By Olivia A. Cole
Research backs this up. In a study carried out by the University of California, research showed that dehumanization of black people led to increased violence (trigger warning for racist imagery):
A recent study found that police officers come out of the police academy already having a bias toward use of force, and that there is alarming correlation between race and perceived threat. But what of police who thrill themselves with this perception of threat? Literally training their eye in the shooting range to see a black face and shoot? Is it really fear triggering the gun, or is it the result of a well-practiced drill?
Like in the Implicit Association Test, in which the test taker must quickly choose whether to apply "bad" and "good" words to black or white people (pain, joy, horrible, pleasure) in the blink of an eye, in which all our prejudices are tested, perhaps police like those in North Miami Beach are underestimating what they teach their own brains when they tape up pictures of black boys to gun down. What it comes down to is that we are supposed to believe police officers' fear because we are supposed to believe that people with black skin are to be feared. We are sold the officers' fear and convinced to ignore the fear of being black in America, born with a target painted on one's face.
Mascots and other stereotypical images contribute to the violence against Natives--just like the targets on the shooting range. If you see Natives as cartoon characters fit only for product labels or Halloween costumes, you're less likely to treat them as human beings. You're more likely to react negatively when they don't match your expectations.
Many Natives have heard comments along the lines of "You're not a real Indian" or "Where are the real Indians?" Anyone who says such things is doubtful and suspicious by definition. How are you supposed to receive fair treatment when the person opposite you questions your existence?
For more on the subject, see Blacks Killed Because of Racist Stereotypes.