What Tonto taught me as a child

Johnny Depp wearing lots of facepaint and a crow on his head
Photo courtsey Disney

Some people are criticizing Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Tonto in this year’s movie “The Long Ranger.” Things like:

  • “Another white man playing the role of a Native American”
  • “Native Americans don’t wear face paint all the time”
  • “Most Native Americans talk in monosyllablics.” [I don’t know about this one]

All points to consider.

Here’s one positive thought: growing up, I thought it was strange that Tonto didn’t dress the same as the Lone Ranger. But you know what I learned from that? I learned to be what you want to be. Dress how you want to dress.

I know there is underlying things with how Native Americans are portrayed. Should Tonto be wearing something that is stereotypical? Perhaps he shouldn’t be. But from a child’s perspective what I saw: be who you want to be.

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