Share
Explore BrainMass

Oppression and Discrimination: Native Americans in U.S.

Please provide assistance with the questions following the scenario below.

---------------------------------

The Figaro high school sports teams are called the Redskins and the team logo is a caricatured portrayal of a smiling Native American. The team mascot is called the Chief, and it is a tradition for the Chief to lead the crowd in a "war cry" at sports games. A local Native American group has protested the team name and they have asked for it to be changed. They also say that the team logo is offensive, and argue that the logo and the Chief show a simplistic, disrespectful image of Native Americans. While some townspeople are willing to change the team name and mascot, others argue that the team name and mascot should remain the same because they are part of town tradition were not meant offensively. The mayor has asked for your assistance to help him better understand the point of view of the Native American group. You research similar cases that have occurred elsewhere in the country and write up some notes covering the following issues:

1. How does the history of oppression of and discrimination against Native Americans in the U.S. relate to the way that Native American groups have protested some sports teams' use of Native American names and imagery?
2. Do you think the mayor should support a change of name and mascot for the high school team? Why or why not?

Solution Preview

1. How does the history of oppression of and discrimination against Native Americans in the U.S. relate to the way that Native American groups have protested some sports teams' use of Native American names and imagery?

In the U.S., Native Americans are a "minority" racial group, and as such, they continue to face oppression and discrimination. In fact, prior to the civil rights laws, there were find three separate drinking fountains labeled "Whites," "Colored" and "Indian" in certain states. Movie theaters were similarly divided into three separate sections. As a result of Native American Indian history, many suffer from the same social and economic challenges as other victims of long-term bias and discrimination. Such challenges include such things poverty and unemployment, overrepresentation in state jails and federal prisons, and low education levels, and while some Native Americans have overcome the obstacles and become successful, most have been left behind. For the most part, however, Native Americans are very much separate and unequal members of society. 'Despair' characterizes the emotional state of many Native Americans who believe they live in a hostile environment. (1) However, the fight for Civil Rights continues.

" . In November of 1969, a landmark event occurred. A group of Native Americans landed on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay with the intention of occupying it. They "offered to buy Alcatraz in glass beads and red cloth, the price paid [to] Indians for Manhattan Island over three hundred years earlier" (Zinn, 1920, p 518, as cited in http://amath.colorado.edu/carnegie/lit/lynch/native.htm). The federal government responded six months later with federal forces that invaded and physically removed the Native Americans. This event, which occurred thirty five years ago, confirms that the historical oppression and violence against Native Americans is still prevalent and that the feelings of white supremacy that fueled the colonist are still prevalent in the United States government." (2)

In fact, because of this prior history, part of the Native American Story is the fight for Civil Rights. One of these civil rights priorities is elimination of mascots by schools and professional sports teams that are considered offensive, as they reflect outdated stereotypes and perpetuate racism against Native Americans. (4)

Also see http://www.racismagainstindians.org/UnderstandingMascots.htm, for an article specifically discussing removing Mascots that are offensive and reflect past myths and stereotypes and images that still act to promote oppression of Native Americans and suggests superiority of Whites. Therefore, they should be removed. (Article also provided below in the extra information section for convenience - see artcile 2 which expands on resons why Mascots should and are removed).

2. Do you think the mayor should support a change of name and mascot for the high school team? Why or why not?

Therefore, based on the past treatment of Native American and to end the oppression and discrimination against Native Americans, I think the mayor should support a change of name and mascot for the high school team. First and foremost, it is because the North American people find it offensive and that it reflects myths and past stereotypes (e.g. "war cry", etc.). Second, any behavior that might be interpreted as promoting oppression and discrimination against another group of people should stop immediately.

Also see artcile 2 below for other considerations.

I HOPE THIS HELPS AND HAVE A GREAT DAY!

References

(1) http://racerelations.about.com/od/thehierarchyofrace/a/nativeamericans_2.htm
(2) http://amath.colorado.edu/carnegie/lit/lynch/native.htm
(3) Zinn, H. (1980). A people's history of the United States. New York: Harper-Collins. Retrieved August 9, 2010, from http://amath.colorado.edu/carnegie/lit/lynch/native.htm
(4) http://www.racismagainstindians.org/UnderstandingMascots.htm

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Article 1:

Native American Indian History and the Native American's Ongoing Fight

The Native American's Story

The Native American Story: Native American Indian History

Native Americans, the original inhabitants of American land prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, consisted of hundreds of different tribes. Over five hundred and fifty Native American tribal governments are currently recognized by the United States. There are approximately 300 reservations and 2.5 million Native Americans.

The Native American Story: Native American Indians Today

The fight to preserve tribal sovereignty (tribal sovereignty - a tribes' right to ...

Solution Summary

Based on the history of oppression of and discrimination against Native Americans in the United States (U.S.)., this solution relates it to the scenario and the way that Native American groups have protested some sports teams' use of Native American names and imagery. It then debates how the mayor should respond e.g. support a change of name and mascot for the high school team, and why or why not. An extensive overview of the history of Native Americans in the U.S. is also provided, as well as past cases on removal of Mascots and why.

$2.19