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Why is American history stereotyped?

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posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 01:17 AM
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Let's look at some stereotypes from the US that helped to create politics around the world.
Perhaps, foremostly one should look at the Western film genre, and the way it cast Native Americans.
www.youtube.com...
Often it is a complete reversal of historical truth.

So how can a nation know its history, if that history is usually misplaced?
It would go on to miscast the Vietnamese and other nations that stood as "countless enemies" in a colonial reworking.
But, even before the CIA and European Wars, one could ask why?
Why was there this whole misrepresentation?

[edit on 30-8-2010 by halfoldman]




posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 01:44 AM
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Originally posted by halfoldman
Why was there this whole misrepresentation?


Stereotypes are not about misrepresentation. They're about selective representation. Besides, stories in movies and television are about drama, so naturally the most dramatic folks in any racial or ethnic group are chosen to be in the story. There were all kinds of Native Americans, for instance. Simple, peaceful nomads who followed the buffalo and got along perfect well with settlers, as well as bloodthirsty savages who scalped people and burned wagons.

But friendly Indians trading needles and thread for buffalo meat doesn't make for much of a dramatic tale of life in the Old West.

So the problem isn't so much with what is presented. It has to do with how intelligent the people are who see the program. Unfortunately, you can't educate everyone about how other people really are. You can't make people smarter. And ignorant people all over will always hold certain ideas about certain other races and religions. Human beings are kind of like that.

The only thing you can do it pass laws so that the ignorant don't go so far as to cause actual harm. That's the line. People are allowed to believe and hate as much as they want. Hurt someone, though, and you gotta pay.



posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 01:53 AM
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reply to post by Blue Shift
 

A good exposition.
However:

The only thing you can do it pass laws so that the ignorant don't go so far as to cause actual harm.

I think the harm had already been caused at the stage of Western movies.
It's the bizarre kind of celebration of that harm that's conspiracy.
And any kind of stereotype does harm or some form of violence.


[edit on 30-8-2010 by halfoldman]



posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 02:28 AM
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Beauty of art and culture, still often overlooked:
www.youtube.com...

[edit on 30-8-2010 by halfoldman]



posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 02:33 AM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 

Interesting questions posed to the public on American Indians.
I wonder how many could answer:
- when did American Indians become citizens?
- why do they always lose in the movies?
www.youtube.com...



posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 03:33 AM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


American history is stereotyped as is all official history because it is made for placating the masses. In many cases part of gthe victory was the right to write history in such as way as to make the ruling group seem morally superior. Yes God loves a winner!



posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 03:34 AM
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reply to post by Blue Shift
 

Although well-meaning in this case, isn't this stereotyping?

There were all kinds of Native Americans, for instance. Simple, peaceful nomads who followed the buffalo and got along perfect well with settlers, as well as bloodthirsty savages who scalped people and burned wagons

I would focus more on the many hunter-gathering tribes from California (arguably the most densely inhabited region of pre-colonial North America, and the region of the greatest genocide).
Otherwise I think of American Indian people as farmers - they gave us maize, potatos, peppers, tomatoes...



posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 03:44 AM
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reply to post by Tiger5
 

What you say cannot be faulted, but:

In many cases part of the victory was the right to write history in such as way as to make the ruling group seem morally superior.

Is it that simple? Often yes, especially in the Western genre.
However, there's a great deal of suggested moral questioning going on too.



posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 03:59 AM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 

What is confusing from an outside position is a plethora of movies from the Sioux/Lakota point of view.
For example: "Dances with wolves", "Into the West", "Bury my heart at Wounded Knee" (great book, terrible movie).
The Crow and Pawnee nations get a terrible deal in such movies as the erstwhile enemies of the Lakota. Yet, they were living in regions of the plains before the Sioux nations were driven onto them.
They become almost punkish in "Dances with wolves".
I honestly think they should sue Hollywood.



[edit on 30-8-2010 by halfoldman]



posted on Aug, 30 2010 @ 04:38 AM
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Perhaps the secret of several historical genres lies in making the "unknown" familiar and "known"?
In horror the unknown is threatening, in Westerns it is predictable, in Sci-fi it is positive.
And then, in post-structuralism any book or film is a product of all the discourses of its time. So, under anti-Communist paranoia Native Americans literally became "Red Indians".
It was after all their "communal lifestyle" that had to stamped out, and replaced by personal allotments.



posted on Sep, 10 2010 @ 05:38 AM
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I saw a movie recently called Drag me to hell and the racial sterotype of the gypsy people is just ghastly.
OK, all stories need their bogeymen/women - but this is becoming a pattern.
And, not incidentally, it coincides with massive stereotyping of the Roma on the news, and political repression.




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