Journal article Open Access
When I wrote this in 1984, I thought of myself as a humane and tolerant person expressing humane, tolerant views. I'm uploading it three decades later because I find much of what I say here embarrassing--and because what embarrasses me is my utterly unconscious assumption of white male privilege. I praise O'Dell's choice of not providing his young Navaho narrator with a name for much of the book--a choice I now see as a commentary on the deprivation of her personhood that in fact confirms and reinforces that deprivation. I also praised O'Dell's depiction of the Navajo stoicism and refusal to express anger at what is happening to them--another confirmation of a hoary stereotype. Worst of all, I simply took it as an absolute truth that no one who was Navajo or even remotely like a Navajo would ever be part of the audience of the book. I have uploaded the article here not only because I feel guilty about what I once took for granted, and because I hope I have learned enough and grown enough to be less guilty now than I was in 1984.