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Old May 18 2009, 01:11 AM   #1
Guy Gardener
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has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

I'm watching the pilot to In Plain Slight, it's about a little Blonde US Marshall being a delightful hardass, and a character just by coincident gets in her face, he's not the big bad, just surly, and it might be a coincidence, but she honestly baldfacedly calls this man of native American Decent getting up in her grill: "Chuckles" and I am instantly thinking to myself... "Is this bleed over from Voyager?" Ranting in Voyager forums of course, more so than the single ever application of the word just because it sounds like some other guys name who happens to be First Nation (in theory).

Just an observation.
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Old May 18 2009, 03:58 PM   #2
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

I doubt it. If you wanted to find bad representations of the various tribes of North America, there have been far, far far worse than the one on Voyager. I'd say his wasn't a disrespectful portrayal, it was just annoyingly vague, thanks to TPTB's inability to decide on a tribe. I always thought that very weird. I guess they were afraid if they picked a tribe, they'd make a ridiculous mistake. And they probably would have, too.
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Old May 18 2009, 04:55 PM   #3
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

I thought the vagueness was a good idea - narrowing it down to one group would also narrow the storytelling possibilites. While any one group of humanity has infinite stories to tell identifying a single group to affiliate Chakotay with would have opened another can of worms. That might have required them hiring a cultural specialist who would inevitably get hate mail. Or some other such nonsense.
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Old May 18 2009, 05:02 PM   #4
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

Yeah, but...

There are tremendous differences between the various tribes, which means calling someone (or calling oneself) "Native American" means almost nothing in terms of identifying cultural heritage. They may as well have described O'Brien as "European" or Keiko as "Asian." If you're going to give someone a distinct cultural identity...well, there has to be something distinctive about it. The differences between, say, the Navajos and the Mayans are eNORmous!
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Old May 18 2009, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

Yes, Chakotay was a huge stereotype of Native Americans in every way.
One minute he's shown in a rain forrest with his father exploring his tribe, the next he was shown hunting deer with a spear. That's an incredible contradiction of tribes. The medicine bundle is another one.

If Native Amricans hadn't stood up & voiced their opinions about it to Paramount, I wonder if his fate in "Endgame" was to open a casino.
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Old May 18 2009, 05:12 PM   #6
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

Required reading for an American Indian Literature class I read was 500 Nations- I certainly agree the variety is widespanning. I confess my comfort with the vagueness is my own slant which finds comfort in finding that people usually have much more in common than not. In the same way while I like exploring strange new worlds and all, I have enjoyed the idea that Romulans and Klingons and Vulcans and Andorrians and Tellarites and Cardassians (and so many others) all value their families and have personal codes of honor/behavior that echo a larger cultural view and that most can put aside personal issues and even sacrifice themselves for a greater good.
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Old May 18 2009, 05:15 PM   #7
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

oldstredshrtevr wrote: View Post
Required reading for an American Indian Literature class I read was 500 Nations- I certainly agree the variety is widespanning. I confess my comfort with the vagueness is my own slant which finds comfort in finding that people usually have much more in common than not. In the same way while I like exploring strange new worlds and all, I have enjoyed the idea that Romulans and Klingons and Vulcans and Andorrians and Tellarites and Cardassians (and so many others) all value their families and have personal codes of honor/behavior that echo a larger cultural view and that most can put aside personal issues and even sacrifice themselves for a greater good.
At the same time there's something wrong when you can create a fictious culture for alien but still get details wrong about the cultures people interact with everyday here on Earth.
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Old May 18 2009, 06:22 PM   #8
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

oldstredshrtevr wrote: View Post
Required reading for an American Indian Literature class I read was 500 Nations- I certainly agree the variety is widespanning. I confess my comfort with the vagueness is my own slant which finds comfort in finding that people usually have much more in common than not. In the same way while I like exploring strange new worlds and all, I have enjoyed the idea that Romulans and Klingons and Vulcans and Andorrians and Tellarites and Cardassians (and so many others) all value their families and have personal codes of honor/behavior that echo a larger cultural view and that most can put aside personal issues and even sacrifice themselves for a greater good.
Sure - that's all absolutely true. We all have a lot in common. But why make him "Native American" (and would a Mayan count as Native American?...maybe so, if you use a broad enough definition of "American") if they didn't want to use that in any meaningful way?

But of course it wasn't just Chakotay that they did this with - not by a long shot. Why make Worf's parents Russian, why make Riker Alaskan? (For that matter, why give Troi that odd accent that no other Betazoid had?) I have often wondered if the Trek PTB have some gigantic Wheel o' Origin somewhere that they spin whenever they are in a quandry over such things.

Last edited by JustKate; May 18 2009 at 07:11 PM.
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Old May 18 2009, 06:57 PM   #9
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

^^^
Ever watch Speilberg's Animaniacs? My son was 10ish so I watched it with him - remember WHEEL OF MORALITY - turn, turn, turn - show us the lesson we must learn!

*sorry*

So many choices seem random and anti-continuity - sometimes anti-COMMON SENSE. I understand irritation at that. I guess like any other human construct it will be inconsistent and I'm okay with that. I too, am only human.
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Old May 18 2009, 07:19 PM   #10
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

Exodus: your first comment was funny. Even though I'm a huge fan of his, I laughed at that. Cause in "Big Love", he's indeed opening a casino believe it or not. How ironic that you brought that up too.
I also think that Chakotay is a stereotype of Native Americans. I think that is why a lot of posters have issues with his character.
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Old May 18 2009, 07:21 PM   #11
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

I'd call him "generic" rather than "stereotypical." And there is a difference, but mostly in intent. Either way, not good.
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Old May 18 2009, 07:43 PM   #12
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

JustKate wrote: View Post
I'd call him "generic" rather than "stereotypical." And there is a difference, but mostly in intent. Either way, not good.
Being part Blackfoot myself, I can safely say:
Holding a spear and hunting deer is a stereotype.
Especially when they already implied his origin may have been South American not North.
To add insult to injury, they even wrote in the script of "Basics" how he maybe the only Indian that couldn't start a fire by rubbing sticks together as if it's genetic to all of that race. That's a stereotype blatantly written right in the story.
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Last edited by exodus; May 18 2009 at 07:58 PM.
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Old May 18 2009, 08:00 PM   #13
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

As a part Blackfoot yourself, what do you think his affiliation most closely resembled? If any?
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Last edited by KimM; May 18 2009 at 08:02 PM. Reason: maybe I'm just a jerk! or curious . . .
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Old May 18 2009, 08:08 PM   #14
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

oldstredshrtevr wrote: View Post
As a part Blackfoot yourself, what do you think his affiliation most closely resembled? If any?
Something from a South American tribe...................or atleast that's what I believe they started out trying to do, with his father taking him to the rainforest & Tattoo's "Rubber People".(as in Rubber trees, from south of the border) However, the medicine bundle & spirit guide detracts from that because those are aspects from some other tribes in North America. As is the spear, some South American tribes hunted with blow darts instead.

What's sad is, all the writers had to do was pick up a book or ask somebody. If we here can go online and find out facts about fictional Trek, there is no excuse for them not to make that same effort.
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Old May 18 2009, 08:12 PM   #15
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Re: has chuckles become a generic slur against native Americans?

Oh, I think they all had spears -- all of them that I know of, and the archeology of Mexico and Central American (and to a lesser extent South American) is one of my hobbies. Not so sure about "deer," per se.

And I think it was more MesoAmerican rather that South American. Sort of Mayanish.
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