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The use of Indian mascots in sports

In recent times, the issue of Indian Mascots has raged in High schools, Universities, newspapers and other media. This is a culmination of decades’ old protests by native people and other supporters who feel that Indian mascots were disrespectful to a proud race of people and therefore such mascots should not exist. Others contrastingly felt that Indian mascots portrayed native people in a positive way and so the mascots should be used. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a Mascot can be defined as:”a person, animal, or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure especially to bring them good luck.

” An Indian mascot is therefore a person, animal, or object of Native American origin that is adopted by a group as a symbolic figure especially to bring them good luck. This is at the heart of the controversy and emotions run high with persons adopting persuasive arguments for the retention or abolition of the use of these mascots. Proponents of the continued use of Indian mascots argue that these symbols were originally adopted to provide visibility and attention to a proud race of people who were sliding into obscurity.

Further argument was that decades ago, Hollywood movies would portray Indians in a less than flattering light and so the adoption of Indian mascots would show the admirable qualities and indomitable spirit of Indian Tribes. These proponents argued that sport teams could use the bravery and strength of Native Americans to drive fear in the hearts of opposing teams. The team adopting the Indian mascot would be perceived as unconquerable and brave and the opponents would cave in to the psychological onslaught of going head-to-head with a fierce opponent.

They further posit that Native Americans can be perceived as noble and honorable and these qualities should be revered by the teams and institutions that adopt the Indian mascots. Indian mascots is also said to convey stamina and sporting teams want to be seen as resilient and determined in their pursuit of excellence in their sport of choice. Those in favor of retaining Indian mascots argued that use these mascots were favorable to Native Americans and was quite similar to teams such as “The Fighting Irish.

” They saw nothing wrong or derogatory in using the mascots and in their minds, this was a way of reminding the society of the noble traditions of Native Americans. Contrastingly, opponents of the use of Indian mascots presented a litany of complaints that were just as persuasive in trying to eliminate the use of these symbols. The cacophonous and ardent pleas from opponents of Indian mascots, makes for a stirring debate. They argue that Indian mascots perpetuate old stereotypes of Native Americans as always being hostile.

They further argue that no other race has been used as mascots and this was disrespectful to all Native Americans. They claim that sporting teams and institutions could not have used Jewish or African American mascots in the same manner without incurring the ire of many people all over the world. They also note that until 1978 it was illegal for some Native Americans to practice their religion and use certain symbols, while other people were allowed to use sacred Indian symbols for their mascots.

This dichotomy was seen as unfair to the Native American people. The use of these Indian Mascots was also seen as a dishonor to the religion of many tribes and essentially a mockery of a proud tradition. The use of Indian mascots was also seen a perpetuation of the stereotype that Indians were bloodthirsty and vile. This was viewed by opponents as unacceptable use of symbols to dehumanize and distort the image of Native Americans. The use of Indian mascots was also seen as a form of racism.

Companies and sport teams were seen as supporting racism in an overt manner by providing grossly inaccurate views of a people. Native Americans were being seen a marginalized group as many student feel ashamed to be associated with the mascots. Opponents point to gross insensitivity on the part of many organizations and sport teams who sacrifice politically correct views in order to gain recognition. Opponents also argued that the use of Indian mascots distorts historically accurate views of the Native American and trivialize their rich heritage.

The opponents also point to intolerance of some persons to those who oppose the use of Indian mascots. They point to cases where people have been ridiculed and hurt because they voice opposition to the use of these symbols. The arguments are equally persuasive and the debate will continue for the foreseeable future. References Students and Teachers Aganst Racism. 2002. Understanding The American Indian Mascot Issue. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from http://www. racismagainstindians. org/UnderstandingMascots. htm

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