Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Indian vs White Racial Tension

A story in the Native Times reveals that racial tensions may exist at a high school in Fairfax, Oklahoma. A former student of the school that has since moved to New Mexico is quoted as saying:

There was a definite undertone of racism there,” Stock said. “I would get into arguments with other students because they would always be saying things like ‘Indians need to stop complaining all the time’. Rebel flags are common on the trucks there.”Stock said that Scully was “not helpful” when it came to complaints about racial remarks. One thing Stock is sure about: New Mexico is much more tolerant when compared to Oklahoma.“If you are Indian here, people are interested in that. Maybe that is because there are so many reservations here. It seems like in Oklahoma people are really close-minded. They don’t try to hide the fact that they don’t like Indians.”

I'm a bit surprised by the situation described by Stock but if it is an accurate assessment then Fairfax needs to find out what's behind it. Having grown up in an area of Oklahoma with a very large Indian (or Native American if you prefer) population I never witnessed any racial tension between the whites and Indians (there were no blacks). I had many 100% Indian friends but I never thought of them as "Indian friends" - just as friends. Maybe the reason was that there was so much mixed blood - nearly every family (including my own) had intermarried. It's pretty hard to hate a piece of yourself.

There were the usual child-on-child cruelties but anti-Indian talk was just something I never heard. People got along very well. Is Fairfax an isolated incident or a disturbing trend?

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