Friday, January 08, 2010

7428: Give The Man A Cigar Store Indian.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Michael Steele’s ‘honest injun’ comment sparks backlash

By Dawn Turner Trice

Some consider the word “injun” to be as offensive as the N-word, but apparently Republican National Chairman Michael Steele didn’t know that when he tried to underscore a point earlier this week by saying, “Honest injun on that.”

Steele was on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Monday night promoting his new book, “Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda.”

“Our platform is one of the best political documents that’s been written in the last 25 years,” Steele told Hannity. “Honest injun on that. It speaks to some core conservative principles on the value of family, faith, life, economics. Those principles don’t change.”

Susan Power, 85, the last living founding member of Chicago’s American Indian Center, said she was offended by Steele’s comment.

“I’m really disgusted with him,” said Power, a longtime activist and member of the Dakota nation. “He’s an intelligent man and I know he’s probably kicking himself all over his office for saying it, but he should know better. It would hurt if he were white, but it hurts more because he’s black. How can you be so stupid?”

She said that “injun” is one of two words—the other is “squaw”—that should never be used because they are throwbacks to a time when Native Americans were defined almost exclusively by negative stereotypes.

“Are we so unimportant that he couldn’t have caught himself?” she said. “I would never use the N-word. I know not to. This man must know nothing about native people, that’s what’s so hard about this. Native Americans know everything about everybody else, but there’s so little interest in knowing who we are.”

Power said that Steele needs to make amends.

“I don’t think he did it on purpose,” she said. “But now that he does know, he should apologize.”

The Republican National Committee did not respond Wednesday to the Tribune’s inquiries about Steele’s comment.

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