Some mascots have been around so long, we forget that what they stand for isn’t always 100-percent P.C. Bulldogs? Fine. Hornets? Sure. But Chiefs? Redskins? Braves? Now that just might be crossing the line, according to civil rights groups across the U.S.
Case in point: The Michigan Department of Civil Rights recently took a stand against the use of Native Americans, tribes and imagery as school mascots. The Department of Education dismissed their complaint, but that doesn’t mean the conversation is over.
The MDCR argued that the use of Native American mascots, imagery and names, prevalent in 35 schools kindergarten through twelfth grade, is discriminatory to students of American Indian origin. They claim that there is significant research concerning the negative academic impact of Native American mascots on Native American students. They also complain that Native American mascots sideline the history of these groups – students dress up in ways that portray a false interpretation of the account of these groups.
According to the Department of Education, there is not enough evidence that any racial discrimination has occurred or is occurring because of the mascots. Since there has been so specific harm to any student or individual, the complaint has been dismissed. But that hasn't stopped one high school in Idaho from making the change. The superintendent of Teton High School's district said it would be dropping its "Redskins" nickname as well as all iconography. "Students need to be taught to see people beyond the color of their skin," he said. "They need to get to know who people are without using nicknames or assumptions based on outward appearances."
What do you think? Is it time to reevaluate the offensiveness of mascots, or are people simply overreacting? Tell us in the comments.
Pictured above, the Florida State Seminoles’ mascot, Chief Osceola
BY KATIE TAKACS ON 6/17/2013 1:10:00 PM
POSTED IN In the News