Native American Ad Shows Others How it Feels to Be the Mascot for a Sports Team

Takepart.com

Earlier this week, a CBS station in Cleveland ran a story about the above poster from the National Congress of American Indians. It assumed the poster was newly released, which in light of recent events, was easy to believe.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder declared several months ago that he'd never change the controversial name of his team, and doubled-down on that promise in an open letter to fans this week. In response, President Obama publicly suggested Snyder give the matter some more thought. 

In his interview with the Associated Press, the president said, "If I were the owner of the team, and I knew that the name of my team—even if it had a storied history—that was offending a sizeable group of people, I’d think about changing it."

Teams like Washington's have long been under fire by Native American communities for what they characterize as the sports industry's casual racism and willingness to mock the group's culture for the sake of entertainment. 

The NCAI's poster was actually released in 2001, but it seems to have gone viral this week—presumably in light of the president's statements and the NCAI's own recently-launched report about the appropriation of its heritage by the sports industry.

Fans who see no harm in their teams using Native American names and themes often answer criticisms with expected statements like, "It's tradition," or "Why do we have to be so PC?"  

But racism itself is a tradition in the U.S.—its continued existence isn't proof that we should stand behind it. And in the context of the racist stereotypes portrayed in the poster, the message seems to be that if viewers can easily identify these other racial depictions as offensive, they should be able to identify all of them as offensive.

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Original article from TakePart