Opinion: Ethnic mascots are never an honor to Indian people

"Is a mascot a clown that denigrates its subject? Or is a mascot a memorial that honors a heritage? How you answer this question likely reflects how you view the periodic conflagrations over sports teams that use ethnic identities as their preferred brand.

The latest of these battles is taking place at the University of North Dakota, where the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is threatening to ban the school from participating in post-season athletics because its Fighting Sioux mascot violates the organization’s rules against mascots “deemed hostile or abusive toward Native Americans.” As the Associated Press reports, the struggle between the NCAA and the university reignited after, in an effort to help the school avoid sanctions, “a law requiring the school to use its longtime nickname and logo (was) repealed eight months after it took effect last year.” However, “ardent nickname supporters filed petitions with more than 17,000 signatures demanding that the issue be put to a statewide vote” — and those petitions put the law back in effect until state voters cast their ballots on the issue."

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David SIrota: Ethnic mascots are never winners (Slate 3/7)

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