Charles Fishburn: Exploiting Indians for use as sports mascots

"Let’s return to the topic at hand: the acceptability – or impropriety – of American Indian-inspired mascots. What’s wrong with “Indians”, “Braves”, “Chiefs”, “Warriors”, “Redskins” or “Totems”? To see the potential problems with these, it may be effective to consider a relatively simple counter-example.

How many people would be in favor of – or even just comfortable with – using a different non-caucasian/minority ethnic group for a mascot? Pick general labels first and consider the “Chinese”, “Africans”, “Maori” or “Jews”. Then maybe consider the “Zulus”, “Gypsies”, “Levites”, “Samurai” or “Sheikhs”. How about just going with skin “color”: “Blackskins”, “Brownskins” or “Yellowskins”? Now how appropriate do “Indians”, “Braves” and “Redskins” sound? What about the First Nations peoples separates them as exempt from this kind of exploitation?

I understand that in using the Native American as a symbol, most schools or organizations are trying, as a course of tribute, to conjure the spirit of honor and courage. I also understand, although it may sound cliché, that there is a measure of fond legacy attributed to the idea of the Native American as an indelible figure in the fabric of our country’s backdrop. "

Get the Story:
Charles Fishburn: On the Issue of Indians and Mascots (Sammmish-Issaquah Patch 10/4)

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