Sunday, April 25, 2010

is Little House on the Prairie racist?

To my amazement, a surprising number of people say Little House on the Prairie is racist. When they cite a specific example, they choose this paragraph:
Mrs. Scott said she hoped to goodness they would have no trouble with Indians. Mr. Scott had heard rumors of trouble. She said, "Land knows, they'd never do anything with this country themselves. All they do is roam around over it like wild animals. Treaties or no treaties, the land belongs to folks that'll farm it. That's only common sense and justice." She did not know why the government made treaties with Indians. The only good Indian was a dead Indian. The very thought of Indians made her blood run cold.
They ignore this paragraph:
Pa said he didn't know about that. He figured that Indians would be as peaceable as anyone else if they were left alone. On the other hand, they had been moved west so many times that naturally they hated white folks.
What they don't understand is that Pa is a voice of moral authority in the book. He not only says Indians are the same as whites, he says the hatred of some Indians is perfectly natural given the way whites treated them.

Context matters.