Letter to the Editor:
Anchorage Daily News
On April 10, one of the radio personalities "Woody and Wilcox," on Station KBFX, made brutally offensive racial remarks on their morning show. The two were bantering about what it means to be a real Alaskan. One asked the question "Have you ever made love to the Yukon River or peed in a Native woman?" How often have you heard a single sentence that racist and that sexist?
This was hate speech, intended to amuse bigots. Some listeners were shocked; but many Natives, while sickened, thought it was all too typical of Alaska's race relations. While our country does not put people in jail for what they say; it is also true that we should not tolerate vulgar, race-baiting over the public airways. On behalf of the statewide Native community, the Alaska Federation of Natives calls upon Fox Radio's managers to take immediate disciplinary action against the individual or individuals responsible.
AFN's complaint is not just another example of political correctness. Sexual violence against indigenous women in the U.S. is as widespread as it is vicious. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Native American and Alaska Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped/sexually assaulted than are other American women. As noted by Amnesty International,"... sexual violence against indigenous women is the result of a number of factors, including a history of widespread and egregious human rights violations against indigenous peoples in the United States.... Indigenous women were raped by settlers and soldiers in many infamous episodes....Such attacks were not random or individual; they were tools of conquest and colonization."
Alaska ranks number three among all 50 states in terms of such racial and sexual violence against indigenous women; and now we can understand part of why the numbers are so bad. The Klan has its n-word; neo-Nazi groups tell Auschwitz jokes; and here in Alaska, Woody and Wilcox think that brutalizing Native women is funny. As Alaskans, all of us can do better than this
One can only imagine the look on the face of some young Native girl who heard that remark, when she looked up and said: "Mommy, what does that mean?" What it means, young lady, is that this man feels that you are less human than he is - and that you deserve to be punished for it.
What Woody and/or Wilcox said on FOX Radio is at least as bad as what Don Imus said about the Rutgers women's basketball team. He was fired for it.
President, Alaska Federation of Natives