Davina Kotulski

All in Good Fun or Blatant Racism?

Filed By Davina Kotulski | November 04, 2013 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: blackface, Cleveland Indians, Halloween costume, racist sports mascots, Washington Redskins

Indians-logo.jpgWhat does it mean for a member of a majority group to dress as a member of a minority group for Halloween, a costume party, or as a sport's team mascot?

People who are not Muslims, Jews, African Americans, Asian Americans or Latino Americans should not dress up as members of these religious or racial groups as Halloween costumes! (Although that didn't seem to stop actress Julianne Hough from donning black face.) It's also in poor taste for white people to dress up as Trayvon Martin or Oscar grant. I was shocked to see that some hallow-weenies did.

Native Americans are not mascots and they shouldn't be Halloween costumes either. While we can't control individual acts of poor judgment and bad taste, we can add our voices to the call to end using Native Americans as mascots for sports teams. Most schools got the memo at least a decade ago. Still, professional sports teams seem to be ignoring the call to end native mascots that harken back to black Sambo images.

redskins-logo.jpgThe Washington Redskins (which is the equivalent of the n-word to Native Americans) and the Cleveland Indians' mascot, a cartoon Indian character with a big nose and feather in his cap, are totally offensive to indigenous people and their supporters; they need to go.

As LGBT people it is important for us to support our Native American brothers and sisters in ending this flagrant disrespect of their culture just as we want support to end negative stereotypes of LGBT people and the use of offensive language against us.

On November 7th, the American Indian Movement of Minnesota is holding a rally during the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskin's game to protest Dan Snyder, the Redskin's owner, who refuses to change the team's offensive name and mascot. I encourage you to lend your voice to the movement to end the use of Native Americans as mascots for sports teams. American Indians are people not mascots!


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