Kansas City Chiefs Racist Mascot Highlighted During Super Bowl Weekend
Super Bowl LIV is a mere 30 hours away and while football fans might see Sunday as the most exciting day of the year, Native American folks likely see it as the most racist day of the year.
An op-ed was written by Native American scribe Simon Moya-Smith for NBCNews that laid out the argument that “Indian”-themed sports teams need to end the practice of arresting his culture for the sake of fandom and capitalism.
There are dozens of pro and college sports franchises that have built their long and storied legacies on the backs, traditions, dignity of indigenous people. Even teams that do not carry names that are as blatantly offensive as the nation’s capital’s “Redskins”, there are PLENTY of obscene gestures that are baked into the culture of these teams that is obviously harmful to those who had their ancestors’ lives stolen by America.
Here’s what happened when Simon tried to explain his position to a Chiefs fan who played more defense for his team than they play for him…
“No,” I responded. “’Chief,’ the word, isn’t a racial slur, and neither are the names of the Cleveland Indians or Atlanta Braves, but you miss the point.” I went on to explain that Indian mascots dehumanize indigenous people, reducing real human beings into caricatures, costumes, and cartoons.
“How can you see me, or any other Native for that matter, as a human being,” I added, “if sports and Hollywood continue to perpetuate the half-naked, Tonto-talking angry Indian stereotype?” The man didn’t change his mind, or even seem to care. He said he’ll still remain devoted to “his team.”
Sounds about white. But white people aren’t the only ones responsible for this heresy against natives, we as people of color indulge in the same practices that we often tear others to shreds for.
Native American mascots commodify indigenous peoples and our cultures; they make us and our heritage into images and words and logos to be sold by white people to other non-Native people. It’s a complete and utter appropriation for profit by others.
The moral of the story is, don’t be an Iggy Azalea to someone else’s culture just because it doesn’t affect you personally.