Native American’s culture, symbols and traditions are sacred and should not be used as mascots. The idea isn’t American and is embedded in racism. “If you look at the history of Native, Black, Hispanic Americans, why would mocking or use of one’s culture for entertainment acceptable? Asks one of my students in his address to our class on this.
Black Boys Speak Out Against Sports Teams with Native American Mascots!
Well to start, for years in America certain cultures have been deemed as “different” or “ethnic”. This has never made it right for our cultures to be used as symbols for sports team mascots.
In my students research, they discovered that Black boys and Native Americans have something in common regarding sports. Both struggle to overcome the stereotypes that often plaque their existence in America reinforced through sports and entertainment.
They also discovered that state lawmakers are allies in helping to change this. Negative stereotypes embedded in racism and hatred and damaging affects on Black and Native Americans. In fact, they look at the impact parent and student advocacy, SNCC and PTA, has on changing things. For them, if parents, students and communities come together they can change mascots named after the Native American culture.
People of color are faced with some many prejudices in America that are embedded in racial hatred. Native Americans having their culture exploited through school and national sports team mascots shouldn’t be one.
A couple of my 8th grade Black male students worked on a writing assignment in May regarding their research on this. Their focus was on American sports teams and schools with mascots that have Native American names or symbols and how racial injustices can be right in our faces but eased over as all in “fun” or “entertainment”.
My students were shocked at research that shows an alarming rate of hate crimes against native people. Native Americans like African Americans still receive a large amount of hatred from other races according to reports. Even more shocking to my students was that American Indians are more likely than people of another race to experience violence at the hands of someone of a different race.
Mocking Cultures in Sports Continues Systemic Hatred and Racism in America.
These factors together indicate a very real need to take immediate action in a number of areas, including the removal of harmful images as well as the education of the general public,to diffuse additional hateful activity against Native people.
Another reason Black boys are advocating against this is because of the current racial tension in America under the current President.
“When we have a President who taunts minority groups in this country on a global platform, it puts us even more at risk”, states one of my Black male students who is of Native American and African descent.
Native Americans receive a lot of hatred from their culture being exploited. Black are often exploited too through negative stereotypes only portraying us as thugs or predators. There are still many oppose this and don’t see a problem with mocking Native American culture. The same persons also support and perpetuate negative stereotypes of Black males.
Our Black boys quickly identified in their research that the same American citizens who don’t want us to take a knee are the same ones still doing tomahawk chops at sports games.
If we can overlook cultural sensitivity in sports, then certainly it’s not even though of at schools. Says a lot huh?
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.