In recent years, controversial organizations like Black Lives Matter have worked hard to shed light on the plight of African Americans.
The host of CNN’s United Shades of America, W. Kamau Bell, however, argues that Native Americans face an onslaught of unreported oppression compared to all minority groups.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 1 in 4 Native Americans lives in poverty. And according to Bell, Native Americans have the highest poverty rates among all minority groups, accounting for twice the average national poverty line.
Bell stirs the racism pot further in his documentary, citing that perpetual negative images have circulated in the media and within the glitzy world of sports.
As an example, sports teams in grade school all the way up to national leagues often use slurs and caricature images to reflect unrealistic personas of Native Americans. Based on feedback from indigenous tribes, costuming this culture is considered to be outright cultural theft and misappropriation.
Also starring in the original series is Ojibwe attorney Tara Houska. When asked about her take on the new series and its coverage of Native Americans, she stated:
“Natives in mainstream media are a rarity. It’s refreshing and empowering to see indigenous voices featured, tearing down stereotypes and speaking from the heart on where we are today.”
Police brutality is another major problem faced by Native Americans. According to Indian Country Today, this group is more likely to be killed by police per capita than any other group in the United States.
In Native American reservations across the country, many residents are gripped with similar socioeconomic issues faced by mainstream communities. These include crime, poverty, unemployment, and even drug abuse.
The lack of coverage is mainly due to the fact that Native Americans make up only 2% of the populace.
Native Americans have recently received growing attention due to protests set up at the Dakota Access Pipelines.
Bell has opened up the conversation but agrees there’s still a lot of work to be done.