I'm usually not real big on email protests, letters and the like, but this campagin sponsored by Survival International is an interesting one. The idea is to wipe out the use of terms like 'stone age' and 'primitive' to describe tribal people. What I think is most significant about this campaign is that actually it will make all of US aware that usage these terms to describe a tribal people is really racist and allows for the dismissal in many real ways of tribal people and cultures.
The following is from Survival International.
‘All the years of calling the Indian a savage has never made him one.’
Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux.
Survival’s Stamp It Out campaign aims to challenge racist descriptions, however unwitting, of tribal peoples in the media.
What’s the problem?Terms like ‘stone age’ and ‘primitive’ have been used to describe tribal people since the colonial era, reinforcing the idea that they have not changed over time and that they are backward.
This idea is both incorrect and very dangerous. It is incorrect because all societies adapt and change, and it is dangerous because it is often used to justify the persecution or forced ‘development’ of tribal peoples. The results are almost always catastrophic: poverty, alcoholism, prostitution, disease and death.
How can I help?Survival would like you to be on the lookout for terms like ‘stone age’ and ‘primitive’ used to describe tribal peoples in the media today. When you spot one, please fill in one of our Stamp it Out postcards or e-cards with the information given below and send it to the editor.
How do I get my free, colour Stamp It Out postcards?Email email@example.com, phone (+44) (0)20 7687 8700 or write to our postal address and Survival will send you some.
How do I send Stamp it Out e-cards? (Not sure how this will work coming directly off my blog...you can also go tohttp://www.survivalinternational.org/stampitout and do it there)
Fill in the form with the information given below and click “Send postcard to editor”.
Dear Editor ,
Your recent article/programme
referred to the
Terms like 'primitive' and 'stone age' have been used to describe tribal people since the colonial era. They reinforce the idea that these peoples have not changed for generations. But this is not true. All societies adapt and change - not just ours. Tribal people are no more 'savage' than the rest of us.
The idea that tribes are backward leads directly to their persecution. For example, it is claimed that forcibly developing tribes is 'for their own good', and helps them 'catch up' with the 'civilised' world. The results are almost always catastrophic: poverty, alcoholism, prostitution, disease and death.
I hope you will refrain from using such terms in the future.
Email address * (required)