(Side note): If an author is standing up for Native Americans they shouldn’t go through an entire article intermittently calling them Indians. Just because Columbus was stubborn and ignorant doesn’t mean we have to continue the sentiment. As far as I know, Indians live in India. I thought by now we might have corrected that error especially when we are trying to point out how ignorant it is for people to use their image on mascots. Before we get into that, how about the author learns the name of the group he is trying to advocate for. (End of side note).
Many people have been called out for “appropriating” Native American culture. While some aspects of their culture are being “borrowed” out of respect and admiration, the use of cartoon-like stereotypes is not flattering or acceptable. Using of Native Americans as a mascot for a team sport is not okay because it dehumanizes them, propagates racist stereotypes, and it would be considered unacceptable when done with any other culture.
First, using Native Americans as mascots is not okay because it dehumanized them. According to Emily Hauser from the The Week Native Americans are now imagined as “Noble Savages forever crossing the plains in a timeless, context-less journey — not real people, at least half of whom live today in urban settings.” This means that people don’t even realize that Native Americans are still living, poorly, in America. Not acknowledging their existence makes Native Americans seem almost less than human which is simply racist and not okay.
Second, having “Native American” mascots is not okay because it portrays an offensive stereotype. Team mascots like the Cleveland Indians’ are especially racist by literally coloring the mascot red to propagate that antiquated stereotype. “The Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo is a garishly red (get it? ‘Cause Indians are red?), be-feathered cartoon, all big nose and step-n-fetch-it grin.” Says Emily Hauser from The Week. This kind of stereotypical depiction of the complex Native American culture is insensitive and disrespectful.