"Native American" and variations thereof

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Wed Jan 10 14:05:08 UTC 2001


In a message dated 12/14/2000 12:48:35 AM, LanceDM at MISSOURI.EDU writes:

<< "Indian" is definitely unPC and is now avoided. >>

When I visited Alaska in 1974 I was informed that one did not ask a Caucasian
if s/he were a "native Alaskan" because in Alaska the word "native" referred
specifically to members of the three aboriginal races, namely the Eskimo, the
Aleuts, and those people who in the lower 48 are and were generally referred
to as "Indians".

(I am not trying to be PC; rather I am trying to avoid ambiguity.  I work for
a company owned by a "real" Indian---a Gujarati from Bombay.)

Incidentally, in Alaska in 1974, specifically in the city of Anchorage,
"Texan" was a strongly perjorative word.  At the time there were a number of
unemployed people who came to Anchorage in hopes of getting jobs in the
Prudhoe Bay oil boom.  These people were collectively referred to as "Texans"
although certainly some came from other states than Texas.  I do not not know
what events led to it, but these so-called Texans had acquired a reputation
among the existing Alaskan residents as thieves/vagabonds/no-goods/etc.
Hence "Texan" was perjorative.

I received an eyewitness account of a black cabdriver in Anchorage who
delivered a diatribe about "those dirty Texans who moved in and ruined the
neighborhood."  The eyewitness (who was from Baltimore) described that black
cabdriver as "sounding just like a member of the White Citizen's Councils".


            James A. Landau
            systems engineer
            FAA Technical Center (ACT-350/BCI)
            (Basic Commerce and Industries, Inc.)
            Atlantic City Airport NJ 08405 USA


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