30 March 2015

High Cheekbones and Straight Black Hair

For many years a colleague of mine thought I was half Hungarian, half Japanese. Why? Because I resemble another friend of hers who is half Hungarian, half Japanese. You can see from my family's DNA results that there is no way I am half Hungarian or half Japanese.
Some of you seem to think certain physical traits can be assigned to a specific ethnicity. Like everyone with high cheekbones and/or straight black hair has Native American ancestry. That photo of your ancestor is not definitive proof that he/she was Native American.
Does this person "look Indian" to you?

Behind the scenes on Cecil B. DeMille's Unconquered, 1947. [Tumblr]

That is William Henry Pratt, a.k.a. Boris Karloff. He was born in London, England and is of Anglo-Indian descent, not Native American.
What about the iconic "Crying Indian"?

That is Espera Oscar de Corti, a.k.a. Iron Eyes Cody. He was born in Louisiana to Sicilian immigrants. He has no Native American ancestry whatsoever.
Your family photo is proof of nothing. Stop making assumptions based on looks. You just look foolish and sound racist.

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1 comment:

  1. The sad thing, as your examples illustrate, is that many of our images of Native Americans come from Western movies and TV shows from the 1930s to the 1960s, and most, if not all of the actors, were European. The 1960s sitcom, F Troop, actually parodied this situtation.