Opinion | Sports

DaShanne Stokes: Anti-Indian racism is everywhere in America

Still image from South Park episode Go Fund Yourself on Comedy Central.

Author DaShanne Stokes explains how the Washington NFL team's mascot is just one example of anti-Indian racism in America today:
The season premiere of South Park, which aired September 24, struck a chord familiar to many viewers and is sure to set the Washington football team scrambling to recover lost yardage.

In the 18th season opener, the cartoon show’s entrepreneurial children decide to make use of the Washington name for their crowd-funded Kickstarter company after discovering that the trademark for the team’s name was revoked. When Dan Snyder, owner of the team, learns of the name being used, he implores the children to change the name, claiming that it’s offensive. He is summarily told that the company was named out of respect for his people and to “Go f*** yourself.”

The parallels between the show and real life are juicy and revealing. By placing Snyder in the role of those protesting the team name in real life, the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, accomplish what so few have been able to do: symbolically put Snyder in the shoes of many Native Americans and hold him publicly accountable for perpetuating a dictionary-defined racial slur.

Parker and Stone truly are to be commended for holding Snyder accountable. But while the primary blame for the continued use of a slur as a team name remains with Snyder, the responsibility is far from his alone.

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DaShanne Stokes: Anti-Indian Racism Is Everywhere in America (Indian Country Today 10/5)

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