Every year I look forward to the World Series. As a kid I remember rushing home from school to catch the last innings of the games, (all were played in the daytime) and listening on my transistor …
Every year I look forward to the World Series. As a kid I remember rushing home from school to catch the last innings of the games, (all were played in the daytime) and listening on my transistor radio and jumping up and down as Bill Mazeroski hit the game winning home run for Pittsburgh (by now you know I’m old).
However, this year I am choosing not to watch. Not because my team isn’t playing, but because the Atlanta Braves are. I am sure Atlanta is a quality organization, but the name Braves and the chanting of the Indian war cry and tomahawk chop exhibits a lack of respect for the Native American people of this country.
Let’s face it. If a team’s name or prevailing way of cheering was racially or ethnically offensive, it would be addressed and rectified as it very well should be. This doesn’t seem to be the case when stereotypical images of Native Americans are used by sports teams. Is it time to ask ourselves “Why”? And if we don’t have a good answer should we do something about it? We cannot and should not ignore the past; however, we can stop perpetuating its shortcomings.
I am not for re-writing history, or negatively judging how this came about. The names and slogans used reflect the understanding of a time gone by. Today we have a more informed understanding of what was then commonplace and it is with that understanding we should look to address and change this cultural indifference.
What would happen if we took the time to let professional and school sports teams and their sponsors know that we disapprove of the use of Native American cultural symbols as team names and mascots and we asked them to change it? I doubt the world would end. Perhaps, a more respectful one would emerge.
I now cheer for the Washington football team (except when playing the Eagles) for dropping their offensive Redskin title. Who knows, if Atlanta follows Washington’s action, they may gain a new fan(s).
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