CNN’s Error Really Was Something Else
The U.S. election is finally over (unless you’re among the few who believe the fake news that the Trump campaign has a “fighting chance” in the courts.) Watching Biden’s and Harris’s victory speeches was cathartic for so many reasons. After four long years of tumult, there’s the promise of a return to decency with an experienced political veteran at the helm. We just elected the first female Vice President, the first Black Vice President, and the first South Asian Vice President. Y’all, Saturday was a good day. In both Biden’s and Harris’s victory speeches, I noticed how they both carefully named each group of people who worked, fought and voted them into office. CNN could take some notes.
I want to draw attention to a moment last week that went largely unnoticed by the mainstream. It was when CNN was explaining the results of an exit poll, and the graphic they used had some questionable race labels:
White, Latino, Black, and Asian each get named — and then there’s “something else.” Naturally, Native Twitter had a field day.
It truly was something else. But for every tweet and meme that pokes fun at the label, there are just as many expressing outrage at Native peoples being yet again erased from the national conversation. Most folks wouldn’t have even noticed that Native Americans weren’t included in the graphic. Most Americans probably didn’t read that and immediately wonder whether the “something else” meant Native American. And that’s exactly the point — most folks forget that Native Americans are still here.
CNN’s exit poll is just the latest example of Native American erasure, and as Cody Two Bears points out on Twitter, completely disregards the difference that Native votes made in key swing states: Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
From COVID-19 ravaging Tribal communities more than any other, to systemic racism and inequity, to continued colonization of their sovereign land and water rights, Native Americans stood to lose the most from this election. Their votes matter, and they deserve to be reported on with dignity, not relegated to a race that mainstream reporters don’t care to identify. They aren’t something else. They’re human.
Throughout the month of November, I will be writing about Native American heritage and history. Stay tuned for more!