March 12, 2011

Mascots = killers or idiots

A good article reiterates some of my anti-mascot arguments:

Another Logical Look at the Mascot Issue

By David Trout StaddonThe use of mascots is inextricably tied to sports. Indian mascots usually fall into two categories: 1) a war-like male, with a fierce expression, a feather headdress and sometimes carrying a weapon, like a tomahawk, or, 2) a comical male with exaggerated features, (a huge, beaky nose, big lips, buck-teeth), a feather headdress and sometimes a weapon. Both use historical images, not contemporary ones. I’m not sure how this honors Indian culture. But it seems to foster a certain stereotype. After all, why can’t the mascot be a medicine person? Or a contemporary depiction, such as an Indian attorney? Or a female, wearing a nurse’s uniform? Indian mascots reinforce one-dimensional male stereotypes as fierce, blood-thirsty scary killers, or comical idiots not to be taken seriously.

The fact that Indians disappear out of textbooks after the frontier closed instills the idea that we are historical relics and, having been thrown on the trash-heap of history, have little relevance in today’s world. Indian mascots reinforce the idea that we are historical relics to students and society in general. For that reason alone, educational institutions should discontinue the use of Indian nicknames and mascots.

Chief Illiniwek the comical idiot.University administrators had to admit that the mascot did create a stereotype, but felt that it was a “positive” stereotype. What?! Why would a university want to project any kind of stereotype? Are Jewish people good with banking and money? Do they control the entertainment industry? Would a university want to perpetuate a “positive” stereotype about Jews, based on those perceptions? I don’t think so.

The vitriolic letters we received from individuals supporting the Indian nickname and logo were amazing. Yet university officials gave them credence. Some of the ignorant language (and grammar) were worthy of the Ku Klux Klan—yet those racist statements were seen as valid support to keep the nickname and mascot. Since the university and its alumnae are overwhelmingly non-Indian, and some of us were attempting to “destroy” their heritage, the support to retain the nickname and mascot was overwhelming. What means exist to protect Indian rights and dignity—especially when certain local tribal members spoke up in favor of retention? They certainly got favorable press. How many voters in Mississippi would have supported Rosa Parks’ right to keep her bus seat and not give it up to a white person? Likely very few. But that doesn’t mean the majority is right.
For more on the subject, see Legislators "Honor" Indians by Voting Against Them and Students "Honor" Indians by Ignoring Them.

Below:  This Jew is good at managing money. The cartoon is an honor!

No comments: