.
    Look at the terms used to describe women over time. There's a grunch load that would get someone slapped sideways if they used them to the right female. The current is "bitch" or "bitches" know, like the female dog. Now let reality seep in...have you used that term to refer to your friends? I'm betting at some point in time- its happened. How big of a fit did you pitch? None? Really....but you want to throw a hissy fit over a nationality?
    The world has gone a bit too politically correct.  I pointed out my son, someone else heard a piece of the conversation and berated me for calling him "skinny." He's 6 ft 1 and some, and weighs in between 145 and 165...he's skinny. And he has the super metabolism...brat. Repeated what I told the old bat would just deprive you of a chance to use your imaginations.
   Here's a unique concept, instead of demanding a nationality all be called by the same grand (or not) title, try asking. Two people may have different answers. Get over it. That's why we're different.