From War Whoops to Whining
By Jim Goad
We are told that such costumes and mascots psychologically traumatize and lower the self-esteem of the so-called natives, which in turn hinders their performance in modern society. In fact, the American Psychological Association issued a 2005 resolution that called for the “Immediate Retirement of American Indian Mascots, Symbols, Images, and Personalities by Schools, Colleges, Universities, Athletic Teams, and Organizations.” The APA argued that such team names and logos create hostile environments that are disrespectful and possibly violate Injuns’ civil rights and need to be “eradicated” before this historically underperforming group can reach upward and maximize its innate potential. This past May, the state of Oregon passed a measure that would soon cut funding for any school teams that continued to employ Native American imagery.
Personally, I liked the Injuns more when they were bold and noble warriors than thought-policing whiners. They seemed far more…honorable?
But sure, let’s focus on the kooky mascots and the team names and the foam tomahawks. Let’s never dare mention the gas-huffing and the fetal alcohol syndrome and the drug use and the teen pregnancy. Let’s never ask why these once bold and noble warriors, despite decades of federal payouts and tax breaks, still seem incapable of thriving in a modern technological society. Don’t ever question the wisdom of bringing arrows to a gunfight. Don’t dare search for cultural and possibly even genetic reasons for why the Indians always seem to get the short end of the firestick. It’s obvious that the kooky mascots and the team names and the foam tomahawks are to blame.
It's not exactly a crushing argument to say we should ignore the mascots that cause psychological trauma because there's a lot of psychological trauma. Better luck next time, bright boy.
Also note how he scorns the Natives he supposedly admires. "Injuns"..."war whoops"..."drum beat"..."so-called natives"..."firestick"...etc. He liked Indians when they were safely in the past, vanishing or vanished, and he didn't have to think about his genocidal ancestors or racial bias.
Well, boo-hoo, bigot. Sorry if today's Indians don't conform to your stupid stereotypes.
Goad's last paragraph is full of false or misleading statements.
In other words, he's practically admitting his prejudice against Indians as a race.
Commenters confirm the racism
The commenters on this column make Goad's racism even more explicit. Here are a few examples and my responses:
If all the non-Indians left, the 70% of Indians who live off the rez would continue working as doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, business owners, politicians, etc. They'd have no more problem running the country than any other small group. Again, if you think Indians were savages and are lazy drunks, you're a racist.
Seriously. The Braves and Red Skins logos are the best face one can put on an Indian. Chief Wahoo is simply fun.
An insult? Yeah, who names their teams for something they hate and denigrate? Team names are always something that the team wants to associate itself with: nobility, ferocity, prowess, speed, fighting spirit. There are very few exceptions to that rule, and Indians, Redskins, and Braves aren't among the exceptions.
These people are pussies.
"The Braves and Red Skins logos are the best face one can put on an Indian"? You mean better than the faces of Will Rogers, Jim Thorpe, Wilma Mankiller, Dennis Banks, Elouise Cobell, Billy Mills, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Sherman Alexie, Winona LaDuke, Vine Deloria Jr., Louise Erdrich, John Herrington, Maria Tallchief, Graham Greene, N. Scott Momaday, Tantoo Cardinal, and millions of other modern Indians? Thank you for your racist opinion.
"Who names their teams for something they hate and denigrate?" Who creates movies, TV shows, books, plays, songs, commercials, and ads that alienate audiences? Americans, apparently, since we had a century or two of productions featuring Uncle Tom, Aunt Jemima, Mexican peasants and banditos, Chinese coolies, Japanese geishas, drunk Irishmen, Italian mobsters, penny-pinching Jews, dumb Pollacks, towel-headed Muslims, effeminate gays, and on and on.
Nobody thought these blatant stereotypes were offensive at the time. Same with our one-dimensional view of Indians as savage killers. Every other racist stereotype has gone by the wayside, but the out-of-date "redskin" remains.
Rob doesn't know Indians?
I invite you to go teach on the Rez for a year or two.
I used to fall for the myth. Maybe the desert heat cooked my brain, but I'll be damned if I didn't get a hell of a shock when smashed in the face with the overwhelming evidence.
Maybe you'd rather stay in your romantic universe where Ol' Chief sees pollution and a tear rolls down his cheek. Dream on, son.
I invite you to learn that 70% of Indians don't live on reservations, so your point is largely irrelevant. You people who talk about reservations seem blissfully ignorant of this fact.
I'm aware that many reservations are still poor. I'm also aware why they're poor. Apparently you're not, since you're blaming the victim.
But you keep asserting that your experiences on one reservation out of several hundred make you an expert--not only on all the reservations, but on all the urban Indians too. Again, can you say "racist"? Because I sure can.
"Overwhelming evidence"? Good to hear you've got evidence for your views. Okay, what percentage of the roughly 5 million Indians are alcoholics? What percentage are unemployed? What percentage receive casino checks? Cite and quote your sources.
I sure hope the numbers are greater than 50%. If they aren't, you've mistaken a small minority for the whole. Which would make your beliefs ignorant, stereotypical, and racist.
I know that white men broke every single one of the 400 treaties they signed with the Indians. I know how the Dawes Allotment Act declared something like 90% of the Indian lands "surplus" and gave them away to white men looking for a government handout. Do you know these things?
Random bits of ignorance
The Noble Red Man
Mark Twain, Indian Hater
Mascots teach us Indians?
For more on the Redskins, see Annenberg's "Redskins" Survey and Kickstarter Campaign to Change Redskins Name.