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
197
views
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

Popular Right Now

20 Signs You Were A High School Cheerleader

You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."
109449
views

Cheerleading is something you'll never forget. It takes hard work, dedication, and comes with its ups and downs. Here are some statements that every cheerleader, past and present, know to be true.

1. You always had bobby pins with you.

2. Fear shot through you if you couldn't find your spankees right away and thought you left them at home.

3. You accumulated about 90 new pairs of tennis shoes...

4. ...and about 90 new bows, bags, socks, and warm ups.

5. When you hear certain songs from old cheer dance mixes it either ruins your day or brings back happy memories.

6. And chances are, you still remember every move to those dances.

7. Sometimes you catch yourself standing with your hands on your hips.

8. You know the phrase, "One more time, ladies" all too well.

9. The hospitality rooms were always one of the biggest perks of going to tournaments (at least for me).

10. You got really tired of hearing, "Point your toes."

SEE ALSO: How The Term 'Cheerlebrity' Destroyed Our Sport

11. If you left the gym at half-time to go get something, you better be back by the time the boys run back out.

12. You knew how awkward it could be on the bus rides home after the boys lost.

13. But you also knew how fun it could be if they won.

14. Figuring out line-up was extremely important – especially if one of your members was gone.

15. New uniforms were so exciting; minus the fact that they cost a fortune.

16. You know there was nothing worse than when you called out an offense cheer but halfway through, you had to switch to the defense version because someone turned over the ball.

17. You still know the school fight song by heart and every move that goes with it.

SEE ALSO: Signs You Suffer From Post-Cheerleading Depression

18. UCA Cheer Camp cheers and chants still haunt you to this day.

19. You know the difference between a clasp and a clap. Yes, they're different.

20. There's always a part of you that will miss cheering and it will always have a place in your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Doug Pool / Facebook

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Don't Be That Ole Miss Fan Who Leaves When Our Teams Need Our Support The Most

While most of the students and some of the fans ditched before the 4th quarter, it really surprised me how little support we showed our struggling team.

39
views

After the beating we took last week from #1 Alabama, we all wanted to steer off the stadium until the next weekend. However, losing to the number one team in the nation shouldn't be depressing; they are number one for a reason.

While most of the students and some of the fans ditched before the 4th quarter, it really surprised me how little support we showed our struggling team. Yes, the game was exciting for a solid 11 seconds, but that doesn't mean that we should abort ship so soon.

I even caught myself wishing they would run the clock around the 3rd quarter, feeling as if this game was never going to end. And it wasn't until the very end of the game that I realized what we had been missing.

We had been missing support for our team. But not just football this weekend but every sport we have. If it isn't one of the big three, do you even care? I know that I didn't and sometimes still don't. Does anyone go to the women's rifle events? Do you know when the softball team plays? Do you even know if we have a hockey team?

Being an Ole Miss fan doesn't mean that we love either football, basketball, or baseball. Being an Ole Miss fan means that we love all three, and every other sport our students participate in.

I've heard from some members of the band that they were so impressed with the Vanderbilt student section, not because they were the rowdiest or best, but because after the football game, they all stayed, stood, and sang to their Alma Mater.

Do any of us even know our Alma Mater? I've met seniors who didn't even know we had one! Yes, its plastered on all the cups this year. Yes, its posted around campus. But do you know it, by heart? If you heard the tune, could you even identify it, much less sing along to it? Do you even know the words?

I'll be the first to tell you that I don't. I have approximately 20 or so cups that have it printed on there, yet I do not know the Ole Miss Alma Mater.

So, when we were getting ready to leave the game, it warmed and saddened my heart when our song played. It warmed my heart to see the remaining student section come together to sing and sway to our Alma Mater, but it saddened me to see how little of people there were to participate, especially since the stadium was packed mere hours earlier.

And if that isn't bad enough, our student section was a quarter empty after the 1st quarter. Imagine being a football player, looking out into the crowd to see your supporters and a quarter of them are gone before the beginning of the 2nd quarter. And every time you look back as the game progresses, more and more are gone until a small portion is left over, cheering you on.

Now, imagine that you are any other athlete in a non-recognized sport. Imagine all the hours you put into training, all the things that you have to miss out on, just for no one to be there supporting you. How disappointed would you feel?

We are an SEC school! We are a big deal! We are in the best conference in the world, competing against some of the best athletes across the country, and as a student and fan of this school, we should show our support not only to the big three but to all of them!

I dare you to branch out and go watch another sport! Stay for the full game, even if it takes all day. Try a new sport, it could be your favorite! Do it for the free t-shirts, do it for the concessions, do it for the free or cheap admissions fee. I don't care why you do it, but be like Nike and "just do it!" That is how we can be better! That is how we can be a better Ole Miss fan!

Related Content

Facebook Comments