During my senior year of college, I spent spring break working on a Navajo reservation in Utah. One of the things that struck me there was that every pop-cultural representation of Indians/Native Americans, no matter how cartoonish or allegedly insensitive, was embraced by those people, from Cleveland Indians shirts to Disney Pocahontas Barbie-style dolls. They were happy to see their culture and race acknowledged in any way as part of the zeitgeist, even if it was in caricature form.
That’s not to say they represent every American Indian, but it does show that reactions are often more complex than those represented by media spokespeople, who tend to take the extreme position because it “makes for better TV.” Again, I can speak to that – I was a panelist on Harry Knowles’ pilot for Comedy Central that never aired, and when I was being prepped, they advised me to take the more divisive position whenever there was an option, because it would play better.
With that said, The Screen Junkies Show went to South Central Los Angeles to see what local residents thought about the controversy surrounding Django Unchained action figures, which are difficult to boycott simply because they’re now sold out everywhere. I think the video’s not just schticky but actually valuable in proving a point.
Embed after the jump.