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Twinkie is a racial pejorative used by most American Indians to refer to a European American, with little or no social or blood links to any tribe, who claims to be an American Indian. Particularly applies to those who claim to be shaman, healers, or other prominent respected positions in Indian culture. They frequently request money or donations to become part of their organization or to attend ceremonies. They sometimes have websites full of mismatched and/or incorrect symbols and facts borrowed from books or pop culture images of Indian culture. Many of these groups essentially sell fraudulent ceremonies and feel-good ideas. They try to incorporate New Age ideas such as "Energy Healing", "Atlantis" and Tantric sex into a fanciful Native American spirituality.
Twinkieism is seen by many as an example of cultural appropriation. Used this way it is a humorous comment and not a racial slur. Natives who fall for New Age falsehoods may also be teased as being "twinkies."
Another use of Twinkie can be in describing an Asian American who has become completely integrated into White American, or mainstream American culture, thus losing their traditional Asian values. A reference to "Twinkie" can be seen in the 2004 film Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, where Harold, a Korean American, is referred to as a "Twinkie." This term is derived from the snack food Twinkie and means "yellow on the outside, white on the inside."
"Twinkie" is also used to describe a man or woman who attains celebrity or success in some public occupation for which she has no known training or expertise. Because the Twinkie snack-cake is a lightweight, very sweet dessert, the name was borrowed for such notable persons because of the suggestion that their fame and/or success is based on an attractive appearance coupled with a perceived sweet personality. At the same time, a diet only of Twinkie cakes would not be wholesome, just as an abundance of pretty, but unqualified, personnel would not be a successful workforce. This use of "Twinkie" is most often heard applied to persons running for public office, working in television, and so on.
- Mihesuah, Devon A. (2002). American Indians : stereotypes & realities (Reprint ed.). Atlanta, Ga.: Clarity. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-932863-22-5. Retrieved 27 February 2012. "It's little wonder that Indians are closed-mouthed about their spirituality. Non-Indians claiming to be "spiritual leaders," "healers," and "medicine men and women" abound in this country, and these "crystal twinkies" (as a former Hopi student likes to call them) make a pretty decent living at deceiving the public."
- Lee, Jonathan H.X.; editors, Kathleen M. Nadeau, (2011). Encyclopedia of Asian American folklore and folklife. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-35066-5. Retrieved 27 February 2012.