Posted by: bkivey | 12 March 2012

Tomahawk Chop

Much in the news of late locally, and to an extent nationally, is the use of First Nations names and likenesses as mascots for high-schools and colleges. The argument is that the use of such names and images is degrading to the people involved. This controversy has been going on for decades with varying levels of intensity, but recently the state of Oregon has threatened to cut off funds for schools using those mascots.

The primary agitators behind the movement are white liberals; mostly the sort of people who never saw the inside of a locker room. First Nations people are usually absent from the debate, although there will be the occasional spokesperson using the approved language of the Left: words like ‘objectify’, ‘denigrate’, and ‘disrespect’.

I’ve long thought that the people opposed to the use of particular mascots are unclear on the concept. They seem to be stuck on the childish concept of having your kid brother as the mascot of your sandlot team. The more mature idea is to give a team a rallying symbol that represents the athletic and competitive values of courage, skill, bravery, and fighting spirit. I’ve yet to figure out how choosing a symbol representing those properties is ‘denigrating’ or ‘disrespectful’. It’s no accident that the US Army names it’s helicopters after American First Nations tribes, or that the most capable cruise missile is named the Tomahawk.  I haven’t seen any Apaches raise objections to having their tribal identity appropriated for the world’s deadliest attack helicopter.

There are cringe-worthy and embarrassing examples of First Nations mascots: the Cleveland Indians logo comes to mind, and the tomahawk chop of the Seminoles, Braves, and Chiefs makes me a little uncomfortable. The DC NFL team needs to find a new name; I wouldn’t feel a lot of affection for a team named the Whiteskins or Crackers. But the overwhelming majority of teams that choose First Nations mascots do so out of respect for the people and what they represent. One school takes this respect to the next level in their pregame ceremony.

Additional evidence that the anti-mascot crowd don’t understand the concept is their acceptance of just about any mascot that involves white males, no matter the context. There are your Vikings and Trojans and Celtics; fine, manly names that evoke the proper team spirit, but what of the Oregon high school that changed it’s name from Savages to Outlaws? It’s better to rally around a mascot representing extra-legal individuals? How is this an improvement? Hell, why not call the team something really offensive, like Fighting Irish? It’s worth noting that the local paper couldn’t bring itself to print the former school mascot name when writing about the change.

There are names that probably should be changed, but by and large this controversy is but another manifestation of white liberal guilt, with the destructive effects that a ‘throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater’ attitude creates.

Great Moments in Journalism

 

This was located in the  upper left corner of the front page of the local Sunday paper above the masthead; the most visible part of the paper.I sincerely hope that someone mistakenly inserted the text from the October edition, and doesn’t actually believe what the statement says.

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