May 29, 2012

Animals, objects, and professions

How 'Indian' mascots oppress

By John Two-HawksLet's take a look at sports team names in general. There are only three categories that nearly all sports team names fall into.

1. Animals 2. Objects 3. 'Professions'

Some examples:


Eagles, Bears, Falcons, Lions, Tigers, Ravens, Bulls, Wolverines, Cardinals, Dolphins, Ducks, Jaguars etc.


Pistons, Bullets, Rockets, Suns, Jets, Red Sox, White Sox, Stars, Rockies etc.


Packers, Kings, Steelers, Spartans, Buccaneers, Vikings, 49ers, Cowboys, Rangers, Lakers etc.

Obviously there are exceptions.
And:[W]hich category do these so-called 'Indian' sports team names fit into? Animals? Objects? Professions?

The answer of course, is simple, none of the above! These names/mascots fall into the category: RACIAL.
Good analysis, although it's not quite right. Vikings and Spartans (along with Trojans, Fighting Irish, and a few others) are more properly classified as ethnic or political groups--like Indians.

The main point with these groups is that they're predominantly gone, and thus not around to be offended. As for the Fighting Irish, I addressed that case in Fighting Sioux vs. Fighting Irish.

One could argue that most people classify Indians with animals, not professions. People think they're fierce and predatory like animals. They wear skins and feathers like animals. They make sounds (chants) and movements (dances) like animals.

Being Indian isn't a profession, obviously. If people thought it was, every Indian mascot wouldn't have a display of plumage like an exotic bird's. They could represent an Indian with an abstract logo like that of the Steelers or Saints.

Fact is that people choose Indian mascots precisely so they can display a wild animal savage on their logos. That's why they bawl like babies when you let them keep a name such as "Warriors" without the Indian imagery.

More thoughts on mascots

Why is the fact that Indians are a racial category a problem?These 'Indian' mascots/team names oppress Indian people. They oppress because they continue in the use of extreme negative stereotypical antics, words and images. Antics like the 'tomahawk-chop', mock 'Indian war-chants', non-Indians painting their faces and dressing-up like 'Indians', mascots performing mock 'Indian' dances or throwing fiery spears etc.

Indian children cannot possibly look at a stadium full of thousands of people mocking their ethnicity and making fun of their traditions and feel good about being Indian. This is what 'Indian mascots' do. They glorify all the stupid old stereotypes and steal the pride our children could have in the beauty of their race. They insult the entire Indian race.

Insulting an entire race...the very real definition of racism....
Nor should we excuse the less controversial Indian mascots:Braves

This is a word that has been used to denigrate Indian men. It dehumanizes the Indian male and equates him to something less than human. The terms 'buck' and 'doe' were also used by early european immigrants as a way to patronize Indian men and women. As you can see, they also infer that the Indian person is in some way inhuman. We are men, NOT 'braves'....


This is a word that is commonly given as a nickname which insults Indian men. The cultural equivelant would be to nickname all white men 'Prez' or 'King'. The term 'chief' itself is incorrect. Our leaders were never 'chiefs', but headmen, or clan mothers, and so on. Not 'chiefs'. Our leaders were highly disrespected by the USA. So calling someone 'Chief', is just a way to continue that disrespect....
Comment:  For more on Indian mascots, see Hockey Team Chooses "Tomahawks" Name and Oregon Bans Indian Mascots.

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