Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mascot Controversey

The usage of Native American mascots in professional sports and schools has been a topic of debate in the United States for quite some time and has even led to some institutions changing the names and images of their mascots all together.  This raises the question should or shouldn’t a school’s mascot be changed because Native Americans deem them offensive. Some feel that Native American mascots breed insensitivity and misunderstanding about native people. They also seem to push the argument that there are no mascots based on African Americans, or Asian Americans depicted in sports. However, Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish can be viewed as an exception to this belief. I come from a town in Long Island called Massapequa, which has deep Native American roots and respectively our mascot is the Massapequa Chief. I believe they can be viewed as respectful and pay homage to Native American culture. I remember back in high school when they wanted to change our mascot from the intimidating Chief to the Massapequa Waves. It sparked a huge controversy and everybody was in an uproar because they didn’t want to change the mascot that they’ve grown to represent and be proud of. However, with that being said, many Native Americans feel that the mascots should be deemed offensive by the people being imitated and not by those who are doing the imitating. Native American mascots focus on bravery, courage and fighting skills rather than anything derogatory. In 20120 a law was passed in Wisconsin to eliminate race-based nicknames, logos, and mascots in schools. A school can argue to keep their mascot if they have permission of local Native American tribes. It's the first law of it's kind in the country. 

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