We Are Not Your Mascots

We Are Not Your Mascots

Why are we even still debating on how offensive 'Redskin' is to Native Americans?
Jersey
Jersey
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Once again, I thought I’d have a week off where I wouldn’t have to become very opinionated about some issue in Indian {Native American} Country. You could say,” well, Jersey, you don’t HAVE to write about an issue!” But if I don’t, then who will? In this instance, there seems to be a large percentage of Native American people who are very opinionated on the subject of the Redskin’s team name, and don’t have a platform as great as Odyssey for expressing their distaste.

I don’t feel like I speak for ALL NATIVES, but apparently, Washington Post seems to think who they interviewed about the Redskins team name DO speak for all Native Americans. As the twitter backlash has shown, they do not.

As a little bit of a backstory, according to a Washington Post poll showed that nine in 10 Native Americans don’t find the Washington Redskins team name offensive. 504 Native Americans spanning every state were polled.

This problem is not a black and white issue-- more like a red and white issue. I personally don’t feel offended by the term “Redskin” or “Skin”, if a Native American comes up to me and says something like “What up, skin?” It's like a way of acknowledging they are the same as you in some way. It’s sort of like how if you are not African-American, you should absolutely not say the N-word, but sometimes African-American people say it to each other as a term of friendship. Some people of both African-American and Native American heritage believe that we should not be saying this to each other either, but that is another issue; an issue for those communities to figure out amongst themselves, not by some outsiders.

Back to the issue at hand, are we really arguing on whether a racial slur is offensive? It doesn’t matter who finds it offensive or not! It’s a derogatory term that anyone with common sense would realize is clearly a problem! If you would not go up to a Native American and call them a Redskin to their face, it should ABSOLUTELY NOT BE A TEAM NAME!!! It still baffles me that we have to continue this conversation in this modern era.

There are three general arguments I have heard as to why this poll is ridiculous. Self-identifying Native Americans or Native Americans who have very little Native American blood are speaking for the rest of the Native American population as if they know exactly how we feel. Many people who are so far removed from Native American and reservation life are speaking for us. Eventually you have to decide whether you are a Native American or a person of Native American heritage, the same way an American of Irish descent cannot speak for the people of Ireland.

The other argument is that this mascot issue is the least of our problems, and we should focus on the others before we focus on something so petty. This mascot issue is perpetuating negative stereotypes. I do not see why we are the only racial group that is “honored” by having a football team named after them. If you really wanted to honor Native Americans, you should acknowledge that the first president of the NFL was Native American. Jim Thorpe was Sac and Fox from Oklahoma, but apparently that fact is left out of sports history. Anyway, the stereotype of chanting Indians, with red faces, covered in eagle feathers and drinking all the time, is clearly false, but that won’t stop sports headlines from reading “Cowboys slaughter Redskins, 28-7.”

Some Native Americans actually like the Native American mascot. My own dad used to rock his Redskins Starter jacket, and I have many friends who are fans of the Cleveland Indians. It’s more about being able to relate to something than it is, because when asked, they told me they just liked the idea of being recognized, even if it was because of an offensive caricature. I asked if they were at an Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians or Kansas City Chiefs game, would they actually join in with the chanting of the Tomahawk Chop. They all said “hell no!” or “F*** No!” When I asked them, “Why not?” they basically all said because it was not our way and it would be stereotypical.

I’m sure that we can all agree that Redskin is a racial slur. What I can’t understand is why we are still arguing on whether or not it offends actual Native Americans or not. Because somehow, that makes it okay? It doesn’t. We need to change the name of the team, money should be the deciding factor on whether or not we perpetuate stereotypes. Put simply, its fucked up and wrong, and we need to change it.

Cover Image Credit: aljazeera

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It's Time We Gave Collegiate Bands The Same Respect As The Football Team

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It's a beautiful day in the middle of October, and you're at a college football game. You see the sun shining down on a sea of fans, everyone wearing the home team's colors. The smell of hot dogs, pretzels, and other greasy food drifts through the air, as a cool wind blows against the back of your neck. But what is it that you hear? Overpowering every other sound in the stadium, the band is blaring their brass horns and beating their drums. Invisible but everywhere, the music fills the stadium when the team scores, excites the crowd when the game intensifies and provides the soundtrack to your favorite college traditions.

Now, imagine that game without the band. No one is there to play the fight song when a touchdown is scored, or play a victory tune when your team wins. Yes, there would still be music, but it would only be generic pop stuff playing over the speakers. It wouldn't be the same, because you don't get to experience that special kind of energy that comes from live music. Unfortunately, the band does not get enough credit for what they do. Compared to an athletic team, the band is typically overlooked and under-budgeted — especially by the universities themselves.

While the university is busy pouring all money and attention to athletics, the band is left to scavenge for support. Athletic teams receive millions upon millions of dollars, while the band gets next to nothing. My university's band has resorted to requiring each member to raise money on their own and selling $1 chocolate bars, because they receive so little funding. Just a small cut from the athletic budget would make such a vast difference in the lives of the band members. And it's not like the band doesn't deserve it - they most certainly do, with how much they add to a college community. A college without a band is like a belt with no buckle. With no band, you'd be missing a key piece of unity during a game.

The band and athletic teams work just as hard as the other, and both spend so much of their lives committed to their craft. Just like a football team, the band devotes several hours of their day to practicing. Similar to a basketball team, being apart of the band requires precise coordination. Like a soccer team, it is necessary for the band to have high endurance. And as it is with any type of athlete, it is obligatory for each member of the band to value hard work and determination. And must we not forget, the band is at nearly every sporting event, plus more. Unlike several sports, band is a year-round activity — there is no "off-season."

So you might ask yourself, with such similar characteristics to an athletic team, shouldn't the band receive at least some benefits? But here we are, athletic teams receiving all the money and perks, and the band seeing none of that.

The band is such an important aspect of sporting events and pep rallies and is greatly responsible for the fans' emotions and entertainment throughout a game. Unfortunately, most universities fail to see this and don't appreciate how much a band adds to the atmosphere and energy of a college community. Instead, the band continues to be brushed aside, no matter how talented or entertaining they are. I can only hope that in this day and age, with fine arts starting to gain more recognition, that the band will finally receive the respect they deserve.

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This Isn't Target Practice, This Is College Football, So Stop Aiming For Alabama's Star Players

Aiming for someone's achilles heel is just wrong in any sport especially SEC football.

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You would have to be blind not to see that beloved quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is currently the target of any team the Crimson Tide plays. Being a frontrunner for the Heisman is undoubtedly the biggest honor any college football player could have, that along with having not one, but two National Championship rings in two years. But all that could be lost if the elephant in the room is not addressed, and I am not talking about Big Al.

It has been ongoing in the issue since Tua first sprained his knee a few games ago. However, in recent games against LSU at Baton Rouge and Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny, it became clear that Tua is the bright crimson target, so fans wonder if maybe Tua should keep playing when he isn't needed as much. In a recent interview, Saban addressed the concerns and said that Tua is fine, and we all get it because he has the rings, and we don't. Still could playing Tua against a team like Citadel still be fatal. Maybe letting Tua join Jalen Hurts on the bench might be the safe bet.

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I can't believe you would even write that down." The problem is that Darriel the LSU fan isn't alone in his opinion. There are obviously other people who are so green with envy and so twisted in their own fanaticism in supporting their team that they don't see the harm in this. Anyone who would even consider or encourage harming another human being for something as frivolous as a football game is not sane. Look at the repercussions and consequences of the actions of the two LSU fans who killed the Alabama fan. What is this world coming to?

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