The Huffington Post:
On prime time TV this week, during halftime of the NBA playoff game, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of California ran a paid advertisement to protest cultural stereotyping of Native Americans. The two-minute clip was a series of images, each associated with a spoken word: soldier, doctor, spiritualist, son, daughter, patriot, rancher, struggling, resilient, Sioux, Pueblo, Apache, Blackfoot, and more. The video ended with these words: “Native Americans call themselves many things. The one they don’t…” This sentence ended as the final image occupied the screen: the logo of the Washington Redskins.
My hometown football team has been under fire for many years for using the derogatory term “redskin” as its team mascot, but the heat has risen noticeably this year. As it should — the name is offensive on so many levels. It’s not only an inaccurate physical description of a diverse people. It’s also a cruel stereotype of Native American character. One doesn’t choose a football team mascot for traits like compassion and spirituality, but rather as an embodiment of aggression and ferocity and savagery.
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