The Discriminating Mascot Essay

The Discriminating Mascot Essay

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The echo of haunting chant intensifies as the vision of a face-painted warrior, holding an ornamental flaming spear, dances uncharacteristically, but emphatically, into the football stadium. With an established reputation the supposed honorable representation of Indian culture arrives. A similar entrance occurs with teams in a variety of sports, at multiple levels of competition, each claiming to possess a mascot. It is this character that represents the competitive spirit and team identity, motivating players and fans alike. Does the symbol chosen have any impact on whether a team wins or loses? Unlikely. But the choice of a Native American mascot continues to ignite debate and controversy among athletes, fans and alumni, as well as those people who otherwise refrain from sports dialogue. Utilizing an Indian mascot is nothing more than costumed cultural discrimination.
The dispute over whether Native American mascots should be used as a team symbol dates back to the 1970’s (Price 2). People differ on the basic issue, but there is a more important underlying principle. It is called freedom. Determining whether or not someone is harmed by a practice can reveal whether that practice can or should be morally justified. Wherein lies the truth about exercising the use of American Indian mascots? The reality is that they cannot be morally justified. The certainty is not ascertainable by way of any comparison to other similar phenomena. No such comparison can be made as none exits. Then, are not the only relevant voices those of the Indians themselves? If so, the truth regarding this imagery can only be discovered by conferring with the groups that are depicted. Only those portrayed should have a voice. Or at the very least, be heard...


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...urce. Wausau East Library, Wausau, WI. 16 Nov. 2008. .
Morrison, Rich. “Special Interview: Rich Morrison Speaks Out in Favor of Native American Sports Mascots.” Issues and Controversies on File. 29 Mar. 2002. Issues and Controversies. Facts on File. Wausau East Library. Wausau, WI. 10 Nov. 2008.
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“Native American Sports Mascots.” Issues and Controversies On File. 12 April. 2002. Issues and Controversies. Facts On File. Wausau East Library. Wausau, WI. 10 Nov. 2008.
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Price, S.L. “The Indian Wars.” Sports Illustrated 4 Mar. 2002: 1-5. SI.com. 16 Nov. 2008.
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Wieberg, Steve. “NCAA Ponders Future of Indian Nicknames.” USA Today 15 May. 2005. SIRS Researcher. SIRS Knowledge Source. Wausau East Library, Wausau, WI. 16 Nov. 2008.< http://www.sirs.com>.

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