by Randall Auxier
When I was a kid, my schoolmates used the phrase "indian giver" as a slur against anyone who gave something away but then wanted it back. I probably said it myself. None of us knew any Indians and I don't know where we got this phrase --probably from television. The stupidity, racism and injustice of this verbal tick needs no further analysis. But the context that creates such slurs is worth pondering. Every image is reversed when you see it in a mirror, and TV of that time reflected the dominant culture back to itself in two dimensions. When the white-dominated culture tried to grasp the customs of native peoples, and when the values expressed in those customs were strange, the white people overlaid their own values and fears on what they saw. Distortions abounded and spread.