(A note to the editors, if you wanted to embed this video to aid in the digestion of this post, ‘twould be alright…)
Louis C.K has a bit (referenced above) about ‘Indians’… It goes something like this:
White Man sails to landfall and disembarks. He sees Indigenous People and assumes they are on the subcontinent of India because that’s what the White Mans maps tell them to assume…
WM “Are you Indians?”
WM “Are you sure?”
WM “This is not India?”
IP “Nope. Totally other place.”
WM “Are you sure you’re sure?”
IP “Yep. Pretty sure.”
WM “Nah!! You’re Indians.”
And identity politics is born. Of course since Indigenous People can neither read nor write the language of White Man until much later, nor make maps of his own, the name ‘Indian” sticks. White Man can’t be bothered to either fact check or correct himself, he’s too busy being colonial and all…
Over time the White Man starts to lose his grip upon hegemony and Black Man gains some freedoms. The White Women follows. They start to say ‘wait a minute… they were called ‘Indians’ by colonial mistake. That’s offensive.’ They decide, in the neonatal stages of ‘political correctness,’ that they should, instead, be called ‘Native American.’ However, and here’s the thing, even Native American is wrong!!! The word ‘America’ is merely the imprimatur of the MAPMAKER, Amerigo Vespucci, White Man.
Of course White Man objects to all this renaming and speaking against the mistakes of the past. After all, who wants to be reminded of his brutalist hegemony and offhand mistakes? Any colonial power could have made them and, after all? Anyways, that was then and this is now, and all this ‘correction’ is the tyranny of ‘political correctness.’ White Man feels victimized to have it pointed out just exactly who, and how much, he has victimized others. And the backlash against ‘identity politics’ –which politics was essentially a mistaken assumption, in hubris, of a maps validity– is born.
I used to assume that without a map, one could get lost. Now I know that with one, you can also get lost…