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The Native American Mascot Issue And It’s Effects On The Growing Sensitivity On Society

1713 words - 7 pages

Men and women from all walks of life in the United States watch sports and identify themselves with a team. Fathers and sons watch the big game together and talk endlessly about the outcome. This American culture has developed over the course of generations.
Many believe that these children are going to grow up as racists as a result of watching sports and even going to school. How can people make such wild accusations that essential parts of American culture and society are the catalysts for racism? Some sports teams are accused of having derogatory names that are offensive to Native Americans. Examples of these offensive names are the Indians, Chiefs, Braves, Redskins, Illini, Savages, and Redmen. Additionally, the mascots that represent these teams are also seen as offensive by their mockery of Native American Traditions. Some people take this theory of ruining our youth through mascots even further.
Beyond this desire to remove racially offensive mascots, it is believed by some that impressionable students are in danger of fears and impending violence as a result of guns in school mascots. Some schools, like Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, have a patriot as a mascot. This patriot, bearing a musket, causes mixed views as some see it as a symbol of our history and freedom while other see the gun as a sign of fear in the dangerous times of today. Although the use of derogatory names and offensive mascots are a cruel part of society that require immediate change to sports customs, the guns in school mascots are not
dangerous in any way; they are a symbol of what the U.S stands for and those who have died in the fight for freedom, and the people who fear the musket-toting mascot highlight the sensitivity of today’s society.
The discriminating names previously described all originated from somewhere; how was it possible for these names to take hold and did anybody fight it? Teams began using Native American names and mascots in the early twentieth century. In 1915, the Cleveland Naps adopted the modern name, the Cleveland Indians, in order to honor Louis Sockalexis – the first Native American Major League Baseball player ("Native American”). The 1960’s also saw an increase in support for racial equality with the active civil rights movements. This is the first time in history that society recognized the word “redskin” as a racial slur ("Native American Sports Mascots."). This source continues to explain that this issue, still not a national level, finally took hold in the early 1970’s when the University of Oklahoma dropped its mascot, Little Red. Little Red was a mascot that dressed in a “war bonnet, buckskin outfit and moccasins”, and Stanford followed the University of Oklahoma’s lead by dropping their nickname of Stanford Indians in favor of Stanford Cardinals ("Native American"). This article states that over 600 schools changed their mascots and/or name in order to find a more equitable one. These changes were all up to a...

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