…a forum for the discussion of political, social and economic issues affecting the indigenous peoples of the United States, including their lack of political representation, economic deprivation, health care issues, and the on-going struggle for preservation of identity and cultural history
Tag Archives: American Indian sports teams mascots
Well, it is. Death threats against a 15 year old have spawned, because a coward published a 15 year old American Indian’s name in a newspaper.
A local businessman placed a quarter-page ad in the local newspaper explicitly naming and targeting Eli Cordero, the young student who originally brought the issue to the school board.
The brave young man spoke out, his relatives supported him, and they got the school to do away with the institutionalized racism that is American Indian mascots at their school.
Since that time, the 15 year old has received death threats and his family has been harassed. Death threats were also made against the child of a school board member who voted to remove the imagery. Local police began escorting school board members to and from school board meetings. Some citizens of Carpinteria shouted racial epithets at John Orendorff, a Native American Army Reserve colonel who spoke at a school board meeting in favor of removing the racist imagery.
An organization called “Recall CUSD – Warrior Spirit Never Dies” (http://www.recallcusd.org), has waged a largely successful campaign to discredit and oust the school board members who supported the anti-mascot measure. Having successfully installed pro-mascot sympathizers on the school board, there is now a petition to rescind the earlier decision and keep the racist imagery at the public high school. On January 27th, local Native American people organized a protest to voice their objection to the measure, and were met with verbal abuse by drivers and passers-by. One protestor was hit with a rock thrown by an adult man shouting obscenities. This occurred despite the presence of a representative of the federal justice department, who was sent from Los Angeles to ensure proper police conduct and the safety of the demonstrators. Many local Native Americans, while supporting the anti-mascot effort, refused to join the protest, fearing violent reprisals by the townspeople.
I get it, better keep quiet about this if you’re an American Indian, or you support the efforts of American Indians to end the institutionalized racism that is American Indian mascots.
Otherwise, they’ll publish children’s names in papers, scream hate speech, and deal out death threats.
TULSA, Okla. – Crimes of hate against American Indians totaled 75 incidents in the nation during 2007, said a Federal Bureau of Investigation report. While the overall number of crimes against Indians mirrored 2006’s 75 incidents, the overall number of hate crimes dipped, according to the report. The federal law enforcement agency culled data from over 13,000 agencies across the nation.
Race remained a strong motivation of hate crimes outranking religious and sexual discrimation. Whites were reported as the largest group of offenders, 3,800, across all racial groups. Over 9,000 total incidents occurred last year that included mainly intimidation in 22 of the 76 incidents involving Indians, the agency said. In the 75 Indians-as-victim race incidents, only 7 of them were committed by other Indians, the report shows.
Oklahoma Indian activist Brenda Golden said the reason Indians figure so highly among race groups for incidents on hate crimes is that natives are historically viewed as scapegoats in the American conscience. “People are gonna prey on the weak,” she said.”And we are weak because of 500 years of oppression.” Golden said that resentment from general society characterizes Indians as receiving ill-deserved social benefits like food, health care and casino dividends. With these misperceptions, others view Indians as prime targets that arise from frustration and other factors. “People think we get all these benefits when don’t,” she said. “And they also associate us with the past…that we killed white people indiscriminately when we were fighting for our land.”
What institutionalized racism against American Indians might have aided the approximately 68 Caucasian individuals to commit hate crimes against American Indians? Furthermore, why might have the approximately 68 Caucasian individuals who committed hate crimes against American Indians “associate us with the past…that we killed white people indiscriminately when we were fighting for our land?”
WHEREAS many Native American individuals across the United States have found Native American nicknames, logos and mascots in sport offensive and called for their elimination;
AND, WHEREAS the continued use of Native American nicknames, logos and mascots in sport has been condemned by numerous reputable academic, educational and civil rights organizations, and the vast majority of Native American advocacy organizations, including but not limited to: American Anthropological Association, American Psychological Association, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Modern Language Association, United States Commission on Civil Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Association of American Indian Affairs, National Congress of American Indians, and National Indian Education Association;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT THE AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION calls for discontinuing the use of Native American nicknames, logos and mascots in sport.
Why might have the approximately 68 Caucasian individuals who committed hate crimes against American Indians “associate us with the past…that we killed white people indiscriminately when we were fighting for our land?”
The misconceived, self-serving concept of American Indian people being universally inclined toward particularly war-like and violent behavior historically allowed for the justification of heinous acts committed against Native Peoples in the name of “civilizing” the so-called “primitives.” By continuing to portray First Nations in this manner via association to the intrinsic aggression and violence found in many sporting activities, this same rationalization is erroneously continued to this day and carries with it serious negative consequences for contemporary Native Peoples.
While it cannot be authoritatively said that the uses in question are a major factor in the phenomenon, according to the United States Department of Justice, American Indian people are more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crime than any other group of Americans. Perhaps even more tragic is that American Indian children and young adults also suffer a much higher incidence of suicide than their non-Native social peers and ethnic groups.
While some or many admit that the rhetoric at the Palin rallies during the election aided threats against Obama, some or many will not admit that violence against Native Americans is made more probable by the institutionalized racism that is American Indian sports teams mascots.
Three men who yelled “dirty Indian” and other slurs at an Indian county commissioner won’t face additional hate crime charges for the September 20 attack in Great Falls, Montana.
Some or many will not admit that violence against Native Americans is made more probable because of the institutionalized racism that is American Indian sports teams mascots, even if it is true – and it probably is.
Hate crime is basically bias-motivated crime. A bias-motivated crime is “a crime in which the offender is motivated by a characteristic of the victim that identifies the victim as a member of some group toward which the offender feels animosity” (Garofalo & Martin 1992). The criminological literature is scarce on hate crime (Berk, Boyd & Hamner 1992). Recent years have seen a movement to collect data and define terms more thoroughly, but with few exceptions, few advances have been made in theoretical criminology. The sociological literature on collective violence (Smelser 1962) is somewhat helpful in explaining hate crime, but much of it is restricted to analysis of related, but different, social behavior like mobs, lynchings, crowds, and riots. As a summation of that literature, three (3) sociological explanations have existed historically, all revolving around the presumed “social” or symbolic status of the victim; i.e., victims being sought out primarily because their social group is seen in some negative light:
1. Group competition over scarce resources (Grimshaw 1969)
2. Long-standing social rituals (Nieburg 1972)
3. Early socio-psychological trauma (Sterba 1969)
These are all explanations of the behavior, not necessarily of the stereotypical thought processes behind the behavior. Although the study of stereotypes can provide useful information (Stephan & Rosenfield 1982), there are a number of other, more important attributes of hate crime that make them more than symbolic…