Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Smith on Sexual Violence

While her argument was far ranging and a bit free wheeling, I nonetheless found Smith's argument convincing. Especially insightful was her equation of sexual violation with the violation of land claims of Native Americans (424). While one must be cautious about making claims with a direct form of causality such as this, the denying of legal rights and violating land sovereignty in the name of "true rights" and manifest destiny seem very correspond quite clearly with the creation of a Native American who is not quite human, not quite pure. The purity of the white race is thus contrasted with the filth of the natives and their supposed sexual animal nature. Native American men and Black men (not to mention, currently, Hispanic men) are targeted as criminals who prey on "real" Americans, being defined as white, middle class individuals who are heterosexual. Women of "ethnicity" are ignored as subjects of crimes, as is rather apparent here in Alaska. Indeed, the problems within the Native communities are defined as Native "problems" and it is difficult to live in close proximity to Native American communities without hearing totalizing claims about their culture, rarely in complimentary terms. Thus, while Smith paints a (likely exaggerated) rosy picture of what life was for Native Americans prior to domination and marginalization, her argument about what the process of colonization means in the present was very insightful and poignant, especially her consideration of the various examples of resentment for the mere existence of Native Americans with needs. Here, I think especially of the claim that "the Canadian government could boost health care funding for 'real people in real towns' by cutting the bureaucracy that serves only native peoples" (424).

And yet, the range of her discussion suggests that sexual violence against women is not as simple as she suggests: it is not merely a tool, a method of control, or an entirely intended consequence. When non-Natives cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed on a reservation, it is also an issue of sovereignty, of funding and political interest. When the question of rape is considered relative to Native American cultures, it is also an issue of cultural relativism, tribal sovereignty, and marginalization. Thus, while her treatment of the issue is illuminating, the question of what to do is not made to appear simple; while this is realistic, it also ultimately makes action much more complex.

39 comments:

  1. 天下沒有走不通的路,沒有克服不了的困難,沒有打不敗的敵人。..................................................

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  2. 我們必須先有哭泣,才有歡笑;也必須先感到人生的悲哀,然後才感到人生的快樂。 ..................................................

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  3. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

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  4. 如果成為一支火柴,也要點亮一個短暫的宇宙;如果是一隻烏鴉,也要叫疼閉塞的耳膜。.................................................................

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  5. 噴泉的高度,不會超過它的源頭。一個人的事業也是如此,它的成就絕不會超過自己的信念。..................................................................

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  6. 獨居時,要反省自己的過錯;在社會大眾之間,則要忘卻別人的過失。..................................................

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  7. 唯有用熱情、用智慧去觀察事物,這事物才會把他的秘密,洩漏給我們............................................................

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  8. 真正仁慈的人,會忘記他們做過的善行,他們全心投入現在的工作,過去的事已被遺忘。.................................................

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  9. 人自幼就應該通過完美的教育,去建立一種好的習慣。......................................................

    ReplyDelete