February 09, 2014

Indians will vanish without Redskins?

Someone on Twitter offered this stupid argument: If we eliminate ‪#‎Redskins‬, nothing will be left to remind us of Indians. Nothing except 566 tribes and 5.2 million people, that is.

The same person who offered this "argument" also offered trite pro-mascot argument #1: Don't Indians have more important problems to worry about? Ho-hum.

Never mind that a tweet or Facebook posting about the Redskins takes only a few seconds. That most mascot foes tackle a variety of issues via a process called "multitasking." That mascot lovers devote far more time and energy to supporting their fantasies than activists do in opposing them.

Indeed, the gusts of hot air and river of tears from crybaby fans could power a city for years. Don't believe me? Count the number and length of pro-Redskins comments on any mascot-related article. These people apparently have nothing else to do but defend their beloved "redskins."

Indians about to vanish?

But let's examine the initial claim that the Washington Redskins are the only thing standing between Indians and oblivion.

So Indians have many problems...but without mascots, Indians will vanish from our consciousness? Uh, slight contradiction there? Which is it?

If all our attention should be on reservation-based poverty and crime, why do we need mascots? The problems are enough to remind us about Indians. Everyone from the government to the mainstream media to individual Americans should be talking about these real-world issues.

Natives themselves--their governments, organizations, and media--certainly focus on the problems. You can find 50-100 Native stories every day of the year if you look for them. So whose fault is it if you're ignorant of Native issues, sports fans? How much time do you devote to the Washington Redskins and how much to real Indians?

If you haven't figured it out yet, it's your fault. Your phony "love" of the "noble redman" extends only to your mascots. When real Indians show up, you scorn them because they don't look or act like two-dimensional cartoons. You hate them because they challenge your false and stereotypical notions of Indians.

Mascots are unnecessary as an additional "reminder," bright boys. In fact, they remind us of the distant past, not the present-day problems. They distract us from these problems by giving us a romanticized picture of long-gone Indians. They're a barrier to real Indians and their problems, not a gateway.

Pro-Redskins arguments are weak

Poor dumb #Redskins supporters. They can't come up with a single argument that we haven't heard and answered a hundred times over the last half a century. How ignorant do you have to be to offer these ridiculous arguments as if they're fresh and challenging?

Hey, maybe women will get hysterical if we let them vote. Maybe blacks don't have the necessary tools to be managers. Maybe mascots are the only thing keeping Indians in our thoughts. I'll take "Stupid Arguments That We Answered Decades Ago" for $600, Alex!

Sadly, Indians sometimes offer the "people need mascots to remember us by" argument too. Really, you feel so worthless and invisible that even a mascot is better than nothing? How about declaring that your existence is enough of a reminder for ignorant Americans?

If you don't think that's enough, do something memorable. Get a degree, start a business, or create beautiful art. You should be the proof that Indians still exist, not some cartoon character.

The #NotYourMascot campaign sent a message along these lines. That, duh, Indians are people, not mascots. That thinking of Indians means thinking of Indians, not fictional characters that only vaguely resemble Indians. Duhhh.

Whether they're Native or not, everyone should grasp this point. But if it's too hard for you, refresh your memory about what Indians are with some #NotYourMascot images:

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