Teams in every sport, at every level of competition, have a mascot. It is the mascot that represents the competitive spirit and team identity, motivating players and fans alike. Does the symbol chosen have any impact on whether a team wins or loses? Unlikely. But the choice of a Native American mascot continues to ignite debate and controversy among athletes, fans and alumni, as well as those people who might otherwise be disinterested in sports. Utilizing an Indian mascot is nothing more than a veiled attempt at hate speech.
The dispute over whether Native American mascots should be used as a team symbol dates back to the 1970’s (Price 2). People differ on the basic issue, but there is a more important underlying principle. It is called freedom. Determining whether or not someone is harmed by a practice can reveal whether that practice can or should be morally justified. Wherein lies the truth about exercising the use of American Indian mascots? The reality is that they cannot be morally justified. The certainty is not ascertainable by way of any comparison to other similar phenomena. No such comparison can be made as none exits. Then, are not the only relevant voices those of the Indians themselves? If so, the truth regarding this imagery can only be discovered by conferring with the groups that are depicted. Only those portrayed should have a voice. Or at the very least, be heard louder and more clearly than those who are not mirrored in the representations.
Viewing this issue from a Utilitarian perspective, one reasons the justification that Native Americans convey to support the claim that Indian mascots pose harm need not themselves be obliged by those of alternative ethnicities. What Native Americans say about Indian mascots is compelling because the voice is echoed by the group themselves. This populus occupies a privileged position with respect to providing a moral evaluation of stereotypic caricatures. And the stance is that culminating actions employing total elimination of Indian mascots not only offers the greatest good for Native Americans, but each and every moral being as a whole.
Proponents believe tribal symbols display honor and respect towards the Native American people. They cheer that the inclusion of this iconography in the athletic arena serves to pay admiration and ongoing tribute to the identity of the Native American culture. They believe that rather than extinguishing Native American mascots as a symbolic reference for schools and sports teams, the choice to sensitively use such imagery should be without sanction.
In a majority of cases, this view is even endorsed by the tribes themselves...