Editorial: UND students wrong to play 'Indian'
"At UND, the students who went to the party smeared in red paint and dressed in stereotypical Indian outfits violated a recent but very powerful American more: namely, Thou Shalt Not Traffic in Ethnic Stereotypes, especially when thou art not a member of that ethnic group.

But why? Why must Thou Shalt Not do such things? Comments on the Herald’s Web site posed many variations on that question, often accompanied by a rant against political correctness and a yearning for the bygone days when playing “cowboys and Indians” was an innocent childhood pastime.

The answer, of course, is that social mores change — and one of the most important changes of the past generation is our society’s open intolerance for certain racial and ethnic stereotyping.

It used to be common for people to tell ethnic jokes. It isn’t any more. It used to be common to hear ethnic slurs in conversation. That’s gone, too.

It used to be common for Hollywood Westerns to feature Indians saying “How!” and “Ugh!”, for black vaudevillians (or white actors in blackface) to “shuck and jive” on stage and for wartime propaganda to feature wildly caricatured “Japs” and “Huns.”

But that’s changed. And here’s the deal: In the eyes of most Americans, this change has been a very good thing."

Get the Story:
OUR OPINION: Students broke a modern rule of life (The Grand Forks Herald 3/25)
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