This morning I received an e-mail from a reader informing me that yesterday’s comic (7/8) was offensive. The reader went on to explain that the term “Injun” – or in the case of my comic, “engine” – was considered a derogatory term by Native Americans.
I’d not only heard the term used in Loony Toons cartoons as a child, but I’d heard the expression “honest injun” throughout my life and was ignorant that there was a negative connotation associated with it. In fact, I’m part Native American myself – part Cherokee on my Mother’s side and part Navajo on my Father’s, so I certainly wouldn’t intentionally use a term that would be insensitive to my own heritage.
Having a degree in psychology and having briefly worked towards my M.A. in professional counseling, I suppose I should have been more aware of the subtext. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. With that said, I’d like apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the unintended insensitivity resulting from my ignorance.