Thursday, May 1, 2014

Are Native American mascots racist?

The assignment was to write an editorial that had to be a topic with one New York Times source and then we submitted it to a New York Times contest.I chose this piece because I felt that it was much stronger than my valentines day article. A big strength in this piece is my sources, I think that all my quotes add a lot to this piece. Something I would change would probably be how strongly my side sounds, I kind of want to tone it down a little.

Are Native American mascots offensive?
It seems like in recent years there have been a slew of mascot changes in America. One of the changes includes Scarborough high school who recently changed their mascot from the redskins to the red storm.
In my opinion all of the teams that have a Native American as a mascot are honoring the Native American community.
Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins stated that, "Our fans sing 'Hail to the Redskins' in celebration at every Redskins game. They speak proudly of 'Redskins Nation' in honor of a sports team they love (CNN)."
However, before they changed it there were, according to the American Indian cultural support, 31 Schools that use Native American mascots in Maine. According to this website the names chiefs, braves, warriors, Indians, and redskins could be perceived as all racist and need to be changed. I don't know about you, but seems kind of silly that even braves and warriors would be considered bad.
Really the only ones that are borderline racist are Redskins and Indians, In some cases native Americans see Redskin as an equal to the N-word. I don't want to come off as a racist white guy, but if a team named themselves after my ethnicity I would be pretty stoked and really honored that they did so. Although the names Caucasians, Europeans, Puritans, or Pilgrams don't sound very intimidating.
When I hear the word Redskin, I do think of a Native American, however I do not think of it as a term that could be used to put someone down. I see it as a describing word, like Caucasians are called white and African Americans are called black.
I absolutely agree with what Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, that there is just so much history and so many memories that are attached to the football team with the redskin mascot.
"After 81 years, the team name 'Redskins' continues to hold the memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are, and who we want to be in the years to come (CNN)."
This issue was also brought up in congress, and I agree with Michael Gonchar, who wrote "Is It Offensive for Sports Teams to Use Native American Names and Mascots?" In the New York Times, that this topic just puts congress people in an awkward situation. It is all trivial compared to the things that congress should be focused on.
Overall I believe that we should just have the two parties affected in the matter in each case deal with it on their own, even though the sports teams are just honoring the Native American community.

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