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Use Of Racist Native American Mascots In Professional Sports

1045 words - 4 pages

I awaited the day before the big game in nervous apprehension. Would the Red Sox be able to rebound from a 0-2 series deficit and advance to face the Yankees? They had already won two straight games and evened the series at 2-2. The next game would be the do or die situation. I stylishly dressed in all of my Red Sox apparel (even the lucky red socks) and prepared for an invigorating game. Mike from the third floor came down to the first floor lounge to watch the big game. Being from Cleveland, Mike was sporting all of his Indians apparel. For the next the 3 hours Mike would be my most bitter enemy. Mike was the antichrist. We would swear at each other, hurl projectiles at each other, and possibly even have an outright brouhaha if things got out of control. In the bottom of the second inning, the Indians got 2 hits, which spawned an outrageous reaction from mike. He sprung from his seat, arms failing about, and began to do a mock Indian dance in front of me. "Sit your silly ass down," I probably yelled. Then he began to do the tomahawk chop to his fabulously clichéd rendition of an Indian chant, "Ohhhh oh oh oh Ohhhh oh oh oh." I looked up at Mike's hat. The Cleveland Indian logo goofily stared down at me.
The mascot of the Cleveland perpetuates a stereotypical image of Native Americans as a savage being tamed by settlers. Baseball, an American institution, is guilty of disgusting racism. This blatantly racist symbol must strike an angry chord with contemporary Native Americans, whose past overflows with examples of cultural abuse. On the hat of each player, an Indian with swollen red face and stupid slaphappy grin appears in an expression of gloating jubilation. All his facial features are exaggerated, and an erect feather stands above his head like an alfalfa bean sprout. If it was up to me, I'd say scalp the commissioner of baseball for allowing such an atrocious symbol of cultural racism to blossom and affect the masses on television. How have the Cleveland Indians been able to get away with such a culturally demeaning mascot without a significant public outcry? Our cultural absolutism along with our naivety places Native Americans on subhuman animalistic level and feeds our unconscious notion that the logo is harmless.
The majority of Americans practice cultural absolutism. Cultural absolutism, the tendency of individuals to view their culture as superior, ingrained itself into the American way of life before Columbus landed. Americans have a worldwide reputation as arrogant, ignorant, simple-minded cowboys. And these stereotypes are completely justified by past examples of cultural butcheries. I, as an American, can recognize our tendency to dominate others in the service of spreading the "superior" way of life. Native American people, misunderstood to this day, have been simplified to this naked, feather toting, red-faced, stupidly barbaric sub-human creature. (Notice that I use Native Americans, as opposed to Indians as...

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