February 06, 2010

Redskins make children cry

MU diversity groups bring Native American issues to foreground

The week's events focused on Native American imagery in sports.

By Alex Silverman
Cornel Pewewardy, professor of Native American studies at Portland State University, presented some of his research on the effects of Native American sports images on Native American populations Thursday. The National Indian Education Association named Pewewardy the 2009 Teacher of the Year. In his lecture, Pewewardy discussed the negative effects of stereotypical Native American imagery in both sports and society on the self-esteem of Native American people.

He recalled an instance from his time as an elementary educator in a predominantly Native American area when he took some of his students on a trip to an NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins. While walking his students through the parking lot, the war-chanting and tomahawk chopping of Redskins fans in full "Indian garb" brought some of his students to tears.

"If you see babies cry and you know why they're crying, you do something about it," Pewewardy said.
Comment:  If you're a typical American, what you do about crying Indian children is ignore them. Or perhaps blame them for not being "man" enough to take racist insults in stride.

For more on the subject, see Red·skin n.  Dated, Offensive, Taboo and Team Names and Mascots.

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