Photo courtesy
A protester holds a sign in opposition to the moniker of the Washington football team. Diné activist Amanda Blackhorse says the hate mail she receives has reduced since 2014, but continues.

Blackhorse: A Year Later, Less Hate Mail – Still I Fight

Amanda Blackhorse

It’s been an entire year since I wrote the piece on hate mail.

At the time, it was my intention to showcase the all-too-common-but-hidden stereotypes and hatred directed at Native people. Using social media and this column to show this seemed the most appropriate.

Since then, the hate mail I received decreased about 98 to 99-percent! Incredible isn’t it? I think so, but I struggle to know if this is due to minds changing or that folks are afraid they will be revealed in a national publication such as ICTMN.

I guess we may never know, but one thing is for sure: folks are still angry.

Although I don’t regularly receive the outright hateful “you squaw” or “you are my redskin” or the “f*** you b****!” I do get harassed – a lot.

As far as hate mail goes, it seems that when people are behind the safety and anonymity of their computers they may be more willing to say what is on their mind. Whether it is through the computer or in person, I don’t think I should have to deal with it alone, and neither should others.

For example, some of the harassment isn’t the overt racism, but more annoying than anything. A year ago, I was inundated during Christmas. I guess it was a scheme to send me a variety of HTTR (Hail to the R**sk***) Christmas cards or something.

This year, I got bombarded similarly after the team finally won a game. Fans demonstrate how much they love their team and how much they despise me. I’m pretty sure there is a secret gathering where they plot all of this out, and then – boom! All at once they flood me with messages and posts. This doesn’t bother me; it’s strange, but then I block them. Or they disappear until next time.

In a Facebook post, Anthony Centamore tells Blackhorse and other Native Americans to "go fuck yourself you liberal political correct pieces of shit." Photo courtesy Amanda Blackhorse

These annoying and harassing messages and posts are just that – annoying.

What’s more compelling is the harassment, intimidation, and outright criminal trespass of my personal space.

I refuse to spend my energy on returning the hate back. While I don’t agree with the Washington team’s use of the R-word, I don’t engage in hateful behaviors toward Washington fans. I don’t go out and troll their pages or their Twitter accounts. I don't seek them out or send them harassing messages.

I also don’t Photoshop their faces and make vile-disgusting memes of them. I don’t steal their identity and create fake profiles of them.

I don't follow them around at stores or events. I don’t intimidate them at the airport, or elsewhere. I don't follow them around with a video camera and keep filming even when they say “stop.” I don’t stand across the street and take endless pictures of them and watch their every move, taunt and laugh at them.

I don't flip them off in their face, and call them names, berate them or their children. I don’t rally up my friends and joke about what I would do to them if I ever saw them in person. I don’t plot or tell them I am going to “get them,” and “take them out,” or “shut them down,” and I most certainly don’t spend my evenings on the radio talking about how I would “give it to them if I've ever seen them.” In this case, I was the “them” they were talking about.

It is very disgusting to hear grown men sit around and talk about how they would “give it to me” or talk about “how much fun they would have with me” if they ever saw me in person.

These are alarming, harassing, bullying, even sexually violent, and incontrovertibly hostile behaviors, which you’d hope would cease, but they have happened to me in this year.

Still, their constant bullying doesn't change my mind, and it certainly does not scare me into backing off.

I grew up on the rez. I'm scared of very few things, and none among them are trolls, fanatical football fans, or misogynists who hide behind their team or the so-called “80 years of tradition.”

RELATED: Washington NFL Team Thong ‘Elegant Way to Show Off Pride’

These people obviously fear large congregations of Native Americans, but have no problem harassing one alone, and isn’t that the behavior of a bully?

Yes, it is.

I would not be surprised if this time next year I’m penning yet another column concerning the bombardment of hate mail I receive from Washington NFL fans. But do you know what else I will be doing this time next year? And every year thereafter until the name changes? You guessed it: I’ll be fighting against a dictionary-defined racial slur that has time and again proven to harm the mental health of the youth.

So, as these crazed Washington NFL fans troll and bully and harass and taunt and creep, we, the responsible and informed, will continue in our campaign for the wellbeing of the youth because it is no longer about football – it is bigger than football. This is about shifting the mindset of our societal structure to view Native Americans as human beings and not mascots.

Amanda Blackhorse. Photo courtesy Malcolm Benally.

Amanda Blackhorse, Diné, is a mother and activist. She and four other plaintiffs won a case against the Washington football team that stripped it of six of its seven trademarks. Follow her on Twitter @blackhorse_a. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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WinterWindTeacher's picture
Submitted by WinterWindTeacher on
I think Amanda Blackhorse is a brave, courageous, and responsible human being doing her fair share of caring. She is an honorable person and no doubt her spirit was sent into this time because of her strength, commitment and love. It is cruel to experience this cult or culture of alien beast, human beings are not meant to mix with such creatures. It is a choice those people made, either to be fully human being, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, or dabble. They have chosen to bite and prey as fiend, beast, or alien. It has been tragic for human being, the earth, water, sky, the animals, plants, soil, trees, the stars and the outer planets. So much life has already disappeared, devoured or stripped of its ability to carry out its natural functions - which is absurd. These beings who bully, harass, torment and terrorize are addicted. They are addicts to inflicting pain, suffering and death. They also find a lucrative past time profession and profit by tearing up life. There have been such great trials for human beings on this earth for so long. I really do not know, but it is written that the Saint's and Prophets were all murdered and that among us human beings are the descendants of the murderers. How much more precious is the divine light living and shining in us; it offers inspiration, hope, goodness, kindness, beauty and truth to others confined in darkness who wish to see. I think true life is meant for this magnificent creation - the earth and all this life has been a true reflection of her spirit and being. It is an honor to love the earth and to be loved by her; it is intelligent and necessary. I think the false people will go to their own world. I think the reckoning will come, many have testified that certain prophecy's were to be fulfilled and that many have been. The divine appointment is sacred and holy - as human beings we were given enough information to know to live as human beings. It is dirty and cruel to be tarried, taxed, weighted down with debris desecrating life in being. It is irritating and painful to live in such degraded defilement, we are not meant to live in such poverty - it is strewn about the earth. I also see the giants; volcano's, thunder and lightening, wind, hurricanes and tornado's, earth quakes, rain, snow, ocean tide, river filling who have at their ability to remove what and whom, where and when, that communication takes place. I sense their spirit alongside our being, no army, military or weapon of any kind would cause a delay in their action. They are so powerful, only a fool could be blind or give no thought to their existence. It is good to know, to hope the day will be born whole, not broken - the poverty, hunger, war and greed, poisons, pollutants and prisons, no more. To think on it, to see the people walking together, smiling and laughing again, cleansed. That a spirit will whisper awake those asleep in cemetery's to "get up out of the grave and be restored to life, to live fully, to live complete forever more is divine complete. I honor your bravery and beauty, you pass through the fire and are cleansed, the lie can not pass through, the fire destroys it. You are not the enemy, the truth in secrecy has been attacked religiously. It has been despised for a very long time. Truth is free and so is love, it still provides the wind that lifts your spirit to fly. Fly to the land of eternity to live your beauty in reality - why you are born fulfills destiny, journey, wonder, amazement and innocence. Ravishing waterfall - song to trees, rocks, lizards and frogs carrying this little leaf to be rejoined with family, not far. Bathe me in your beauty, harmony and shady cool pools spilling over ages washed me clean loving you loving me. Radiant sun showered us together reigning light on these once ravaging shores of desert now flower the blossoms, my petals closing up tight. A seed I blow breath and being to and rise into evenings night traversing all treachery down below I wavered with tumbling delight coursing star light so bright seeds about everywhere laughing and sighing hi, how are you. As coyote's telling all the story moon mother kisses each to our birth in the earth once again, bound to live we must fulfill.

verncox's picture
Submitted by verncox on
When are the "whinny liberal" of the tribes going to stop thinking for the whitey? "redskin" is "Warrior to Warrior" respect. "Injun" is the "Hate your neighborhood aborigine" word. You rarely hear that word anymore in white circles for just that reason. We don't hate you. "Redskin" or "Brave" is not the same among whites as "nigger", "kraut", "jap", "chink"or, "gook". All are seriously derogatory for blacks, Nazi Germans, Nazi Japanese, Communist Chinese,or Viet Cong.

Alamosaurus's picture
Submitted by Alamosaurus on
Most of the ignorant rednecks some of whom have sent you hate mail don't understand the origin of the term "redskin"--it originally referred to the bloody scalps of native people who were murdered by white bounty hunters so they could collect the bounty being paid for them. My understanding is that "squaw" is also an offensive term--it is a vulgar term for a women's sexual organs: literal translation is "cunt". Unfortunately there are a lot of bigoted ignorant people out there who try to bolster their own poor self image by putting someone else down. Hence terms like "redskin", "kike", "nigger", "gook", "chink", "hori", "boong".