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“Im not the only one who thinks that racists mascots dont belong in sports. Just ask a psychologist. The American Psychology Association (APA) recommends retiring American Indian mascots altogether. First of all, the organization found that the stereotypical images were harmful for the development and self-esteem of American Indian students. That wasnt all. The portrayals had a negative effect on all students.
The problem, according to the APA, is that American Indian mascots are undermining the educational experiences of members of all communities-especially those who have had little or no contact with Indigenous peoples.” And, it establishes an unwelcome and often times hostile learning environment for American Indian students that affirms negative images/stereotypes that are promoted in mainstream society. “One of the best films on the subject that Ive seen is the documentary film In Whose Honor? The film focuses on Charlene Teters (Spokane) and her campaign against Chief Illiniwek,” the mascot of University of Illinois. Other highly publicized Native American mascot battles are described here.
Unfortunately, this racial insensitivity extends beyond U.S. borders. Ian Campeau, an Ojibway father and member of the DJ group, A Tribe Called Red, has filed a human rights complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against an amateur football club, the Nepean Redskins,” in hopes of eradicating the use of the term altogether. The team is based in Canadas capital city, Ottawa, and uses a cartoon image of a red-faced Indian man with a large nose, a long, black braid and two feathers in his hair as their mascot.
The players call each other redskins on the field,” said Campeau in a press release. How are they going to differentiate the playing field from the school yard? Whats going to stop them from calling my daughter a redskin in the schoolyard? Thats as offensive as using the n-word. “If Campeaus request is granted, the Human Rights Tribunal would order the National Capital Amateur Football Association to change the name and logo. His complaint also requests that the Tribunal draft a policy on the use of Indigenous imagery in sports, which could have an impact on teams of various levels that use the Redskins name in Canada. The most in-your-face examples of racists mascots are in professional sports, including the football team of our nations capital, the Washington Redskins. The teams owner, Dan Snyder, refuses to change the teams name despite the obvious offensive nature of the imagery and name itself. Snyder has been quoted as saying, “We’ll never change it. It’s that simple. NEVER you can use caps.”
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