The Use of Offensive Logos In the Sports World Towards Native AmericansIn today’s normal american society, citizens have become more understanding and tolerant of minorities and other groups such as the LGBTQ community. The more progressive the society becomes, the more it realized that some logos of the past have become offensive. Some organizations and universities have realized their past mistakes and have changed their logo and/or mascot such as St. John’s University and the University of Illinois. Yet some of the logos remain such as the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, causing outrage from Native American groups.
The use of these logos and names are unacceptable due to their racist and demeaning depictions of Native Americans, making this a modern social injustice.The illustration of the derogatory logos is one rationale for the Native American groups. The most well known logo and mascots that are considered offensive are the Cleveland Indians. The Cleveland Indians mascot goes by the name of Chief Wahoo.
The logo is a caricature of a red skinned person wearing a Native American headdress with a wide grin. This shows the lack of respect shown to the indigenous people of the Americas by illustrating stereotypes such as the headdress and the red skin. The Indians Chief Wahoo logo is considered to be a derision of the Native American culture (Taylor).
There are more logos that are similar to Chief Wahoo. One example includes the Washington Redskins. This name has been controversial for over a decade but the logo still remains in place. The logo “showed an Indian face in profile, with a feathered headdress and a straight nose.”(Enberg) This sketch of the Native American on the logo is a representation of the ancestors of today’s native people. While the logo is less offensive when compared to Chief Wahoo, the emblem still has the same racial background.
The logo was adopted in 1933 and the owner, George Preston Marshall, of the Redskins “ordered his team members to smear themselves with face paint before going out onto the field.” (Enberg) thus beginning the mockery of the Native American culture. “The Redskins’ halftime band marched in tribal regalia; the coach wore feathers on the sideline; and Marshall had an Indian-head logo printed across the center of their uniforms.” (Enberg). The racist mockery of the Native American culture dates back nearly a century, and yet the logos remain. These logos are counterintuitive to the fight against racism in the United States.While many teams have offensive logos, other teams have offensive names, which is one basis to argue against the use of Native American based team names. One of the most prominent teams that have an offensive name is the Washington Redskins.
The team name Redskins is a racial slur used to describe Native Americans. While “after an independent poll showed that fully 90 percent of American Indians surveyed said the name doesn’t offend them.” (Richardson).
Although a vast majority are not offended by the name, many believe they should be. Michael Smith, host of ESPN’s “His & Hers.” said, “I can read the dictionary. It’s a slur.
Simple, plain, point-blank. It’s a slur.” about the Redskins name. Another insulting name is Atlanta Braves.
The term “braves” derives from Native American scouts who served alongside U.S. cavalry troops. This name could be seen as a positive name honoring Native American troops who served with U.
S cavalry troops. However, Professor Blackhawk of Yale Group for the Study of Native America stated “It’s still “a one-dimensional representation of people” that plays right into a stereotype, even if it is ostensibly a positive one.”(Tracy). Ultimately, the pernicious logos and team names in the sports world are detrimental to the battle against racism in the United States. The trite sketches of Native Americans are harming young Native Americans as well.
A 2014 study from the Center of American Progress discovered that “the presence of American Indian mascots directly results in lower self-esteem and mental health for American Indian adolescents and young adults.” (Stegman and Phillips). The symbols and team names jest the culture of the American Indians as well. Team titles such as the Redskins and Braves generalize all Native Americans to be as described by the organization names. (Tracy) .
While many organizations have changed their names such St. John’s University, who once went by the Redmen, later switched their name to the Red Storm. The University of Illinois ended the era of their former mascot Chief Illiniwek due to it being “hostile and abusive” (Glantz, CONTROVERSIAL LOGOS).
In conclusion, the use of American Indian symbols and depictions in the sports world should be done away with due to its derogatory generalizations of Native Americans.