I have never really cared whether people misconstrued my race; people have usually meant no harm in assuming I’m Mexican, Polynesian, or Chinese. I didn’t mind correcting them and got used to their surprised faces when I told them I was Navajo. I guess even now I don’t really mind gently emending people’s confusion, but the slew of stupidity that spews from their mouths in the aftermath is what I can never get used to: “Oh, I’m Indian too! My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother was Cherokee,” or “Oh, you must get a TON of money for school,” or (and I got this one a couple of days ago) “Oh, you must be very spiritually attuned. You should be a medicine woman!” Lol. Well, guess what?
And it wasn’t until recently that I’ve really come to let myself realize just how discriminated Native Americans are everywhere, almost all of the time. I had chosen to ignore it to save my peace of mind, but no longer can I stand by and let the ignorance and blatant misinformation of others wash over me. I can’t do it anymore!
I’m tired of the generic, tribe-less Indian, who wears their hair long and their fringed clothes proud as the standard for thousands of different and unique people. I’m tired of the sexualization of Native women (I’m talking about you, sexy Indian costume) and the lack of justice that comes from sexual assaults committed on reservations. I’m tired of seeing my grandparents live in poverty, without running water or electricity. I’m tired of knowing that my dad and hundreds of other Natives who were forced to attend the Federal boarding schools, who were physically, emotionally and sexually abused, will probably never see any form of retribution. I’m tired of people claiming to be “Indian” like it’s an exclusive trend without realizing that once you claim to be “Indian” you are putting upon yourself the issues of the modern Native, and then looking stupid because you have no idea what the issues are. I’m tired of people assuming I get a hand out, that my schooling must be all paid for by honest taxpayers like you, when really I haven’t gotten one penny from the Navajo Nation. I’m tired of Natives being seen as all-spiritual beings, one with the earth and all that shit. I’m tired of all the misinformation out there about Natives, the various clumpings and blatant lies, and I’m sad that we as a people, don’t correct it more often. I’m tired of being a novelty.
But the one thing that I’m so sick of hearing I could scream is, “It happened so long ago, why does it even matter? You need to get over it.”…How can I get over something whose repercussions I still feel, that my father and grandparents still feel?…GRR.
I could probably rant for ages about this, but I won’t because I’m tired of ranting too. I’m just tired all around. People are dumb, mostly harmless and innocent, but come on…get your head out of your butt.