December 31, 2007

How mascots foster racism

Tim Giago:  Mascots insulting to most Indians[E]ven if UND alumni wanted to retain this apparently erroneous name, it is what they do in presenting that image I find reprehensible. One year when UND played its main rival, the North Dakota State Bison, a cartoon image made the rounds of an Indian warrior sexually mounting a buffalo with the appropriate language attached. Another time in the city of Bismarck just before a renewal of this instate rivalry, some fans of North Dakota State were calling their UND rivals “The F_ _ _ing Sioux.” They used the “F” word to not only insult the fans of UND, but collaterally insulted all Native Americans in the state.

If one happened to be in Champagne/Urbana, Illinois before a big sporting event, in order to laud their mascot, Chief Illiniwek, a white boy dressed up in Native attire, one could see images of bleary-eyed, drunken Indians painted on the windows of the downtown bars. On sale in the local markets and drugstores, one could purchase rolls of toilet paper with images of Indians imprinted on every sheet.

One year, before a big football game between the Minnesota Gophers and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, stuffed Indian dummies could be seen with ropes around their necks hanging from buildings and trees on the Minnesota campus.

Now any Indian or white that finds the things I have written above as “honoring” American Indians holds a very different view of what the word “honor” holds for the majority of Native Americans.

I cannot end this piece without referring to the Sunday a few years ago when the fans of the Washington professional football team (I will not use the “R” word here), painted a pig red, placed a feathered bonnet on its head, and then chased it around the football field at halftime. If they had painted a pig black and placed an Afro wig on its head and chased it around the football field at halftime, how many African Americans would have considered that an “honor?”

5 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Someone should tell Tim that it is spelled 'Champaign,' and not 'Champagne.' But then again, it is New Year's, is it not? Perhaps he was reading the word off his bottle of Bollinger's...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

An editor could've changed Giago's copy for him--correcting what he thought was a mistake. You can't be sure a writer erred unless he posted the piece himself.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Now that writerfella thinks about it, it should have read 'Champaign-Urbana.' Someone's Brie has gone afoul in Tivoli...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Jum said...

"How mascots foster racism". You're really serious, aren't you?

Rob said...

Yes, those of us who protest racist and stereotypical mascots are serious. When you can refute our arguments, go ahead and do so.