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Why Matt Lauer's Olympic Racial Slur Is Particularly Offensive To Native Americans

| Filed under: Icky Icky PooTV NewsEtc.Media Minute

While some scoff at the idea that the racial slur Matt Lauer used on Monday morning's Today is offensive, it sounds like plenty of Native American's would say otherwise.

In fact, here's what Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians, had to say:

"Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today, an international media personality, made irresponsible comments on the global stage of the 2012 Olympic Games when he used the phrase 'Indian Giver.' These comments were not in the spirit of the Olympic Games, nor civil discourse."

It seems that a lot of people don't know WHY this phrase would be considered offensive to the Native American community. Hopefully Pata's words will enlighten them, as she continued:

"Mr. Lauer’s misinformed choice of words reinforces archaic and hurtful racial stereotypes that date back to colonial America. Early commerce between tribal nations and colonial settlers required the value of goods exchanged to be of equal or greater value, or the trade was not deemed acceptable. Some colonial traders who did not uphold this ethic used this phrase to discredit tribal nations and Native traders. Now, the pejorative phrase has become associated with a person who takes back a gift. This misrepresents the original and modern cultural values of Native Americans, based on fair trade, sharing, and empowering those around them."

All is not lost though! He may have made an ignorant comment on the global stage, but he can use that podium to educate people. Pata concluded:

"Matt Lauer can still have his great Olympic moment and exhibit true Olympic spirit by educating NBC’s global audience about the important place of Native Americans in society and sports. Like so many athletes are doing every day in London, we hope he rises to the moment."

So do we!

There are plenty of homophobic and racist slurs that were once used in regular conversation. Thanks to heightened awareness, all MOST of us have become a little more sensitive to the fact that what means nothing to us may mean a heck of a lot more to somebody else!

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39 comments to “Why Matt Lauer's Olympic Racial Slur Is Particularly Offensive To Native Americans”

  1. nationalenquirer says – reply to this


    So yet you yourself CONTINUE to post sexually offensive posts by doodling on STRAIGHT mens crotches and postings of nearly naked men with your sexual thoughts.
    How are you any different ??????????

  2. 2

    You are no longer "indians", you are Native Americans. Therefor, he made no slur against you, racial or otherwise. Now, the middle easterners who actually are Indians, well they don't seem to care. OR did you give away the name "indian" only to take it back again??? And you wonder where they got the term from. For shame…

  3. 3

    Matt made an offensive remark that falls in the "oops" category. He just needs to make an on-air apology for his unintentional slur and this will blow over.

  4. 4

    Oh for pete sake, what is the big deal. All of this is nonsense and petty. Get a life people. "Indian giver" what ? Since when is that bad ? That saying has been around for years and years and no one ever got offended before.

  5. TeamMariah says – reply to this


    All this justification is typically AmeriKKKan.

  6. BEckert says – reply to this


    Really? I doubt it was mean spirited and yes maybe he should think before he speaks but seriously there are worse problems in this world then using the phase "Indian Giver" especially when there was no real hate behind the words.

  7. 7

    he can't exactly 'take it back', can he? haha

  8. 8

    Every thing anyone says or does is offensive to perez.It won't be long before our speech and actions will be scrutinized by the government.We have all become so thin skinned that everything thats said or done is under the microscope to be complained about.Free speech and our freedoms are slowly being taken away by people such as perez and others like him.

  9. LoriC says – reply to this


    Get the fuck over "insensitive" WORDS, everyone. Our country has become a laughing stock, wimp nation. :*(

  10. eatsushi says – reply to this


    What an idiot. This man is supposed to be a "journalist"? This is why America is a laughing stock and a crumbling old has been of a superpower. Stupid people kept stupid by politicians and media (yeah, go watch some more NBC, CNN, FOX and get y'all some good learning). It was offensive but even more striking the man is a fucking idiot. Yet, he makes millions because the American people can't get enough of him.
    And "kyle73", I don't know mate but perhaps you should go back to second grade - there are no "Indians" in the "Middle East". Absolutely proves my point and pretty darn scary (y'all).

  11. 11

    Re: Meggie246524 – Wrong. He needs to tell the thin-skinned assholes to fuck off. I'm offended that they're offended and whining about it. When do I get MY apology? This business of scrutinizing and getting upset about every fucking word uttered is BEYOND ridiculous. Apologize? NO. No one should pander to attention-seeking whiners who undermine the concept of free speech by getting their panties in a twist over NOTHING. SCREW THEM; THEY NEED TO GROW THE FUCK UP AND LEARN THAT SHIT HAPPENS.
    As for YOU, Perez, you're no more sensitive than I am. You've done nothing but throw hate and bigotry around the last few weeks; nobody wants or needs a lecture from a hypocrite like YOU. When you're not bullying Kristin Stewart, you're being a hater toward heterosexuals who disagree with your gay even though they're free to do so. So STFU, asshole, and stick your self-righteous lectures up your nasty, diseased ass.

  12. LoriC says – reply to this


    Re: eatsushi – "Y'all" is insulting and stereotyping and it hurts my feelings and I'm upset about it!

  13. LoriC says – reply to this


    Re: Yes You Bore Me – One word: AMEN

  14. Shawneenf says – reply to this


    Re: Meggie246524Re: Meggie246524 – I did not trade in indian to be called native american, i am proud to be called either i just chose to be called native american because i am american and my people for the first. I also choose not to me mistaken for someone who comes from india (which happens more than you think) and to justify the fact that the man used a siur in this manner goes to show your mentality and your lack of understanding

  15. 15

    can you imagine if someone said on air and esp to him
    don't jew me down…

  16. Indiginous says – reply to this


    Re: patsy decline – My thoughts exactly

  17. Offended says – reply to this


    "There are plenty of homophobic and racist slurs that were once used in regular conversation. Thanks to heightened awareness, all MOST of us have become a little more sensitive to the fact that what means nothing to us may mean a heck of a lot more to somebody else!"

    I find it offensive to read comments referring to women as "whores," "tramps," "sluts" and constant postings of sexually explicit photos with "yummy" and arrows drawn to their crotch (especially our Olympians), slurs at certain religious denominations, etc… (And a slew of other classifications of certain people.. but guess what, it is impossible to go through life and not inadvertently 'offend' someone.) But being as enlightened as you are, Perez, you would never say anything that would be obnoxious or offensive to anyone else…

    In our country it has become offensive to wave the American flag in certain places or pray in front of others, yet burning of the flag is considered artistic and free speech. The double standards never cease to amaze me.

    Guh, we have gone sooo PC crazy that it feels like beating a dead horse… (no offense to living-impaired equines or any unintentional subliminal references to the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker.) *eyeroll*

  18. 18

    It is not a racial slur you idiot, it's an unfounded stereotype turned into a phrase. There is a huge difference. But then again, I don't expect that you give a shit about accuracy.

  19. Red says – reply to this


    Hey… I am a redhead Perez and I find it offensive that you constantly refer to redheads as "gingers" as that is considered a derogatory term to redheads. There IS such a thing as "Gingerism."

    This world of butt-hurt feelings and "offensive" remarks is really getting ridiculous! But it's okay for you to say what you want, right PH? Just as long as we agree with you, right?

    I guess I'd better hush… you'll turn comments off or delete the ones you do not like (censoring at it's best.)

  20. 20

    Re: Yes You Bore Me – You always have to write out extremely pointless, arrogant novels….Don't you have better things to do than blandly give your stupid opinions on PerezHilton?

  21. Mishi says – reply to this


    Wow…it's amazing to see some of the ignorant people commenting on here. "That saying has been around for years," "…worse problems in the world," and that imbecile Kyle73…well, I'm sure he'll struggle enough in this world, so I'm not even going to go there. I do agree that we're all a bit too sensitive nowadays, that said, how dare ANYONE criticize or judge a group of people for finding offense in a slanderous phrase that's been used for years with blatant disregard of their culture, that defames all they are and all they stand for?! Who are you to sit there behind your computers or phones and decide which people to respect and not to respect? Would any of you be here on your high horses, defending an insensitive (knowingly or otherwise) slur, if it was towards an African American, Mexican, or Pakistanian?? No. You'd all be lapdogs, screaming RACIST. Reality check, the world doesn't revolve around you or your narrow minded views…
    He probably didn't mean any harm, however, that's irrelevant because perception is reality. Now that he's aware of his folly, which I'm sure he is, a man in his position should apologize.

  22. 22

    Re: Offended – i love that perez draws stuff like yummy and arrows to crotches like that. men sexualize more blatently; but some women do too. this is a tabloid blog, so for me it's not like accosting someone on the street. Still gay men have to be careful with stuff like that cuz we can get beat up. Still, it's no different than a construction worker whistling and giving cat calls to a hot lady as she passes by. some women say they find that offensive, but they also say those same women hate it when no one whistles at them anymore, when they don't look as good. let's face it we all love checking out sexy people. and that's totally different from making racial slurs.

  23. Offended says – reply to this


    @Fuck the Haters:

    So you would agree with Perez then when he says, "MOST of us have become a little more sensitive to the fact that what means nothing to us may mean a heck of a lot more to somebody else!"

    So, as long as it's not a person of another race, it's okay to call another a whore or slut? (Because racism is worse than sexism?) And crudely sexual photos of young men barely 18 isn't offensive to someone? Isn't the whole point of this blog to point out that what is not offensive to some may be offensive to others? Why is your definition of what is offensive greater than mine? Doesn't that go against what Perez is trying to say? Or is it only his opinion and perspective that matters. Only Homophobia and his brand of racism okay?

    (And PS– I'm not actually offended by the comments Perez makes; I've pretty thick skin. But I am trying to point out there is a great deal of hypocrisy in his post, meaning that 'offensive' is extremely subjective and it is nearly impossible NOT to offend someone in this day and time.) Another point– it's okay to make comments about a common majority group, as it's freedom of speech, but if you offend a minority group– then it's "balls to the wall" and all hell busts loose, demanding apologies, retribution and lawsuits. It's flat out ridiculous!

  24. YES YES YES says – reply to this


    Re: Offended

    I just fell in love.

  25. emeraldfire says – reply to this


    OMG! we may as well all sew our mouths shut and have a silent world…everything is racist and politically NOT correct these days…..people need to stfu and stop bitching about every little thing!!

  26. 26

    I've also used the "indian giver" term accidentally before, too. I like this post because I do think it's good to raise awareness about the offensiveness of stuff that people don't always know. I work in an office where even if people don't say the world f@##ot they are still doing offensive stereotypes of gays, here and there. and theses are said by people of other minority groups , like jewish or latino co-workers. Or I only recently learned that the word tranny could be offensive to the transgender community. I do think using the words whore and tramp and slut on posts pushes the line, but i like it cuz this is where i get my juicy gossip. and women call each other that stuff all the time.

  27. Hap says – reply to this


    When did our society get so touchy about nonsense? People forget that language is a constantly changing element in a culture, and that many words and phrases change in meaning and intent over time. Phrases like this turn into cliches that have a different intent than might have been perceived during a previous historical period. It's a natural flow of linguistics and isn't worth worrying about at this point. The particular phrase in question is already obsolete - I can't even remember the last time I heard it - and I doubt anyone will be using it at all in another 50 years. I was more surprised that Matt even thought of it, because it's a phrase that really is already "dead" so to speak linguistically.

  28. Offended says – reply to this


    Re: fuck the haters

    Re: fuck the haters

    Women use those words all time? Does that make it less acceptable for a man to use? Again– isn't this the point in the statement, "MOST of us have become a little more sensitive to the fact that what means nothing to us may mean a heck of a lot more to somebody else!" (Completely hypocritical statement).
    Then by that your logic the "n- word" would be acceptable to use (which it is NOT in ANY way) as black or African-Americans use it to refer to each other. That logic is defective in itself.

    Like I said, I am just pointing out that Perez picks and chooses what he finds offensive and derogatory. He places his opinion at greater value and his holier-than-thou mentality is arbitrary and ridiculous. Don't pretend to be the "anti-bully" when he is the biggest bully of all. Frankly, I miss the Perez that didn't give a flip about Political Correctness and called things as he saw them, equally offensive across the board, if you will, than to pick and choose what is offensive.
    Am I making any sense as I am not trying to be rude to you… just stating that this country is SO HUNG UP on selective political correctness that people cannot speak their minds without another getting their feathers ruffled.

  29. mrssweet says – reply to this


    Geez…i'ts just a saying people….get over it.

  30. 30

    I never really understood the phrase 'Indian giver'. To anyone of intelligence, we all know that Native Americans were robbed of their land and livelihood all in the name of colonization. White Europeans came to America in quest of commerce and religious freedom. We robbed the land from the natives, and since then have done our best to kill the land.
    When I here the term 'Indian Giver", I think who is the giver - it is the white Europeans, and what did they give?? disease and misery … so I actually see this term as a negative comment about whites but not the aboriginals

  31. 31

    Re: Offended – racism and homphobia is different than sexism. You can't control what race or sexual preference you are born to, but someone can control how sexually they present themselves, or whether they want to be a celebrity and be talked about by people. If someones an adult and they are putting themselves out there as a sex symbol, which i sometimes do myself, this is a site that crude remarks are likely going to be made, just like you know they are made among people in private. but, that doesn't mean my definition of what's offensive is greater than yours, - anyone can be offensive or be offended by anything they want - but I do think there is a growing collective idea of what makes more sense for certain things to be offensive or not. In my opinion though someone being crude on a bitchy gossip site like this isn't the same thing as racism or homophobia. People want to look at sexy people and we also want to discuss if something is slutty or not. So, I ultimately agree with what you say about offensiveness being subjective. totally agree. and I personally also get offended when a minority group makes a slur against someone who's not seen as a minority. racism and sexism of types comes from both directions. i just also find comedians or crazy - even sometimes offensive writers interesting, because they are still talking about stuff other peole don't dare to. Or things that Matt Lauer couldn't get away with on something like NBC.

  32. ACadapter says – reply to this


    Re: Ms. B Nice
    Yeah, and the Natives gave the Europeans syphilis to bring home around 1492.
    I don't think Columbus was "White" - I find that assumption offensive

  33. Vickky1319 says – reply to this


    Re: Yes You Bore Me – Hahahahah….. nuff said!

  34. 34

    for everything i said, i know sexism against women is real and degrading too. but sex is power also, and also theres a difference between degrading a woman in your office, and saying a starlet or action hero looks slutty from something they are doing in the tabloids.

  35. 35

    Question—so if you're trying to say that someone is an indian giver, exactly what is the politically correct phrase to use? If you say, "She's an indian giver", everyone understands what you mean right away and the conversation continues. Should someone instead be called a 'native american donor?" LOL

  36. 36

    LOL @ feminazis crying sexism..If you don't want to be called a whore or slut..Don't screw everything in sight then brag about it. Which is funny, most feminists are just skanks exploiting and abusing feminism and using it as a shield. Funny enough, for some odd reason they feel the need to advertise they are a "slut"..They go "woo im a slut and proud" then get mad if someone calls them that. They think they are making a political statement, taking affirmative action but really they just look like idiots. What you do is your own business. I for one do not want to date a doorknob, like most men. Stop trying to reforms peoples opinions to accommodate your stretched out vag.

  37. clinton pushetonequa says – reply to this


    Why does matt lauer still have a job.As a native american i thought it was very offensive.How can someone give something and take it back when everythings been taken already.Give back america.Then call me an indian"native american"giver.

  38. clinton pushetonequa says – reply to this


    Re: Ms. B Nice – Thank you.Its good to see a few people that are educated.

  39. sue says – reply to this


    Give me a break!