Cowboys and Ritalin

Cowboys and Ritalin

Quick: what do racial sensitivity and Ritalin have in common? Give up? I’ll tell you: The author of this meme dislikes them both without knowing anything about either topic.

This memer has packed an amazing level of stupid into a single meme. It makes me laugh. On the other hand it makes my job as a snarky blogger that much harder, because now I have to shoehorn a discussion of political correctness, Native American history, and Ritalin into the same blog post! How am I supposed to segue smoothly from one topic to the next?

Never mind. Let’s start with the fact that pioneers and cowboys are not the same people. Pioneers are the first people to explore and settle a region. If you’re talking about the American West, then the true pioneers were the aboriginal people who migrated down from the Bering Strait tens of thousands of years ago. Most people don’t think of Native Americans as pioneers, though. When most people speak of American Pioneers, they mean the European descendants who forged westward into land that was previously pioneered by the aforementioned aboriginals. Discussing this distinction upsets people who create this kind of meme.

A cowboy is a person who herds cattle, usually on horseback. That’s why they’re called cowboys. There’s nothing particularly pioneering about a cowboy. I bet most cowboys try to avoid driving their cattle into uncharted territory. It doesn’t bode well for your profits if your cattle get mired in a mud pit situated just beyond the edge of your map.

I wouldn’t bother to point this out, except the memer seems to believe that “Pioneers and Native Americans” is a more politically correct way to refer to “Cowboys and Indians”. It isn’t. It’s a different game altogether.

While we’re on the topic of political correctness, let’s talk about Native Americans and Indians. I know there’s been a lot of controversy over whether it’s acceptable to refer to Native Americans as Indians; after all, the Indian moniker supposedly arose from a geographical error of monumental proportions. I can understand the concern. If somebody showed up at my house thinking he had arrived at Mel Gibson’s house, I wouldn’t want to be called a Gibsonian for the rest of my days. However, many Native tribes have adopted the term Indian (or American Indian) without any hint of disdain, so I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine whether the term is racially insensitive.

And what about the game “Pioneers and Native Americans”? Is that game racially insensitive? I guess it depends on how you play it. If you play the Native Americans as ignorant savages impeding the progress of the gallant American Pioneers, then yes…that’s racially insensitive. Staging a historically accurate and racially balanced portrayal of the conflict between pioneers and Native Americans would probably leave you feeling depressed. If you want to avoid troublesome moral issues, you’d better play Cops and Robbers instead…where you can explore the workings of the American Justice System. Oh, wait…

Okay, now let’s talk about Ritalin (or methylphenidate). Ritalin is a psychostimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and narcolepsy (thank you, Wikipedia). Did you see “racial insensitivity” on that list? Of course you didn’t! Ritalin isn’t prescribed for racial insensitivity. If it were, then Paula Deen could pop a few tablets and be back on the air next week!

I sort of get the impression that this memer is an ADHD-denier – a person who believes that ADHD isn’t real or isn’t as prevalent as the doctors in league with Big Pharma would have us believe, and that all so-called ADHD kids need a good butt-whoopin’ to get them back in line. Since the memer didn’t actully say any of that, I won’t waste any more time pointing out how silly the argument is. But his disparaging view of Ritalin as some sort of drug that parents foist upon their children for any and all perceived shortcomings makes me think he doesn’t understand much about ADHD, Ritalin, or anything dealing with mental health in general.

For example, the memer apparently believes that a child’s mother can make adjustments to his Ritalin dose without consulting a physician. To be fair, maybe the woman in the picture is the child’s physician, but if that’s the case, it isn’t very clear. I’ve never been to a physician’s office that had sofas that nice.

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