November 19, 2010

"Fighting Harbaughs" t-shirts

Stanford Indian Controversy Returns

By Alex KatzAnother Stanford Indian scandal could be brewing on the Farm. This time, the controversy surrounds a t-shirt with an image of an Indian chief that looks a lot like Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh.

Rob Wellington, a Stanford alum from the class of ’04, has been selling the “Fighting Harbaughs” shirts for a couple of weeks on his website, Wellington said that the idea for the shirts began with a group of about 10 recent Stanford alums and football fans which called themselves the Fighting Harbaughs. He explained that the current t-shirt was the latest in a series of Harbaugh-related t-shirts, such as one that played off of the Notre Dame logo.
And:On campus, the Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) has been up in arms about the t-shirt sales. Wellington said that multiple members of the organization had emailed him:

I got a couple of emails from some folks who identified themselves as Native Americans–and they found the shirts to be offensive.

The president of SAIO, Lia Abeita-Sanchez, said the following when asked about the incident:

The reaction from the Native community is much the same as it is when we are faced with any other Native American mascot issue: we are not pleased and once more it completely undermines years of combating stereotypical images.
Comment:  For more on Stanford and Indians, see Dreamcatcher = Healing at Stanford and Eliminating the Stanford Indian. For more on mascots in general, see Team Names and Mascots.

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