February 20, 2007

Love the mascot, hate the Indian

Tim Giago:  'Chief Illiniwek' does his last danceAfter observing a particular crude presentation at the halftime of a Washington Redskins football game in 1982 I wrote a column questioning the use of human beings as mascots in a fashion that demeaned them. The incident involved a group of fans painting a pig red, placing a feathered bonnet on its head and then chasing it around the fifty-yard line as halftime entertainment. The first thing that struck me was what if these fans had painted a pig black and placed an Afro-wig on its head and did this stunt at halftime? Even 25 years ago this would have gone over about as well as a fart in church.

I was stunned by the hate mail I received for this column. I was asked to be on a national radio call-in show to talk about the use of Indians as mascots. Once again, the hate directed at me spewed from the radio. Mind you, I am Native American, Oglala Lakota, born and raised on an Indian reservation in South Dakota. Some of the callers suggested that, 'If I didn't like it, go back to wherever in the hell I came from.'
Comment:  The picture below is less insulting than the scene described above. In the picture, the "Indian" is merely riding a pig. In the scene described, the Indian is a pig.


Eric McClung said...

The most dangerous part of racism is the majority of people who are infected with in either ignore it or don't realize it.

I wrote an article on my blog agreeing with Chief Illiniwek getting the boot being the proper call. Click here if you'd like to read it

Rob said...

Again, the disappearance of such mascots as Sammy Seminole, Monty Montezuma, and Chief Nokahoma proves that racism is diminishing. If it was as bad as it used to be, Chief Illiniwek's supporters would be demonstrating rather than writing whiny letters to the editor.