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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Why the NCAA Is Wrong on Native American Mascots

By The Sports Curmudgeon
Thursday, June 23, 2005

The NCAA Thought Police and Political Correctness folks will hold a meeting in the next few weeks focusing on the insensitive and offensive use of American Indian symbols and names for collegiate teams. Schools with such horrid practices have been told to explain themselves to the NCAA Thought Police and presumably, they have. In addition, some Native American groups have also chimed in:

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe endorsed the name "Chippewas" as the nickname for Central Michigan University.

The Chief of the Nansemond Tribe was asked about William and Mary's nickname as the Tribe. Said the Chief, "If it's done in the right manner, I don't have a problem with it."

The Chief of the Lumbee Indian Tribe sent a letter to the NCAA regarding the UNC-Pembroke Braves saying, "We don't have to have you tell us what's offensive."

The Tribal Council of the Seminole Indians in Florida voted unanimously to endorse the name of the Florida State Seminoles.

So let me say this as explicitly as I can. The NCAA Thought Police are neither well-meaning advocates for minorities nor are they merely idealists seeking a utopian world. They are actually – and probably unknowingly – racists at heart. Their actions indicate that they know better what is best for these Native Americans and that they will use their superior knowledge and power and whatever to change things for these folks – even if these folks don't want it changed and don't realize how offensive these names/symbols ought to be to them. The Thought Police want to influence the way you think and they want to influence the way Native Americans think about themselves. Sadly, they want all of us to think the way they do.

Memo to the NCAA Thought Police: The most offensive portion of this entire issue is your arrogant assertion that only your view of the world is worthy of respect.

Rob's reply
The most offensive portion of this entire essay is the "Sports Curmudgeon's" stupid ignorance of the widespread Native antipathy toward Indian mascots. The so-called "Thought Police" are indeed advocating for the many tribes and organizations who have come out against such mascots.

Read the evidence, Curmudgeon, and weep at your ignorance of what many Natives and other minorities believe:

List of Organizations Endorsing Retirement of "Indian" Sports Team Tokens

Native American Organizations That Endorse the Retiring of Native American Mascots

As for the Curmudgeon's few examples, they're easily dismissed. As part of the Great Lakes Intertribal Council, several Chippewa tribes have voted against CMU's "Chippewa" mascot name. William and Mary and UNC-Pembroke are minor offenders in the mascot battle. The major offenders are teams such as the Savages, Redskins, Redmen, Fighting Illini, and Fighting Sioux—which the Curmudgeon conveniently failed to address.

So the Curmudgeon's four examples amount to one example. Great. There are some 1,200 schools that still have Indian mascots and the Curmudgeon points to one with tribal support. What about the other 1,199, doofus?

The white-majority NCAA isn't telling Indians what to think, which might indeed be a racist act. It's supporting what Indians already think. How is that a racist act?

In fact, the Curmudgeon is the only one telling Indians what to think. Namely, that mascots shouldn't bother them because he uncovered a few examples of Indians supporting mascots. Looks to me like the Curmudgeon is the only racist here.

As for the "political correctness" charge, see Political Correctness Defined for more on the subject.

Related links
Team names and mascots

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