What is meaning of Stereotype? Stereotype means “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing” in the dictionary. In today’s society, stereotyping is a form of pre judgement and social attitude. According to the book , “in the United States, no other ethnic group has endured greater and more varied distortions of its cultural identity than American Indians” (p13, Devon). American Indians have always suffered from stereotyping because we have misinformed teachers who is not very knowledgeable about American Indian history and culture, traditions and behavior is led to merge into false of American Indian imagination. In our society, there is many people doesn’t know about American Indians still exist or some people have no idea about American Indian. However, let’s try to understand the causes of stereotyping American Indians and reality of stereotyping.
First of all, media is the main role in the formation of present day stereotypes. American Indian appearance is described as copper bronze skin, long straight hair, braided black hair and dark brown eyes because these images shows on media. However, in our society we are not able to who looks like American Indian because of the abundance of mixed marriages made an impact on their appearance so American Indians could be look like a Europeans and Asians. Indians are multi-faceted peoples because each tribe or nation has complex and it is a mistake to generalize Indians. In addition, besides their appearance, media perform and shows American Indian culture and tradition incorrectly. According to the book, “racist television cartoons, which were drawn in the 1940s and portrayed Indians as be feathered savages, are still shown today as entertainment” (p14, Devon) As result of media, children has false imagination about how American Indian still look like and still play with “cowboys and Indians” which is reflect historical reality.
Another stereotype of Indian is that “Indian tribes did not value or empower women” but on reality “Indian women often wielded considerable power within their tribes” (p64, Devon). Result of media literacy, television, movies and cartoons, non-Indian Americans has image of two contradictory ways of Indian Women in their mind. First, non-Indian Americans thinks that Indian women are ugly, dirty, subservient, abused and squaws who loved to torture white men. On the other hand, they think Indian women are beautiful, princesses and brave to leave their tribe to marry Europeans. According to the book, “the value accorded their women by Indian cultures has been vastly underrated-historically and today” (p64, Devon). Indian women has power rather than women of other cultures. Devon states that “women quietly exerted a powerful influence by advising their husbands in private; the men then took “their” opinions to council”. However, in the documentary of tribes shows that Indian women ignored because they concer...