One of my friends surmises that President Trump calls Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Pocahontas because he doesn’t get the Fauxcahontas joke that spread all over the conservative Internet after it was revealed that Warren had claimed to be part Indian and used it to get a position at Harvard. (It was later discovered that she has no Indian heritage and many suspect that Warren knew it all along due to the fact that she stopped mentioning it after she became tenured at Harvard.)
Well, ever since the president dropped the Pocahontas bomb — again; he’s been calling her that for months – during a White House ceremony to honor the living members of the WWII Navajo Code Talkers, there has been a huge discussion as to whether the president’s moniker for Warren was offensive or not. Lots of people put it like this to me: “Would you be offended if he called you Harriet Tubman?” Well I don’t know, but since I’m a black American and Tubman was a black Americans heroine, I don’t think offense would be my first feeling. Confusion, maybe.
Anyway, that poor analogy shows that, in cases like these, it’s always best to ask a person to whom the case applies.
CNN political analyst Joshua Green met with Thomas Begay – one of the veterans honored at the event – who said that while he was puzzled by the comment, he was not offended by it.
“The Marines made us yell ‘Geronimo’ when we jumped out of planes, and that didn’t offend me either,” Begay said.
And then there’s this lady:
It turns out that an actual descendant of Pocahontas does not take any offense to President Donald Trump jokingly referring to Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”
In a September interview with Sky News, Debbie “White Dove” Porreco said that Trump once asked her if it offended her that he used the name “Pocahontas” to refer to the Democratic senator.
“I know that he uses ‘Pocahontas’ sometimes with Elizabeth Warren,” Porreco explained. “He said, ‘well does that offend you when I use that?’ And I told him no, it doesn’t offend me.”’
Porreco was the model for the animated version of Pocahontas.
Certainly I’ve read accounts of others Indians who were offended by the president, and still others who think that a ceremony to recognize such honorable Americans was not the time to take a jab at a political foe. The latter do have a more legitimate point.
What I do like seeing demonstrated is that Indians are individuals; not that I didn’t know it, of course. But it’s seem that a lot of other people who jump to defend others need to be reminded that most of us can defend our own honor. Or when can decide that our honor doesn’t need defending.
That’s the province of free persons.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.
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