One of the protesters sent me this message from James Vu, who apparently was a party organizer or host:
You should be focusing your attention more on the professional teams and institutional schools. I see way more people dress up for that all year long. We had a thanksgiving theme party (dress anything pertaining to thanksgiving). Washington Redskins (DC), Atlanta Braves, Florida State Seminoles, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Redhawks, You hear chants every day and see people dressing up and yet no facebook posts or rants about that. Again we did not do this to be derogatory or demeaning towards any race or culture. We changed the flyer and theme. Sorry if you viewed us as being inconsiderate. We weren't trying to be.
So Vu's view that nobody is protesting mascots on Facebook is flatly wrong. So is his presumption that people are picking on him for no reason--that they really don't care about Indian mascots or people dressing up as Indians.
Great Plains tribes oppose mascots
Background research on Native stereotypes
Wisconsin kids oppose Indian mascots
Supreme Court upholds Redskins trademark
Most Indians oppose "redskins"
Native orgs that oppose mascots
It's called multitasking, folks. Try it some time if you've never heard of the concept. Write an article, make a video, or create a Facebook page; you'll find it works even while you're asleep!
Bigger targets need longer protests
So tens of thousands of people in Indian country saw the protest. And I don't see anyone defending the party or denouncing the protesters. The best bet is that the vast majority agreed with the protest--because they've spent their careers fighting such stereotypes.
The message? That Indians still exist, obviously. That they're modern-day people like everyone else. That they refuse to be defined by centuries-old stereotypes of them as savage and uncivilized. That they'll kick your butt if you try to peg them as chiefs, braves, and maidens--i.e., primitive people of the past.
The only difference between a mascot protest and a party protest is that a party is one-time event with no historical record. In contrast, a professional, college, or high-school sports team has decades of history and thousands if not millions of supporters. Not to mention millions or billions of dollars of corporate and media backing.
If a party has 100 fans and a sports team has 10 million fans, it's going to take roughly 100,000 times longer to reach and persuade everyone. Seriously. A 6-hour response time for a party x 100,000 = a 68.5-year response time for a major sports team.
That's the right ballpark for changing an Indian mascot like the Stanford Indian, the University of Illinois's Chief Illiniwek, or UND's Fighting Sioux. If it takes 75 or 100 years to change the remaining offenders--Chief Wahoo and the Washington Redskins--that's to be expected. They'll all be gone eventually because they're racist.
For more on the subject, see Racist Costumes = White Privilege and Hipster Racism.
Below: Offensive portrayals of blacks and Indians--all racist for the same reasons.