"There seems to be a serious case of racism going on in American sports teams. It has been going on for a long time and people did not even seem to notice. The problem is that a lot of American baseball and football teams have Native American names and caricatures as their mascots. This is an interesting controversy because the names and mascots have been around for so many years that people have accepted them even though on the surface they seem to be glaring examples of racism and discrimination. Now a days the problem looks like it is being addressed with teams changing their names and mascots.
There are a lot of teams in American sports these days which have Native American names and mascots. Examples of these teams are the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians with their mascot Chief Wahoo and the Washington Redskins. There are numerous arguments from both sides of the debate on the issue of racism. Native American activists say that all these names and mascots are very offensive while the other side claims that these mascots and names are honouring Native American culture.
This issue stretches back to the 1960s, when a campaign was started by the National Congress of American Indians to combat negative racial stereotyping in American society and the media. They also focused their campaign on sports teams and how these teams were using images and names that were offensive to their people. They took particular offense at the practice of sports fans dressing up as Native Americans and painting their faces with war paint.
Over the years the organisation has managed to get a large number of sports teams and universities to change their names and mascots but some still persist on using them. A lot of Native American activists have compared the practice to using African American stereotypes and having caricatures of black people as mascots. They have even asked whether it would it be possible that fans would paint their faces black in support of their teams that used black images and names. This would not be possible today in America; there would be a huge outcry if it did take place."
Get the Story:
Lou Ambers: The Controversy of native American Mascots and names used by North American sports teams
Offensive mascots remain a problem
(Indian Country Today 10/5)