This morning, ICTMN received a note from the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) expressing concern over a recent article that appeared on this site with the headline "Rate that Genocide: Which Was Worse, Slavery or Treatment of Native Americans?"
The brief post described a poll by Vanity Fair that asked readers "Which is the biggest ethical misjudgment in U.S. history?" We found the question and pie-chart illustration to be problematic, and our intent was to expose this by isolating the offensive premise of Vanity Fair's piece in an absurd way.
But intent is useless if the execution is shoddy. And clearly it was. The headline had an element of satire to it but didn't identify the target of its satire (which was Vanity Fair, not genocide or slavery). The body text of the article was not satirical at all. The graphic from the Vanity Fair site, presented at face value, only muddled things further. Our piece ended up offending readers in the same way the Vanity Fair piece had offended us. To those readers who were troubled by the headline and article, we say: We're sorry.
We have removed the article from our website and are presently discussing what went wrong and how to do better.
We would also like to thank NAJA for bringing this matter to our attention. It's an exciting time for media by and about Natives; more people are reading stories about Indigenous culture and issues than ever before. But with greater reach and influence, it is all the more important to be responsible.