Native Americans have been calling for the end to the use of racist stereotypes and sports mascots for decades, with some slow and steady progress. Many schools have retired their Native mascots, and laws (as in Oregon) have been passed banning them. Yet powerful franchises like the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians have firmly resisted any change or recognition that anything is wrong with their team names and mascots.
When Eradicating Offensive Sports Mascotry kicked off their social media campaign against Nike's use of the Cleveland Indians' offensive "Chief Wahoo" image a few weeks ago, they had no idea it would snowball into a growing public conversation about the harmful impact these caricatured and stereotyped images have, not just on Native Americans, but on public consciousness and in enabling largely unconscious racist attitudes. Using new media like Facebook and Twitter to amplify their voices and impact, Keeler and many others have created new space for calling attention to offensive and racist stereotyping and behavior.
Links and contact info from today's show:
Eradicating Offensive Sports Mascotry on Facebook and Twitter:
National Congress of American Indians:
Jacqueline Keeler's article for Salon.com: