Jan 26, 2014 - Natives Censored on Twitter, By Danielle Miller
It is now 2014, but we still have racially offensive sports teams and mascots being used. There are plenty of Native Americans speaking out about these issues on Last Real Indians, and now on twitter. The more Natives join the conversation, the more people report profiles and deny that their voices matter.
There have been many Natives tweeting with anticipation for a twitter storm for “Change the Name” and it has now been brought to our attention that we will have to find a new strategy to simply share our opinions, because our movement will be filtered as spam. This is highly frustrating and unethical. So many other racial groups and individuals have used twitter as a tool to trend their ideas, and yet Native Americans are being censored.
In our last attempt to get #changethename trending, I was thrown in twitter jail every time the hash tag picked up momentum. My other jailed account was even suspended on claims that my tweets were “aggressive”. Never mind the fact that I blocked the racist in my mentions to avoid unnecessary conflict. The fact that I chose to address my opinions about Native mascots and answer typical responses defending the mascots and thus stand up for myself and my ancestors, was met by an account suspension and claims of aggression.
I was told by others that users probably reported my account as spam and that was the reason for its suspension. Apparently websites such as #TGDN alert have found a loophole in the freedom of speech that twitter was intended for. They create websites for mass censorship and report users which threaten them. This is their strategy to silence progressives.
I have to say twitter, you really might want to rethink your report system, because what will happen when progressives do the same? You will be faced with infinite account suspensions because everyone has decided that freedom of speech is no longer important and everyone just wants to run to the report spam button when they find an opinion they don’t want to hear. Should all us Natives start reporting #HTTR, #redskins, #clevelandIndians or any other racially related sports matter as spam? At least we have examples of hate perpetuated by these teams that could be proof of “aggression”.
So let me get this straight, when Phil Robertson talks about his opinions, it is a mere demonstration of freedom of speech? When white kids decide to have black face parties or dress up like a dead Trayvon Martin it is, “freedom of speech”? But when Native Americans decide to speak out about their culture being degraded, and their ancestors being called a racial slur,while facing other micro aggressions and they ask to be treated like a human being then they deserve to be reported as spam? Just as racist love to redefine the word “honor” they love to cater freedom of speech to fit their standards.
Native Americans are harassed and heckled about mascots whether we want to talk about the issue or not. The second someone finds one is Native they are bombarded with questions, or more so statements, of how they should feel “honored”. Constantly the go to defense is that Natives “don’t say anything about it”. So if that’s the case, how come when Native opinions are not something people want to hear, we are swept under the rug, talked over and now, even censored?
Lets look at the current state of relations the United States has with Native Americans. There are still being jokes made on National television about “herding [Natives] in a pen and throwing in blankets and corn” by Congressman. We have companies like Ethical Oil starting hash tags like “IndianIgnorant” to attack movements like “Idle No More” and “Honour the treaties”.
Now we have people reporting “Change The Name” as spam in an attempt to silence us and demand that we uphold their racist depictions of us. They are making signs and with blatant racism, and building giant cows doing the “tomahawk chop”. They are joking about scalping while actual Native women are being scalped and murdered. They are making a mockery of our ancestors who dealt with the same microaggressions and slurs. The UN has even gotten involved in the Redskins debate because its become apparent that this is no longer just a moral issue, but a human rights issue.
The more the United States insults our dignity, the more we are forced to come together in solidarity to realize our foundations of Tribal sovereignty. We will continue to speak our minds no matter how much we are silenced, while the Americans who silence us will go down in history as those who denied Native Americans freedom of speech. Keep your eyes open for new hash tags and strategies to continue the fight for respect. They cannot suspend and silence all of us without revealing true corruption.