There’s a fascinating discussion — on Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish website — with input from all sides about the use of Native Americans and other groups as sports mascots. Have a read of it, if that subject interests you.
I was struck by the National Congress of American Indians‘ effective use of substitution and juxtaposition to make their point. Would anyone seriously expect to find a sports team called The New York Jews or The San Francisco Chinamen? No. Why not?
Uh, huh. So, why …?
Worth considering. How do we do that here in New Zealand? The Warriors? The Chiefs? … ?
Is it just ‘being PC’ to ask these questions? Or is it more?
PS: from NCAI… Anti-Defamation & Mascots
From time immemorial, the greatness of tribal nations and Native people has been the foundation of America’s story. From tribes’ role as America’s first governments, to modern day actors, athletes, and political leaders, Native people contribute to American greatness every single day. Negative Indian stereotypes – especially those perpetuated by sports mascots – affect the reputation and self-image of every single Native person and foster ongoing discrimination against tribal citizens.
In general, NCAI strongly opposes the use of derogatory Native sports mascots. However, in the case where mascots refer to a particular Native nation or nations, NCAI respects the right of individual tribal nations to work with universities and athletic programs to decide how to protect and celebrate their respective tribal heritage.
Indian mascots and stereotypes present a misleading image of Indian people and feed the historic myths that have been used to whitewash a history of oppression. Despite decades of work to eliminate the use of discrimination and derogatory images in American sports, the practice has not gone away.
NCAI is pleased that tribal advocates have succeeded in eliminating over two-thirds of derogatory Indian sports mascots and logos over the past 50 years. Today, there are fewer than 1,000 of these mascots left. …