In a recent Twitter post an important point was made by Dr. Noa Ha, a participant from our documentary, “Forget Winnetou! Loving in the Wrong Way” and a “(Post)colonial urbanist. Des/integration, critical race, decolonial studies. @ art school Berlin-Weissensee and DeZIM.”
I responded on the thread “Another facet of whiteness and whiteness-centeredness, both of which have the same roots: Racism. They’re still ask the same questions about Winnetou that were answered years ago. As in Rostock Lichtenhagen, no real social changes have been made. People are deliberately holding on to, and even defending, behaviors and practices that cause enormous harm.
It’s all connected.
I have done a few interviews in the last days regarding the Ravensburger book controversy and the new Winnetou film, but I’ve declined most, especially those asking the same questions already answered last month, last year, two, five and ten years ago. But a certain Germany and Germans refuse to listen and willfully defend racism and racist practices, and the teaching of perpetuation of Eurocentrism and cultural appropriation to another generation as “part of German culture”. So, racism is your culture? German media has largely been inflating, misinforming and encouraging defensive of racism and outrage over consequences for the support of stereotypes and cultural appropriation.
Thus far, you can partially read the articles/interviews cited below online or in print, but these are in German. And inevitably, at least one source stated a complete falsehood about my documentary, “Forget Winnetou! Loving in the Wrong Way” at the beginning of my interview. And then, they wonder why we and I delete their requests because of such misuse and misrepresentation of ourselves and our work? Rather like what they do to Native Americans in these books and films. Yet another example of how affective even fictional caricatures and stereotypes are in influencing behaviors.
A couple of articles/interviews with me so far, and this list will be updated:
This is a post from 2017 or so from redhaircrow.com, but is more relevant than ever before (unfortunately). Despite all educational efforts by their more enlightened peers and us, Germans willfully persistent in fetishization, erasure/replacement and stereotyping behaviors. There’s a willful insistence in ignoring this is a component of racism, related to colonialism and Eurocentrism AND/OR also accompanied by refusal to acknowledge the connection of accepted Native American stereotypes and misuse of Native cultures and peoples to the hatred, intolerance, conflicts and wars escalating or being fomented around the world.
From childhood, this creates and nurtures the mindset and practice that certain peoples, groups or individuals rights to life, safety and self-representation can be ignored, dismissed or even mocked if they object. Adherence to white supremacy ideology and structural racism is what allows this demographic to widely continue, and even defend, such practices. Good to know, we and others of their peers will continue to promote respect for all peoples, whatever their ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc. and not their “rape culture”. That is: ignoring when someone says, “No, don’t do this to me/us”, and they say, “Yes, we will because we want to. We don’t care if it harms you or We don’t believe it hurts you.” What a terrible thing to teach a child.
Shared: Because many “others” “foreigners” specific ethnicities, and in this case “Indianer” or Native American Indians are only presented in shows, as entertainment, as costumed figures who are there to entertain Germans in some way…stereotypes abound here, and are expected and even demanded. Often you see the same rapt look and desire: “Teach us! Show us! Make us laugh with wonder! Cry with excitement, shudder with amazement, dread, outrage (as to native treatment of the past)” but whatever it is, they want what they want.
For Native Americans they expect, with very clear stereotype guidelines, how you should look, speak, engage, too. If you don’t look, act or perform as they expect, they are disappointed, dejected and dissatisfied. You must meet their expectations or you are not “real”, you are not “authentic.” The children cry and wail while parents comfort or ignore them, but seldom is there any factual, contexual (age appropriate, of course) information provided. Even in textbooks or other educational materials, having learn this propensity from the US and Canada, most “information” is stereotypical in nature and content, and from non-native sources or Europeanized (a.k.a. colonized) mindsets tailored to keep non-natives comfortably within established, if fabricated, parameters.
And they are actively, dismissively resistant to calls for historical accuracy, cause and effect, contemporary realities or even simple truths, especially if conflicting with German or Euro-American perspective. I designate “Euro-American” primarily because just American suggests white American, whether its white Americans or Germans saying it. Here, if they know you are from America and you’re black, you’re just black, but they’ll also say black German, black American, and so on, but whites from the USA are just American. That should tell you something…if you’re honest.
In the intro image, a week long children’s workshop about Brazil is taking place in Berlin, which doubtless (unlike smaller towns) will have actual Brazilian people involved to “demonstrate” Brazilian “rituals”. The programme was created and written by the well meaning but Euro-heavy Labyrinth team, to provide free entertainment for children, particularly refugees. If they are so open-minded why are not minority educators on the team, as there are many well educated ethnic professionals across Berlin. Wouldn’t fit the paradigm?
There’s a strong component of “silencing” or speaking for POC, when white people take it upon themselves to speak and decide for others, in particular minorities, with little or no input from those minorities. It’s a form of patting themselves on the backs and receiving praise from European peers on how good and progressive they are, being the saviors for poor (predominantly POC), without understanding why this model is deeply problematic and smacks of what called “The White Savior” syndrome. Historical context, power dynamics, objectification and racist structures.
Mexican restaurants are supposed to have Mexican music playing, immediately recognizable “Mexican” music, and stereotypical Mexican persons speaking Spanish (a European language, while the country itself has over 60 indigenous languages being spoken, more than all of Europe!). Black Americans should be called “Bro!”, know hip-hop and rap music references and offered “fist bumps” so they can feel cool and hip when they are returned. Eastern Asians, be they Korean, Japanese or Chinese, should be agreeable at all times, rather shy and apologetic, naivé but intelligent. That’s allowed, it’s non-threatening.
Asians might be mentally allowed to be engineers, even doctors, while Mexicans should likely be working at restaurants, central or South Americans must always funny and cheerful, and Native Americans are dancers in western theme parks or visiting for a show. Even if you wear a business suit, if you’re African, you may be a drug dealer. Higher education? Why would minorities do that? It’s not like you’ll get anywhere in German society besides working strictly in a capacity where your ethnicity is why you are there in the first place.
Managers, police officers, working in social services or on company boards or even playing them on TV or in film? Highly unlikely. Comments like “but you’re (supply ethnicity)” abound, which is the incredulous sometimes confused equivalent of “No”, when they don’t want to actually say “no” because of what that would strongly indicate about their self, their company or society. If you give any criticism they will blow a “How dare you?!” gasket.
Above all, whatever you are as non-Germans, you should be ready and willing to supply whatever emotional boost they need, satisfy and answer their every query, while being careful to self-deprecatingly keep them in their comfort zone (no challenges or return questions!) while they lay layer after layer of stereotypes on you. Or alternatively (or strategically interspersed) they know all about you because they read it in a book or so-and-so has a ______friend, and they will argue until doomsday they are right because_________.
So their children learn objectification, stereotypes, and attitudes and behaviors that can lead to cultural appropriation and dehumanization, and which continue the cycle of imbalance of racism, power and perception. It all starts in childhood.
So why do minorities stay in Germany, with the widespread “them vs. others, normal vs. others” mentality? What is the appeal, the attraction, the thrill? For those I talked to, it isn’t because Europe or Europeans are so great. It is often more attributable to the communities of color that form in support and protection of each other, a response to being stereotyped, misrepresented and discriminated against so widely in society. In the case of Natives or other POC, you receive it in your “home” country, too, because white people there are immigrant/invaders living on stolen ground. Where can you ever be treated equally, respectfully, humanly?
Read the full article at link: “Haircrow says publishers tend to look for “recognizably Indigenous” stories. “It forces the Indigenous person to limit themselves if they want to get published in a traditional way,” he says. “They limit what readers are receiving. It’s a huge disservice to readers and to the writers.”
Pleased to announce our small part in the upcoming new exhibition on race at the Deutsches Hygiene Museum in Dresden, Germany. Some of our film footage will be part of a critically needed discussion on the origins of the race myth, and the subsequent creation and uses of stereotypes within the white supremacist power structures and institutional racism that is standard operating procedure for European run countries, (descendants or directly) wherever they are in the world. Facebook event.
The exhibition will be available to the public, 19 May 2018- 6 January 2019.
Director Red Haircrow appears in the trailer and documentary debuting on Jan. 28th on CBC Docs. It follows Drew Hayden Taylor’s “search” in Germany on the “why” of hobbyism. He was also invited to write a counter-point essay that will be published next week at CBC, “Native Hobbyism is Modern Day Colonialism.”
Our film, which is the “flip side”, on Natives living Germany, the origins and effects of racism, cultural appropriation and the Native stereotypes heavily affects their lives, and is interconnected to Eurocentrism, misuse and misrepresentation of other POC. Forget Winnetou- A Documentary Film is now available on DVD for private use and at VTape for organizational usage.
Director Red Haircrow was interviewed by Ojibwe playwright, author & filmmaker Drew Hayden Taylor on his upcoming documentary on the Winnetou phenomenon, which releases in Canada on 7 January 2018. Learn more about the prolific indigenous Canadian writer who grew up on the Curve Lake reserve.
Afterwards, the crew relaxed for casual conversation and coffee at Ahorn Café in the Berlin Kreuzberg area.
The new trailer for “Forget Winnetou!” is here. Deutsch version can be found at this link. This is the longer, explanatory trailer, but we will do a short teaser (50-59s), too. Thank you to all the participants and constructive feedback, and we look forward to sharing the finished documentary with everyone in December!
I’m excited to announce all official filming was completed on 31 July, and project “Forget Winnetou!” has entered post-production stage!
Our funding campaign goal unfortunately wasn’t met here on Indiegogo, but for me, Red Haircrow, this in no way affected my enthusiasm and commitment to finishing the project in a timely way, because I feel it is a critically needed message for NOW. Again, thank you, for the contributions you made.
However, because the campaign goal was not met, former co-director Timo Kiesel decided he could not commit equal time to the project, in favor of other choices. So, the actual documentary film will be directed and produced by me, Red Haircrow. Due to our earlier collaboration, Timo will be listed as associate producer, and will have selective contribution following post-production.
I am pleased to announce the addition of two team members, Johnny Clyde and Viveka Frost. Johnny is Purepecha American, and Viveka has Indigenous Venezuelan roots, both are artists, composers, and filmmakers, part of whose work is listed at IMDb. They are also interviewees for the documentary, who currently reside in Berlin.
15 June 2017- Directors Red Haircrow & Timo Kiesel will be at Institut für Sozialwissenschaften at Humboldt University in Berlin, to present “Representation Matters: Decolonizing Indigeneity”. Forget Winnetou.
For more information, please visit its Facebook event page, details in Deutsch and English. The presentation will be in both languages as well.
“Headdresses at carnival, childhood games, books sold by the millions for generations: iconic colonial racist imagery such as Karl May’s fictional character Winnetou keeps shaping our distorted images of indigenous North American cultures and histories. Together with author, film maker and psychological counselor Red Haircrow and with Timo Kiesel, film maker (“White Charity” 2011) and member of glokal e.V. we will discuss how representation of indigenous people and First Nations in the Americas and Germany are entangled with the material reality of social inequality and indigenous struggles for sovereignty, environmental justice and survival. The event is bilingual and located on ground level.”
Karnevalskostüme, Kindheitsspiele, Bücher in Millionenauflage seit Generationen: Kolonialrassistische Imaginationen mit Kultstatus wie jene rund um den fiktionalen Charakter Winnetou von Karl May prägen unser verzerrtes Bild indigener nordamerikanischer Kulturen und Geschichten. Gemeinsam mit dem Autor, Filmemacher und psychologischen Berater Red Haircrow und mit Timo Kiesel, Filmemacher („White Charity“ 2011) und Mitglied bei glokal e.V. wollen wir diskutieren, wie fremd- und selbstbestimmte Repräsentation von indigenous people und First Nations in Deutschland und den Amerikas mit der materiellen Realität sozialer Ungleichheit und mit indigenen Kämpfen um Souveränität, environmental justice und Überleben verwoben ist. Der Workshop ist zweisprachig. Der Ort ist ebenerdig zugänglich.”