Flight

Above the Stereotypes 11th Grade

Sherman Alexie, author of Flight and a biracial Native American, is quoted as saying “don’t live up to your expectations.” The Native American story is one of genocide, violence, and a battle for equality that still stands in the way of many to this day. Past events in American history have shaped biases against American Indians, which continue to affect members of this ethnicity. In Sherman Alexie’s Flight, Zits uses stereotypes which have been formed by historical events and scenarios to understand and identify himself, to situate his own life within a larger history of strife.

When Europeans first began settling in the Americas, many Europeans were fearful of the darker skinned tribes, who were in turn angered by the reckless disrespect they had been shown; with attempts to lead them away from their land began “their perception of Native threat." This expectation of violence and anger from Native Americans was “highly dependent on European perceptions of the origins and malleability of [their] presumed backwardness,” and is still present in modern society. Drawing on the perspective of Gus, an Indian hunter working with the US government, Zits remembers “When he, [Gus], came upon those slaughtered white settlers. Dead white...

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