Dear Auntie, Why do Americans hate Indians?
I’m sorry that you’ve had experiences that have lead you to ask this question in such definitive terms. This says to me that your experiences have lead you to believe that Americans hate Indians.
I’ll break this question down into two parts; what I can’t tell you and what I can:
What I can’t tell you…
- Racism does not exist
- Deny your experiences – pretend it never happened
- Change your thinking
What I CAN tell you…
- Seek new experiences, especially those from other cultures
- Seek allies who support Native people’s health and well-being
- Talk to others about your experiences
- Show those around you what makes you proud to be Native
- Consider confronting racism as you experience it. Start to question what it means to be Native. What do you think it means to be from another race while living in America?
- Be your own racial identity guru. Expose yourself to multicultural literature, racial theoretical frameworks, multicultural experiences and food…travel. Make new friends with people outside your community, from different cultures. Invite people from other cultures to learn more about your tribe. This will open up the way for new ways of thinking, not only for yourself, but also for those you come in contact with.
- Consider that you have the power to view the world through your own lens
- Respect that everyone is engaged in their own level of readiness and in their racial identity development, including me and yourself
Some more food for thought. Think about your question. You asked why Americans hate Indians. For starters, we are the first Americans. Secondly, think about all the different groups of people that make up the term American. Consider what it means to simplify all that diversity under one blanket term.
I want to validate your experience and perspectives, but I also want to challenge you to consider how your understanding of race effects how you view and interact with the world and those in it. You have the power to be a positive influence on how others see American Indians. However, you don’t have the power to control other people’s actions or thoughts. That’s their job and it is a choice.
Thank you for writing in.