Although it may seem to many that the Native American mascot argument is a fresh fight, it is not. It is beginning to trend now, only because the fight has been going on for decades. It is trending now because awareness has been spreading, for decades. This movement needs to surpass the boundaries of a trend, though, and sustain, until racism in sports is eradicated.
A great and growing number of Americans are speaking out on this issue. People are realizing that the Washington Redsk*ns name and logo is completely racist. It only takes a moment to look into the pages of a dictionary to learn that “redskins” is a dictionary defined term. The argument for changing the name and removing racist mascots is steeped in truth and justice.
However, resistance to change exists; from the top of the Washington Redsk*ns organization to the loyal fan. We hear rebuttals such as, “Get over it. It’s just a name. There are bigger issues to worry about in Indian Country.” Etc., etc.
We will never “get over it.” I saw a meme on September 11, which had a picture of American soldiers standing around an open mass burial pit, full of Native American bodies. The text said, “White people be like ‘9/11 NEVER FORGET’, toward the genocide of Native Americans, they be like ‘GET OVER IT'” This meme, I believe, captures an interesting point. Would we tell Jewish folks to just “get over it” in regards to the Holocaust?
When people say, “It’s just a name” or “it’s not that big of a deal,” I find myself replying, “Then it shouldn’t be hard to change the name.” The judgement in that particular rebuttal is disturbing; it diminishes the voice and concerns of our people. Perhaps to them, it is just a name, and they can’t see the larger picture, how this mascot issue is tied into a much larger web of social injustice and racism that we are up against.
When people say, “There are bigger problems to worry about in Indian Country”, they fail to see that this mascot issue is tied to several of those “bigger” issues. There are masses of people working toward fixing those other “bigger” issues, many of whom are also working on changing the name.
Personally, I believe that it is long over due for racist mascots, names, and logos to come to an end. These teams claim to “honor” Native American people. If that’s true, then truly honor us. Listen to us. #changethename #notyourmascot