Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Mascot muddle: Ethnic nicknames can show respect
Manchester Union Leader ^ | August 23, 2002 | Editorial

Posted on 08/23/2002 5:41:35 AM PDT by billorites

ON WEDNESDAY the State Board of Education voted unanimously to call on New Hampshire school districts to stop using American Indians as models for their sports team mascots. The board cannot order the districts to make this change, so its resolution stands as nothing more than a strong suggestion. It is a suggestion local school districts should ignore.

Some American Indian mascots are patently offensive. “Redskins” is hardly a defensible moniker. The great majority of American Indian mascots, however, are emblems of which Americans of all ethnicities, especially American Indians, should be proud.

The question most often forgotten in this ongoing debate over American Indian mascot names is, “Why do schools and sports clubs name themselves after American Indians?” With the exception of teams named for their clothing (Red Sox), location (Rockies), or for a colorful creature (Cardinals, Sea Dogs), teams name themselves after people or things they want to emulate. Naming a sports team the Vikings, Raiders, Celtics, Tigers, Steelers, Bruins, Cowboys and Braves is an attempt to lay claim to the spirit of those beings.

We don’t see teams named “Corporate Accountants,” “Librarians” or “Mid-Level Managers” because on the field of play, one aspires to warrior-like bravery, fearlessness and resolve. Naming one’s team the “Apaches” is not an insult to Apaches; it is an attempt to identify one’s self with the bravery, courage and skill of this honorable tribe. If anyone should be insulted by American Indian mascot names, it is the people whose heritage was determined to be too lame to emulate.

Norwegians don’t assume that the Minnesota Vikings team name is an implication by Minnesotans that all Scandinavians are warlike. The Irish don’t assume that the Boston Celtics team name is an insult to one of the great historical tribes of Europe. Nor should American Indians assume that the name “Braves” or “Apaches” is a way of claiming cultural superiority over American Indians. Just the opposite — it is the expression of a desire to be affiliated with some of the many admirable qualities of American Indians. It is a sign of respect, not disregard. A true sign of disrespect would be if no teams were named after dark-skinned people.

Again, though most mascots named after American Indians are respectful, some are not. Those that belittle an entire race should be dropped. But that is a decision to be made through a deliberative process at the individual schools, not through a decree from the State Board of Education. Those mascot names that express respect and admiration should be left alone.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: nicknames; sports

1 posted on 08/23/2002 5:41:35 AM PDT by billorites
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: billorites
I see it as a sign of respect, especially when the team is winning!

That high school basketball team in Colorado, the Fightin' Whiteys, I was overjoyed to hear about the existance of this team. I'm Caucausian and I thought it was about high time that honkies got a sports team named after them! Now if only we can get it on the national level, the bigotry against whites in professional sports will have ended.
2 posted on 08/23/2002 5:43:39 AM PDT by xrp
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xrp
We already have teams with "white" mascots: Cowboys, Rangers, Minutemen, Colonials, Rebels, Mountaineers, Fighting Irish, etc. Can you imagine me complaining about something like the Colonials? Why would I ever be offended by that?

I think this is all a bunch of guilt-ridden white liberals and a few mad Indians (see my profile. I will not call them Native Americans because they are not).
3 posted on 08/23/2002 7:19:53 AM PDT by itzmygun
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson