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No Doubt's Racially Offensive Video Inspires Letter From UCLA's American Indian Studies Center

| Filed under: Icky Icky PooGwen StefaniMusic MinuteNo Doubt

no doubt looking hot native american offensive ucla letter

Amidst the still-brewing controversy of No Doubt's Looking Hot music video, the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA has posted an open letter to the reunited band.

Commending them for immediately taking the video off of YouTube once they became aware of its offensive nature, the Center makes it very clear why the community is in fact so offended.

Opening their argument with the obvious issues, the Center addresses the stereotypes depicted in the video and why it hurts the community, saying:

"The music video demonstrates the height of cultural misappropriation and a complete indifference towards and ignorance about contemporary Indian people. The video at once employs Native imagery and symbols, many of which still hold deep spiritual and ceremonial significance for Native Americans while at the same time situating such imagery in a (largely inaccurate) set of depictions of Indians at the turn of the century as primitive peoples fighting cowboys (and losing) in the Wild West. In this sense, the video diminishes Native people and Native cultures while, simultaneously, co-opting Indians and indigeneity for exploitative gain. In essence, it represents the grossest kind of cultural misappropriation."

But then they reveal the even deeper harm done, addressing the sexual crime issues their community faces. Making it a point to note Gwen Stefani's "writhing" as a stereotypically-dressed character during a scene of "white men" aggression, the Center elaborates further on the cultural wound inflicted, saying:

"Most importantly, however, the video is rife with imagery that glorifies aggression against Indian people, and, most disturbingly, denigrates and objectifies Native women through scenes of sexualized violence. Much like the 19th century paintings advancing the ethos of manifest destiny – the belief that the United States was destined by God to expand across the continent, bringing civilization and light to a primitive people – the video draws on familiar tropes of the conquest of the continent and, concomitantly, the ravage of the Native female. As lead singer Gwen Stefani writhes, partially dressed (as an Indian) and shackled in ropes while overseen by domineering white men brandishing pistols, today real Native American women in the United States are in a state of crisis."

The Center then explains how "one in three American Indian and Alaskan Native women will be raped in their lifetimes."

They also address their suspicion in the band's apology. While they applaud most of it, they note:

"While No Doubt’s apology claimed to have consulted "Native American studies experts at the University of California," to our knowledge, no such person from UCLA was consulted about the video prior to its release."

But they're also still very open to forgiveness, offering:

"Nevertheless, in furtherance of our educational and collaborative mission, we extend to you an invitation to engage with the American Indian Studies Center and the Los Angeles Indian community, as we see this unfortunate incident as presenting an opportunity for growth and mutual understanding."

We would love to see that.

As we've said before, we applaud the band for taking full responsibility, but we understand that harm has still been done. So, that being said, we'd think it would do wonders if the band took this opportunity to spread awareness on the issue at hand through their platform.

They can totally turn this thing around with the right tools if they wanted to. Instead of letting it be, they could use their fame to help fight the problems the community faces. And in that sense, maybe the end-result will become something ultimately greater had no video been posted at all.

What do U think about that? Any ideas from your point of view?

CLICK HERE to read the letter in full.

Hopefully everything can truly resolve itself here. It's an unfortunate situation all around but one that presents great opportunity nonetheless!

[Image via Judy Eddy/WENN.]

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21 comments to “No Doubt's Racially Offensive Video Inspires Letter From UCLA's American Indian Studies Center”

  1. WHITE PEOPLE says – reply to this


    1

    WHOM GIVES A FLYING FUCK WHAT THE SUBHUMAN STUDIES CENTER THINKS !!!
    .
    YOU AIN'T STAYIN' HERE , ANYWAY !!!!
    .
    WHAT'A YOU THINK , WE'RE CRAZY !!!!



  2. 2

    Let's just censor everything that offends anyone. Oh, that would be just about everything in the universe.



  3. 3

    Stupid fucks. Their music sucks ass anyway, and always has. But please, they lied their asses off. If they spoke to a Native American Educator, they would have been well aware of their overly offensive video. What a joke, jsut another fake ass fucking celeb spewing bullshit and having it be eaten up by the likes of your gay ass.



  4. 4

    …but hey, at least it isn't as offensive as the dude on the right's suit.



  5. 5

    It was just art, nothing trying to be offensive. I am not a fan of PC everything.

  6. Craig Fenson says – reply to this


    6

    Oh gosh, quit crying. If it had been like this before, we wouldn't have any good Westerns. Such overly sensitive people we have nowadays.



  7. 7

    The video was not offensive. As a matter of fact you were posting about how awesome the video was but when something comes out of it you change your tone. Now the video of you singing is more offensive



  8. 8

    I think they should do work with them bc it will help spread awareness of Native issues. The average lifespan on Pine Ridge is like 48-54….in the year 2012 people! Obviously something is going on and instead of only talking about Hispanics and African Americans, we should put the spot light on the Native Americans as well.



  9. 9

    And to you who say its not offensive, this is bc you are unaware of their issues and what is sacred to them. We act like the only thing worthy of being even CONSIDERED Sacred and Holy is if it is from Europe. Please. They use Native Americans to make a video but ignore them why their conditions are shitty. They are misrepresenting them and ignoring them. But still using them. Stop portraying them incorrectly and acting as if it is nothing. If it was a Hispanic issue or black, you'd all give a damn. But its just the Natives so who cares right?! SMDH!



  10. 10

    People wanna get offended when Madonna mocks Christians and Jesus and the pope, but if its Native Americans who cares right? Damn hypocrites!



  11. 11

    Re: Mimi the Magnificent – Agreed, agreed, and agreed.



  12. 12

    Didn't she get banged by all of those guys?



  13. 13

    In an age where it's considered highly offensive to wear black face, what made them think people wouldn't mind if they did essentially the same thing be it another minority? I know it's over the top PC but that's how society seems to think nowadays. Freedom of expression is gone unfortunately.



  14. 14

    Oh Perez stfu you righteous prick! You of all people have no right getting all high and mighty about offending anybody. You made a name for yourself being disgustingly offensive with your blog. Dumb hypocrite!



  15. 15

    No Doubt I see a few homo's up there….



  16. 16

    this was honestly probably one of their best videos and she looked amazing…what a freakin shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  17. 17

    Re: italianxo – Maybe next time she'll use real Natives

  18. court says – reply to this


    18

    who gives a rat's ass ? it's just a fucking video no pop star has ever tried to be PC

  19. Ted says – reply to this


    19

    Re: court – Of course its offensive everything is FUCK YOU! Quit being so uptight!

  20. JT says – reply to this


    20

    There is no way any "Native American studies expert" would say this video is acceptable.
    Deal with folks, the video is offensive. Stop crying about people being oversensitive.
    - Sincerely, an individual with a degree in anthropology.

  21. ttboyy says – reply to this


    21

    I cant believe No Doubt would portrait American Indians in this fashion. Everyone knows they are lazy, fat, diabetic, drunks living in dirty and disgusting houses out in the middle of nowhere. Now, that is racist and offensive. Not a silly video. Offensive?? What offends me are "groups" of our society just waiting their turn to complain they are not being honored or portraited in the manner they see fit. Gwen and No Doubt, in my book, just went up a notch. Love the song, love the video.