April 20, 2015

Biloxi Indians learn they're offensive

It took a few days, but the Biloxi High School Indians eventually learned they'd done something wrong. Namely, trivializing the Plains Indian cultures located a thousand miles away.

Biloxi Indians band uniform sparks controversy

By Trang Pham-BuiA symbol of pride for the Biloxi High family has come under fire. A recent online article criticizes the Biloxi High marching band's uniform. The controversy was sparked by the band's recent appearance in a parade in Washington D.C. The article specifically targets the band members' feather headdresses, saying they are disrespectful to Native American cultures.Most of the short article was devoted to letting the mascot lovers defend their stereotypical actions without challenge:"It's not disrespecting Indians in any manner, because it was not done in disrespect when it started," said Edwards.

"I think it's a crock. They need to leave it alone," said Artie Desporte.
And:"I don't see how it's hurting anybody. It's just a tradition for the school. It was the mascot and everything, and it went along with the school. I mean, if they change it, it's not going to be the same," said Desporte. "I don't see where it's anybody's business or it's hurting anybody putting on those outfits. It ain't like they're trying to down them. They're just proud of their heritage."

"I think everyone has their point of view. From my point of view, the Biloxi High Indian band kept me in school, kept a lot of folks in school, kept the community together, kept pride in the community," said Edwards. "Biloxi is a proud town. It has a heritage, and for the folks in their 70s and 80s that remember this school for what it was, there was a lot of pride in this community."

You're marching in freakin' headdresses in Washington DC and that's not our business?! Stay behind 10-foot walls and put bags over your heads if you don't want to share your mascots publicly. Otherwise, you're clearly telling us about your "Indian" pride, sending us a message, and that certainly is our business.

f you were walking down the street with a Confederate flag or a black dummy in a noose, would that also be none of our business? Wrong, you blithering idiot. Racism that affects everyone is everyone's business.

You wanted a public reaction to your public display of headdresses. Now you're getting one. Stop whining about it like babies and start dealing with it like adults.

Protests continue

Meanwhile, the protests continued:

Petition asks Biloxi to change Indian mascot

Petition calls for Biloxi High School to stop using Indians name, headdresses; counter-petition started

By Regina Zilbermints
The Biloxi School District has been drawn into the national debate over whether it's acceptable for schools or sports teams to appropriate Native American words or imagery.

One online petition, asking the Biloxi Indians to ditch the mascot, has gotten more than 680 supporters. A counter petition, asking officials to keep the name, has garnered more than 1,900 signatures.

Biloxi school officials, though, say they aren't interested in wading into the fray.

"It's not an issue locally," said Biloxi School District Superintendent Arthur McMillan. "Our band represents Biloxi, and not only Biloxi but the Coast and the state, in a very dignified and proper manner. And we're very proud of them."
The petition in question:

Please change your Band uniforms and Mascot #notyourmascot

And the predictable counter-petition:

Save the Biloxi High School Mascot & TraditionThe BHS Indian mascot and headdress is not to be offensive, rather to show our pride and honor to be able to represent our strong history here in Mississippi.I like how they declare the headdress "is not to be offensive." As if their wishes and hopes mean anything to us.

Fact is, non-Natives wearing Plains headdresses are offensive to many Indians. It doesn't matter what the non-Natives' intent is. All that matters is the physical act of misusing the headdress for non-ceremonial reasons.

And I love how they talk about "our strong history." Their strong history of not being Native, not knowing Natives, not knowing anything about Natives. Their strong "history" of ignoring or misrepresenting the actual Biloxi Indians. Of falsely portraying them as warbonneted chiefs of the Plains rather than the Delta.

So they're targeting a single race for false and harmful stereotyping. What's it called when you discriminate against one race? Oh, yeah...racism.

I like how the image on the "don't change" petition proves how stereotypical the Biloxi mascot is. He's savage!

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