Adrian Jawort: Mascot debate exposes racism on national level

Adrian Jawort

Adrian Jawort discusses how the debate over the Washington NFL team's mascot exposes ignorance:
If a Native shows offense at the name, it somehow gives these same people the permission to overlook and discredit them as non-people unworthy of having a voice of what should and shouldn't offend them, because maybe they even “know someone who is Native, and they don't care.” Or that Natives should “worry about other things than a mascot,” as if they can't chew gum and walk at the same time as confront more than one issue that they deem is perpetuating negativity in the first place that leads to other problems.

Another common straw man phrase said over and over, “What about the Vikings and Fighting Irish?” What about them? Is it deemed a racial epithet? No, but how does the, “Minnesota Rapists and Pillagers” work for you in lieu of Vikings? Or instead of the “Fighting Irish” one could use, “Dumb Micks”? Etc.

To a lot of people new to the debate that are unaware Native activists have been fighting against the name for decades, it's just a recent another dumbed down liberal vs. conservative debate the likes of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk deem as “a bunch of leftists” and PCness gone amok.

But for people like myself, the reality hits me as I witness prevalent racist commentary and realize my 5-year-old daughter Aurelia – who is so proud with all of her little heart to be Native and dress in regalia and go to powwows– must grow up with such pretentious attitudes already ingrained against her before they've even met her. Not just on a local level, but now on a national level of ignorance.

Get the Story:
Adrian Jawort: 'Redskins' Shows Off Ugly Colors of America (Indian Country Today 6/18)

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