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Civilize Them With a Stick by Mary Crow Dog - Essay Example

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Although the rationale behind Mary Crow Dog’s will to resistance is clear, what is entirely unclear is why a city educated comparatively wealthy white girl from New York would engage herself in such a type of resistance and revolution as the author indicated. This brief essay…
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Dr. Hartnett Section/# Essay One Organizing Civil Disobedience Although the rationale behind Mary Crow Dog’s will to resistance is clear, what is entirely unclear is why a city educated comparatively wealthy white girl from New York would engage herself in such a type of resistance and revolution as the author indicated. This brief essay will attempt to disagree with the way in which the supposed “teacher” sought to engage the students in a type of Marxist Revolution that they were neither ready for nor fully understood the ramifications of. Although the revolution that the teacher inspired within the students, to include Mary Crow Dog, did not affect any type of violence, it nonetheless was based on revolutionary/Marxist movements that were sweeping the United States at that time that were based on violence and therefore the causation of such a movement was necessarily grounded in violent revolution.
Rather than advocating such a violent revolution and antagonizing influence among the student body, this author believes that a much more effective strategy for change could have drawn upon the influences of Dr. Martin Luther King and others who have advocated non-violence throughout history. It should be understood that the “hippie”, described to the reader as “Wise” did not actively advocate a violent solution to the repression that the students on the reservation faced; instead, she merely drew inspiration from movements such as the Black Panthers, Young Lords, and Weathermen.
Although advocating a sense of liberation and freedom from an overly repressive regime was no doubt needed and overdue, the fact of the matter was that holding such groups up to a repressed minority as exemplifiers of the best means to accomplish one’s goal is of course the very worst example that could be given (Mulloy 217). Although each of the groups that has been mentioned head its own reasons for defying the powers of the time, the means by which these groups accomplished their goals often relied on intimidation, violence, and coercion. As such, indoctrinating a group of young impressionable students with such hatred was shortsighted and foolish on her part.
Said Wise, “Black people are getting it on. Indians are getting it on in St. Paul and California. How about you? – Why don’t you put out an underground paper, mimeograph it, it’s easy tell it like it is. Let it all hang out” (Bird 307). Although the idea of freedom and the ability to express oneself regarding the issues that most severely affected the life of the girls and boys at the institute was useful, welcome and much needed, the fact of the matter is that this type of tacit support from an educator encouraged students so fully that they put out a paper that included quotes such as the following: “I put all my anger and venom into it. I called him a goddam wasicun son of a bitch. I wrote that he knew nothing about Indians and should go bac to where he came from, teaching white children whom he could relate to. I wrote that we know which priests slept with which nuns and that all they ever could think about was filling their bellies and buying a new car” (Bird 308). Although many of these items were no doubt true, such a vitriolic and hate-filled expression of feelings would have little effect in seeking to liberate the students; rather, it only served to invite a crack down from administration.
Such a short sighted approach by “Wise” showed that she truly was an idealistic city girl that knew and appreciated little of the struggles that those who lived and went to school on the reservation had to endure on a daily basis. Though the girls identified with her and appreciated the new way in which she approached topics regarding freedom and liberation, the fact of the matter was that neither the students nor the teacher had little if any experience in what it meant to resist and/or to go against the system. In this way, the naiveté of both the students and the teacher is exhibited in the fact that the obvious conclusion of the episode was not anticipated by the instructor that at first sought to instigate it.
Although the rationale behind the resistance is well understood and the authorities that sought to repress the girls and boys at the school were reprehensible, the approach that “Wise” advocated was entirely foolish. Although it helped to provide a powerful epiphany for Mary Crow Dog, the result of such a brash and brazen disregard for civility and dialogue is cringe-worthy. To her credit, “Wise” did not have the advantage of seeing the Black Panther and Weathermen movements for what they were: politically motivated hate groups that sought to widen the divide between peoples in order to advocate complete and total revolution to achieve their goals.
Works Cited
Bird, Mary. Lakota woman. New York, NY: HarperPerennial, 1991.
Mulloy, D. J. "New Panthers, Old Panthers And The Politics Of Black Nationalism In The United States." Patterns Of Prejudice 44.3 (2010): 217-238. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. Read More
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