April 09, 2008

Colusa drops "Redskins"

Wow, someone actually realized the "Redskins" name is a problem. This posting explains why it's a problem.

Time for Redskins' retirement

Board votes 3-2 to change school's mascotBucking strong opposition from students, alumni and city residents, the Colusa Unified School District board Tuesday night eked out a 3-2 decision to retire the high school's Redskins mascot.

The decision begins the task of replacing the arrowheads, headdresses and other symbols that have adorned courts, uniforms and signs for more than eight decades.

The divided vote reflected the rifts the mascot issue has opened in the 5,500-person town. Audience members loudly cheered speakers defending the nickname as a revered tradition, while a smaller contingent of Wintun, Maidu and other tribe members passionately attacked it as a mark of oppression and intolerance.

After the two-hour drama played out before a television crew and about 110 spectators, a slim majority chose to drop the tribal name and emblem, causing many audience members to rush out of the district auditorium within seconds in disgust.
Comment:  What I find interesting is the picture below. To Colusa supporters, "redskins" means a stone-tipped spear. Not only is it a primitive weapon, it's so primitive that its creator isn't using metal yet. It's a Stone Age implement for a Stone Age people.

What a great way to "honor" Indians: by portraying them as frozen in the distant past, hundreds of years ago. Is there a better example of how today's Americans view Indians as a vanished breed? Not since the last time they portrayed Indians as stereotypical spearchuckers, surely.

Are these the same "redskins" who greeted Columbus? Probably not, since these Indians like to skewer people. Columbus reported that the Indians he met were as sweet and innocent as children. In contrast, these make-believe Indians exist to kill and ravage--i.e., to act savagely.

If it isn't obvious, this is exactly why things such as Redskin magazine are offensive and stereotypical. It's because they contribute to the perception that Indians are backward, primitive, and superstitious. The term "redskin" literally goes only skin-deep; it's shallow and superficial.

For more on the subject, see Red·skin n. Dated, Offensive, Taboo.

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