Wednesday, October 17, 2007

1491 to now

If the sight of these two Cleveland fans in Indian-face doesn't give you pause about mascots like "Indians" or "Redskins," you're too busy rooting for laundry to see the big picture. As a teacher, I proudly displayed the big Skins mug in my classroom, until I had students who were of Native American descent... Kids always put things into perspective.
In my current hometown, legions of Braves fans do the ridiculous tomahawk chop and faux Indian war-chant not far from where the Trail of Tears started. The point is that they are just names, names we grew up with, names we're invested in; how hard would it be just to do the right thing and, out of courtesy for the past, find new ones that didn't have their root in old ignorances? Just a thought as the Dalai Lama is feted by this White House and the Armenian genocide is finally recognized by Congress. 1491 by Charles C. Mann is a worthy read.


WFY said...

I like Kornheiser's idea for the Redskins:

"put a potato on the helmet."

Problem solved.

Ollie said...

I think that picture singlehandedly sets back Native American race relations in this country by 10-15 years.

Lil Bro said...

Agreed, that the Redskins, Braves, etc. need to rethink their names and fan traditions. I mean, did anyone ever buy the excuse that "Redskins" refers to war paint and was meant to "honor" Native Americans?
But to push the conversation, should we abolish Fightin' Irish? Or if a Greek sports fan says Spartan is offensive because it represents a war hungry people from his past?
Obviously common sense plays a role, but replacing both these seeminly less-offensive mascots has been proposed.

Minor Thread said...

I think one difference is that the Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame was a name started by Irish Catholics referring to themselves. Likewise the Boston Celtics. Redskins and Braves were created to refer to a noble, savage, "other." Spartan might fall somewhere in-between?
I was surprised ESPN and other outlets ran that picture without thinking twice. I think that says something.

Ollie: I think posting to Sandy, Baby at 5:14 AM set sleep patterns in this country 10-15 years.