April 25, 2007

Good exchange on mascots

Jodi Picoult and Native MascotsLast week we picked up Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper and started reading.

One of the characters in the novel is a lawyer named Campbell. On page 116, he says:

I'm remarkably calm, really, until the principal of Ponaganset High School starts to give me a telephone lecture on political correctness. "For God's sake," he sputters. "What kind of message does it send when a group of Native American students names their intramural basketball league "The Whiteys'?"

"I imagine it sends the same message that you did when you picked the Chieftains as your school mascot."

"We've been the Ponaganset Chieftains since 1970," the principal argues.

"Yes, and they've been members of the Narragansett tribe since they were born."

"It's derogatory. And politically incorrect."
Comment:  To which Campbell could respond, "Ditto."

(Excerpted from Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature, 4/17/07.)

13 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Pretty good, for a throwaway one-liner. But then again, it could have been The Honkies, The Pinkies, The RedNecks, The Trailer Trash, The FeetPickers, The Neanderthals, or any number of other epithets and euphemisms for EuroMan which MOST DEFINITELY either are illegal or otherwise are prohibited by "reverse discrimination" statutes. For once, writerfella can't see the T-shirts...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

When the Fighting Whites issue surfaced, I said the concept wasn't satirical enough. I would've called the team the Rednecks with a white-guy logo or the Whites with a Ku Klux Klan logo.

In other words, take the "Whites" concept to its logical extreme. Because that's what sports teams are doing when they depict Indians as savage warriors.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Right. Sort of... But what of team names such as the Vikings? Or the Raiders? Or the Pirates? Or the Buccaneers? Or the Akron Indians? Or the Duluth Eskimoes? Or the Oorang Indians? And especially, the Dayton Triangles? Oooh, that last one must have had the gossipers all ablaze! And writerfella believes the Triangles were NOT regarded as 'savage warriors', to be sure!
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

The Vikings, Raiders, and Pirates teams aren't directly and explicitly linked to one ethnicity. Their ethnicity isn't highlighted by a blatantly white logo or mascot. The Vikings football helmet, for instance, uses only a pair of horns.

This is especially understandable in the case of the Raiders and Pirates, since people of many races plied these trades. Traditionally, a pirate could be black, hispanic, mulatto, or mestizo. He didn't have to be white.

If a Raiders logo looked like the Fighting Whites logo, then it would make a satirical point. Namely, that the vast majority of (corporate) raiders today are white men in suits. But don't expect to see that symbol of aggression, dominance, and victory on a sports team anytime soon.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
NOT according to Rob's own posts on this very blog concerning the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films, where the pirates definitely were Caucasian and everyone they encountered was not. Check the archives -- it's there! By the bye, does anyone recognize the pun on the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK? Where were they hiding away the Ark of The Covenant? In the National ARCHIVES, of course...
All Best
Russ Baters
'writerfella'

Rob said...

Is this another of your attempts at "ordinary conversation," Russ? If there's a difference between your ordinary conversation and your nitpicking at my responses, I don't see it.

I don't recall saying anything about the pirates' ethnicity in Pirates. What I said was that the cannibalistic Indians were stereotypical.

Readers don't need to search the site, since I've linked to my Pirates postings on my Cannibals of the Caribbean page. Go there and find the alleged comment about pirates if you can.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Nope, that doesn't wash, as your comparisons were based on whites vs. dark-skinned natives, exactly the same logic you used on the 300 comparisons. Wow, never saw that much 'crawfishing' in one hell of a long time. Good dancing, however, and writerfella gives it a 75...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

What doesn't wash is your opinion on the subject. When you can find a quote about the pirates of Pirates being white and only white, please do so. Until then, this claim remains a figment of your imagination.

In my analyses, I usually contrast Natives with non-Natives. If I ever refer to whites rather than non-Natives, it's because the vast majority of the people in question are white. That applies to pirates too: They were mainly but not wholly white.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Yet you,Rob, have one more pirate movie, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END to comment on and adjudge, in less than two weeks from now. What you have to say at such a time will make a difference in what writerfella has had to say to this point as compared to what you will say then to this point. Ah, the situation is not as yet over...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I guess you couldn't find the quote you alleged exists. Or you were too lazy to try.

I doubt I'll comment on Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End unless it includes a Native component. Based on the preview I saw, the movie takes place mainly in the South China Sea.

I believe the plot involves a gathering of pirates of all races and nationalities. If so, that would confirm my point that pirates don't have to be white.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Not at all, as NEWSPAPER ROCK's archives are stripped of the indicators that there were replies to the blog entry when they were current. As far as the archived entries themselves are concerned, they must have sat unread or unacknowledged and so are ignored by surfers through their midsts. Else we must conclude that the webmaster was too lazy to archive them exactly as they stood when time had passed. Very clever, these Chinese...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I'll repeat for the third or fourth time that all the blog entries are still available in the archives and all the comments are still attached to their entries. If you can't figure out how to access them (two simple clicks will do it), that's your problem, not mine.

To reiterate, the problem is your ineptitude, not my "laziness."

Here's one blog entry you may have been referring to:

Great White Hopes vs. Screaming Hordes

Go ahead and click on it. Let me know if you can't read the original entry and the corresponding comments. If you can't, perhaps we can help you with your limited computer skills, or whatever the problem is.

If anyone else is reading this, please let us know if you can click on the above link and read the posting and its comments. Let's put this tired issue to bed once and for all.

Conny said...

"If anyone else is reading this, please let us know if you can click on the above link and read the posting and its comments."

The link works just fine!