Education | Opinion

Barbara Munson: 'Indian' mascots harm children in public schools





"If you show respect for a symbol that promotes stereotyping, harassment and discrimination, does that take away the harm? If you replicate that symbol, is more or less harm done? If you claim that you mean no harm when you use it, does the harm go away?

My friend Mark says this the issue of "Indian" mascots is sort of like the Confederate flag in the south. Some people, mostly whites, claim that it is a symbol of resilience, bravery and pride. Others say that it symbolizes white power, slavery and segregation. Does the fact that it is raised respectfully with a dignified flag ceremony every day change its symbolic meaning?

Imagine a plaque is hung next to every Confederate flag that says, "This flag is a symbol of resilience, bravery and pride and is in no way intended to promote white power, slavery or segregation. In fact, we honor and welcome black people here." Would the symbolic meaning of the flag match the slogan?

I hope Mark's metaphor helps move understanding about the use of the race-based "Indian" name and logo in Mukwonago Area School District. It helped me understand the issue better."

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Barbara E. Munson: 'Indian' mascots harm children (The Wausau Daily Herald 1/13)