Today at work we all got an e-mail–from somebody who probably works in the basement of an EEO office somewhere but is trying to make himself useful anyway–linking to an article titled “Things NEVER to Say to American Indian Co-workers”. I’m glad someone is looking out for us ignorant and insensitive crackers and keeping us on the straight-and-narrow.
For example, NEVER ask an Indian, “Do you live in a teepee?” Pretty obvious, but fair enough. That’s a stupid thing to say.
But NEVER say to an Indian, “That’s a nice costume.” Even complimenting people can be considered rude and offensive, since calling traditional clothing a costume cheapens their culture. NEVER EVER compliment Indians, for they may be incapable of saying, “Thank you, but I don’t consider this a costume, as it is an important part of my heritage.” So I’m glad that somebody is looking out for shy Indians, too.
I was afraid this linguistic totalitarianism was fading away, but thanks to the guy in the EEO office basement it is alive and kicking in my e-mail trash can.