Removing Indian Mascots Essay

989 words - 4 pages

“In the 21st century America, to name a sports team after an African American,
Asian or any other ethnic group is unthinkable, so why are Native Americans still fair game”? (Shakely 522) Jack Shakely, former chair of the los Angeles City/county Native American Commission as well as president emeritus of the California community Foundation, effectively argues that removing Native American names and mascots from college and professional teams is the right thing to do. Indian mascots for sports teams are offensive to many Native Americans because they are portrayed as savage cut-throats or act like fools. Jack Shakely argues his point in the article, “Indian Mascots- You’re Out!” by explaining his experience with Indians portrayed as mascots and how dignity and respect are not subject to majority rule. A fourth-generation Oklahoman of Creek descent, he is the author of “The Confederate War Bonnet”, a historical novel of the Civil War in Indian Territory. Shakely is mixed-blood Muscogee/Creek and his family has fought against Indian stereotypes. Being a known author, a leader of these important organizations, Native American, and personally dealing with his family fighting against Indian stereotypes makes Shakely creditable to argue his point effectively. I also believe that Indian names and mascot should be removed, because I would be offended if a sports team was named after African Americans and an African American mascot was dancing around like a fool. Some Native Americans believe that people are getting the wrong impression about them. Only %16 of Native Americans find Indian names and mascots offensive but Shakely states, “If 16% of a population finds something offensive, that should be enough to signal deep concern. There are many things in this country that are subject to majority rule; dignity and respect are not among them.”(Shakely 521)
Shakely believes Indian names and mascots should be removed not
because of the amount of Native Americans that are offended by them, but they should be removed out dignity and respect for those Native Americans. Shakely and his family, being mixed-blooded Muscogee/Creek, his mother fought against Indian stereotypes her whole life. In this article Shakely tells how he bought a Cleveland cap with the famous Chief Wahoo logo on it when he was a child. His mother was angry about the hat and threw it away. Shakely says, “My mother took one look at the cap with its leering, big-nosed, buck-toothed redskin caricature just above the brim, jerked it off my head and threw it in the trash.”(Shakely 520) Shakely tells this back story about his mother as an example of how some Native Americans are very upset with Indian stereotypes and how offensive Indian mascots are to them.
Since the creation of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media in 1991, that %16 group of Native American organizations that find sports teams’ Indian names and mascots offensive have been protesting negative portrayals of...

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