Friday, December 5, 2008

Sports, Mascots, and Native Americans

For the past 20 years, sports teams and universities with mascots and nicknames that relate to Native Americans have come under much scrutiny. While it is obviously wrong, racist, and absurd for such nicknames such as the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savages and the Carthage College Redmen, there are other nicknames that are not so demeaning. However, activists are calling for an end to all nicknames and mascots that have any relation to Native Americans and indigenous people. Calling for an end to all nicknames that relate to indigenous nicknames such as the Aztecs would mean doing away with such nicknames as the Trojans and Spartans that refer to a particular civilization. Also a 2002 survery by Sports Illustrated found that 81% of Native Americans that responded to the poll disagreed that all Native American sports nicknames should be banned. Although I have not had to deal with such racism and demeaning names that Native Americans and indigenous people have been called for centuries, I feel that some nicknames should be able to remain and I don't view them as demeaning. It is an issue that will not go away anytime soon and this article published in the Boston Globe takes a good look at the issue, taking stands on both sides.
-Ian Brown

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