The Great White Father Myth - A Hypocritical Belief

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The Great White Father Myth - A Hypocritical Belief In the informative article "The Great White Father Myth," the author Stan Steiner discusses the stereotypical view that the white man has created of himself as the hero, conqueror, and savior. He labels this view as "The Great White Father Myth," and begins by talking about the silent role the Indians have taken in the face of their Great White Father. Steiner supports his view of the white man's superiority as being nothing more than a myth, by discussing the crimes the white man committed against the Indians were silenced. The Indian Wars and the White man's desire to civilize the Indians were illustrations of the myth that whites were superior. Although the article contains a one-sided view of the events between the Europeans and the Indians, the fact that the white man is hypocritical in the view of himself as the Great White Father comes through very accurately and strongly. This idea is shown very evidently even though Steiner never comes out and defines what the Great White Father Myth is. He shows what he means through examples. Basically, through illustrations he shows that he feels the myth is that whites are superior beings of the human race. This created identity makes their values, religion, and culture the ideal goal for other races to follow. Since the white race is the "father" it is his duty to punish and change anyone who is different. In "An Indian Story of the Sierra Madre," the typical white hero and savior image of the Great White Father Myth that Steiner describes comes through. Captain Ben, who is the white cowboy hero, knows everything. In the beginning, he knows that the Indians are near just by looking at some birds over head. In his mind, Ben knows without even seeing them that they want to kill him and his men. As a result of this conclusion, smart Ben devises a scheme to kill the Indians and saves the day. After the massacre, he finds money with the Indians and knows automatically that they stole it. Captain Ben, being the savior and all around good guy, recovers the money and intends to find its owner and return it. The story continues in this same stereotypical fashion (DeQuille 242). This is how the white man pictures himself in comparison to the Indian: white = good and red skin = bad.

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