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"Reading Red," Seeing Red

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  • rvsjr
    Indian Comics Irregular #82 As a pseudo-journalist, I cover the field of Indians in pop culture. A recent study explores how real journalists cover Native
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 23, 2002
      Indian Comics Irregular #82

      As a pseudo-journalist, I cover the field of Indians in pop culture.
      A recent study explores how real journalists cover Native subjects.
      Called The Reading Red Report, it documents the efforts of America's
      top newspapers.

      As you might expect, the media has improved its Native coverage
      dramatically in the last few decades, but there's still a long way to
      go. According to the report, the biggest category of stories
      featured "life on the reservation." This category is a good
      indicator of the progress made:

      A preponderance of "on the res" stories were from Pine Ridge,
      S.D., or Window Rock, Ariz. At best, they provided information
      about communities many readers know little about. At worst, they
      reinforced stereotypes about barren landscapes, family feuds and
      poor yet mystical people, the kind you might see in an old episode
      of "Northern Exposure."

      "On the res" stories also belied 2000 Census data that most Native
      Americans lived in cities, not on reservations. So many stories
      in The New York Times were datelined Pine Ridge that a reader
      might not have realized that New York City's 87,241 Native American
      residents make up the largest urban Indian community in the nation.

      For more on Native journalism, head to
      http://www.bluecorncomics.com/jrnlism.htm.

      Natives on the Boob Tube

      From the Associated Press, 5/15/02:

      A 1999 vow by the major networks to include more minorities in
      prime-time series has largely gone unfulfilled, according to an
      analysis of the current season by Children Now, a research and
      advocacy group.

      The networks are telling "essentially the same old tale," the
      report said, in which younger white males predominate, ethnic
      actors are relegated to supporting roles and female characters are
      often stereotypes.

      Minorities are much more likely than whites to be portrayed as
      service workers, unskilled laborers and criminals.

      Native Americans are largely ignored and Native American women are
      nonexistent on network TV, the study found.

      More studies of television's diversity are available at
      http://www.bluecorncomics.com/natv.htm.

      Natives on the Big Screen

      The news isn't all bad. Despite the box-office failure
      of "Windtalkers" (see last issue), two new Native-themed movies are
      about to make their mark.

      I've seen previews of "Skins," Chris Eyre's tough new film,
      and "Christmas in the Clouds," a lighthearted comedy (of all
      things). I give "Skins" an 8.0 of 10 and "Christmas" a 7.5. They're
      two of the least stereotypical Native movies ever.

      Rob says: Check 'em out.

      Natives in Funny Books

      The first issues of SKINWALKER, a Navajo-based mini-series, are in
      the stores. If you know anything about Diné culture, you know you
      don't trifle with skinwalkers. The comic portrays Native life
      surprisingly well...but it also may violate the culture's taboos.

      It'll be interesting to see how the series pans out. For my initial
      impressions, visit http://www.bluecorncomics.com/skinwlkr.htm.

      Native Artists Online

      I've linked to lots of new art on my Artists' Showcase page
      (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/showcase.htm). That includes work by
      Patrick Rolo, Gene Gonzales, Polly Keeshig-Tobias, Marty Two Bulls,
      Alfred Villaneuve, Curtis Buckanaga, Matt Atkinson, and the hard-to-
      find Ryan Huna Smith. Give it a look.

      Rob Schmidt
      Blue Corn Comics
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