June 01, 2013

Goshen removes wooden Indian mascot

Chief’s last stand?

School officials remove wooden statue until after graduation

By Sherry Van Arsdall
Based on previous recommendations from an athletic council formed years ago to study the appropriateness of Goshen High School’s “Redskins” nickname, school administrators had a wooden Indian chief statue removed from the gymnasium Thursday morning.

The removal of the statue, which Goshen Community Schools Superintendent Diane Woodworth called temporary, fueled a social media uproar Thursday and Friday, as well as speculation that the school corporation had already changed its nearly 90-year-old nickname. The nickname, Woodworth assured, has not been changed.

“We were just trying to be respectful of the differing opinions that surround this issue and wanted to focus on the graduates themselves,” Woodworth told The Goshen News in an email Friday afternoon. “I have received many emails asking for a study committee and for something to be done about the mascot. ...”

Woodworth said those requests came after articles were published in The Goshen News on May 5 and 6 examining the history of the “Redskins” nickname, both here and elsewhere, as well as recent calls for change of the nickname that many consider a racial slur toward Native Americans.
Comment:  FYI, Goshen is in Indiana. Not only is the school's wooden Indian grim, stoic, crude, and flat, it's wearing a Plains headdress from hundreds of miles away.

Never mind the ethnic slur of the school's "Redskins" nickname. Do Goshen's knuckleheads realize that Plains chiefs 1) didn't go around half-naked like savages, and 2) didn't live in Indiana? The statue alone is another example of racist stereotyping.

The superintendent says the school respecting "differing opinions." Translation: People on one side say the statue is objectively racist because it singles out one race for negative treatment. I.e., it discriminates on the basis of race.

People on the other side can't touch the racism argument so they switch to the asinine "But we're honoring you" argument. That argument is false because most Indians disagree with the so-called honor. And it's irrelevant because it doesn't address the fact that the name is an ethnic slur and the statue is a gross caricature.

For more on high schools with the "Redskins" nickname, see Cooperstown Changes "Redskins" to "Hawkeyes" and Campaign Against Nepean Redskins.

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