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Are Native American sports mascots offensive?
Sports

bigwillie
Feb 22, 2007
22 votes
8 debaters
2
2
1


+ Add Argument

3
Yes


boundlessgravity
Feb 23, 2007
0 convinced
Rebuttal
At least three questions to address:

1) Are mascots by nature stereotypical?

I think the answer in most instances is *yes* -- they're characters bordering on caricature. To be recognizable, a turtle mascot has to be a stereotypical version of a turtle. The same applies to American Indian mascots, presumably, so American Indian mascots are stereotypical.

2) Are all stereotypes bad?

No, not all stereotypes are bad. Asians are good at math. Black people are the best athletes. Indians are brave warriors. These perceptions are not always true, but overall we see things like mathematical ability, athletic ability, and competent courage as good things, and so some stereotypes can be good.

3) Even if some stereotypes are good, why are American Indians the only ethnic group to be depicted in such a stereotypical way in popular culture?

Tough one. Certainly a team with a name like the "Nashville Niggers" would raise some eyebrows, and this is roughly the equivalent of a name like "Washington Redskins".

Sidenote: It's also a little disturbing that a team in our nation's capitol is so named. America has a fairly storied history of appropriating American Indian culture for its own purposes, holding up as ideal a culture that our forebears decimated, perhaps in response to some sort of ancestral guilt.

Sidenote continued: Can you imagine the Washington Kikes or the Washington Spics? What about the Washington Wops? Degas? The Washington Wetbacks? The Washington Chinks? The Washington Ragheads. Sandniggers. The Washington Crackers is the most appropriate, but probably won't happen.

Certainly, those schools and sports organizations which have received the specific blessing of a tribe should certainly have the right to honor and support a specific positive stereotype with which the tribe is comfortable.

However, that is far different from the capitol city of what is arguably the freest city on Earth naming its football team's mascot after a racial slur unrecognized by nearly all of us because we've grown up with the sound of "Redskins" in our ears. No mascot should stereotype an entire ethnicity.

 
boxosox
Feb 24, 2007
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I don't think Native American mascots are always offensive. I visited a school on the Omaha reservation that had such a mascot and it was seen as a source of pride.

The problem comes when people who have no knowledge of Native American history or traditions make up some phony representation of what they think Indians are. Not much to do with real native americans. At least not the ones I know.

Check out this white kid dressed in a ridiculous outfit "honoring" the Injuns:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=jCiSbWXo77M

The real issue here is power. Who has the power in this thing. Native people have not been able to represent who they are. Instead we get other people's fantasies of what the alternately "noble" or "savage" Indian means to them.

Maybe you don't agree, but can it at least be conceeded that the name "Redskins" is pretty awful? See the origins of the term:
http://www.aics.org/mascot/redskins.html


 
+ Add Argument

19
No


reezer
Feb 22, 2007
2 convinced
Rebuttal
What gets me is people who get up in arms about mascots where the organization got the explicit blessing of the referenced group of Native Americans to use the imagery (Ex. Florida St. Seminoles).

It just seems to me that the same people who get worked up over this are the same type people who decried the "lack of diversity" in shows like Seinfeld and Friends: The only people who care are the ones who's lives revolve around being pissed off about something.

 
tggdan3
Feb 23, 2007
2 convinced
Rebuttal
Notre Dame- The Fighting Irish.

I am Irish. It is an obvious irish stereotype of an irishman in a drunken brawl- a leprachaun at that.

But you know what. I don't care. It never bothered me.


Now ask yourself this. Is it native americans who are always complaining about team mascots, or is it white people who are afraid of APPEARING racist?

 
nbcrusader
Feb 22, 2007
1 convinced
Rebuttal
"Offensive" is an empty, subjective measuring stick.

Native Americans can be honored through a school mascot, unless some select group "feels offended".

This is just another example of our PC culture run amok.

 
reezer
Feb 25, 2007
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: boxosox Show

If the 'Skins would just go back to the spiffy 1970-71 logo, they'd be just fine, IMHO.

http://www.sportslogos.net/logo.php?lo=vc08sqk7qivrej0b9eg5

 
ka0tix
Feb 28, 2007
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Well, lets put it into perspective. Have you ever seen a team called the flying bunnies or the pink unicorns? That's right, you haven't. Why is that? Because they're not tough. Really, it's a compliment. They're saying that Native Americans are noble, proud, strong, and brave. This is why they chose the mascot, mostlikely.

 
7x13
Feb 28, 2007
0 convinced
Rebuttal
The problem is that I could also argue that the Atlanta Falcons are discrminating against falcons. Or that the Detroit Lions are discriminating against Lions. It is probably the stupidest argument but whose going to stand up for all that animals. That is about how dumb the arguments of the other side are.

 
somerandomhobo
Mar 04, 2007
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Are the "Padres" considered offensive to Catholics? Are the "Reds" considered offensive to Communists? Are the "Forty-niners" considered offensive to gold miners? Are the "Vikings" considered offensive to norsemen or Scandinavians? Are the "Cowboys" considered offensive to cattle herders? Are the "Mariners" considered offensive to sailors? Are the "Patriots" considered offensive to patriots?

naming a sports team after someone or something is not necessarily degrading them, is my point.

 


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