Julie Kitka: Nothing funny about violence against women

Julie Kitka is president of the Alaska Federation of Natives.

"On April 9, one of the radio personalities on the "Woody and Wilcox" show on KBFX 100.5-FM, made brutally offensive racial remarks on the morning show. The two were bantering about what it means to be a real Alaskan. One asked the question "Have you ever made love to the Yukon River or peed in a Native woman?"

How often have you heard a sentence that is simultaneously that racist and that sexist? This was hate speech, amusing and encouraging to bigots. Some listeners were shocked; but many Natives, while sickened, thought it was all too typical of Alaska's race relations. Thankfully, we live in a country that does not put people in jail for what they say; but it is also true that we do not have to tolerate vulgar race-baiting over the public airways, which belong to all of us.

KBFX has apologized publicly, and that is to the station's credit. But have we heard any apology from the individual(s) who said it? The station said that it suspended the two shock jocks indefinitely; but "indefinitely" could mean three days. Soon enough, Woody and Wilcox will be back on the air. In a case like this, sensitivity training is what you do when you don't know what to do -- but have to appear to be doing something.

Alaska Federation of Natives' complaint is not one more wearisome example of "political correctness." Sexual violence against indigenous women in the United States is as widespread as it is vicious. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Native American and Alaska Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped/sexually assaulted than are other American women."

Get the Story:
Julie Kitka: Someone explain the humor in brutalizing Native women (The Anchorage Daily News 4/19)
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Related Stories:
DJs suspended for remarks about Native women (4/16)
Alaska House condemns radio hosts over remarks (4/15)
Column: Small-minded DJs insult Lumbee Tribe (4/11)