Native American Essay

2673 words - 11 pages

Is America Really a Melting Pot?
Over the years the Native American mascot debate is one that has gotten major press. Native Americans are very angry and want to be heard. The tribal names that these natives go by are something that mean very much to them. School boards, and sports teams around the country have used these mascots, and names to define who the team, and or school is. Today, many people see using Native American names for mascots to be racist. These mascots and cultural figures are part of the Native American culture. To go and generalize these people into a sports team that have nothing to do with who they are, is being very prejudice, misleading, and in many ways wrong. ...view middle of the document...

To be specific, some very well known sports teams such as the, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians, Florida State Seminoles, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Redskins, all use Native American terms. Some of these names such as Indians and Chiefs, are offensive, but not to the extent of others. Take Redskins for example, a “redskin” not in the sports world, is a racial moniker for people who decent from Native American background. Even though this term is not used in the condescending way today, the connotation of its definition still remains (DeWitt). Not only are the tribe names offensive but there are teams with racial slurs as well.
Many people from the Native American culture feel uncomfortable with the racism these mascots portray. “Using out names, likeness and religious symbols to excite the crowd does not feel like honor or respect, it is hurtful and confusing to our young people” (Johns). As stated by Jon Saraceno from USA today, “The most startling aspect is that universities are supposed to be halls of enlightenment, not dark corridors of ignorance. They should not stand for discriminatory practices. College students, in addition to taking classes, should learn some empathy.” This quotation shows that students do not understand the misrepresentation their mascots portray. This is about blatant racism, the kind that tried to puncture the soul of Charlene Teters when she was a graduate student at Illinois.
She had taken her children to a home football game. “they were feeling humiliated by what they has witnessed” she stated about her children’s feelings towards the mascot (Saraceno). The most frightening thing is when Teters returned carrying a sign that read “We are Human Beings and Not Mascots”, she was spit on and had cigarettes and cans thrown at her (Saraceno). This example shows pure racism and hate towards the action of a Native American standing up for herself and her belief. As I was at a Cleveland Indians game this past summer the crowd cheered wildly at the team’s mascot. This mascot was not a bull, giant or a jet, but rather, in my view, was a mean spirited stereotype of proud and noble people.
In the great spectrum of race relations in America, we can say without hesitation that American Indians are treated differently than other minority races. For example, negative images of American Indians are accepted where comparable images of other racial and ethnic groups are not. In 2002, a popular clothing manufacture produced a T-shirt with Asian caricatures on it and the saying “Two Wongs don’t make it White,” and because of protests by Asian American and other about the stereotype, the shirt and its offensive images were gone within days of arrival at the stores, removed by the manufacture (King 79). Each race should be treated the same here in America. It is not fair that we focus on one racial group’s feelings, while other racial groups are being hurt and we don’t do anything about it.
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