Native American Stereotypes

1392 Words6 Pages
American Indian culture, characteristics, and history have been utilized in all aspects of society, from names to logos to clothing. Although it originally was meant as a way of honoring American Indian heritage, Native American inspired ideas have turned into discrimination in the past four decades. A Crayola crayon received the name “Indian Red,” and although the name was revoked, the color is still in circulation as well as the memory of the insulting name. Moreover, searching for the right Halloween costume? Try looking for an “Indian” costume that stores have the audacity to sell—complete with a stereotypical headdress, worn traditionally by only the most respected Indians in a tribe, such as chiefs and warriors, and face/war paint. While…show more content…
If images that were not the least bit complimentary of you were passed around and displayed, how would you feel? Surely not increasingly confident or empowered by the pictures. Now put yourself in an American Indian’s shoes. One can only imagine how Native Americans would feel when they see offensive and stereotypical logos like Chief Wahoo in today’s society being displayed, tolerated, and even supported. Images like those have proven negative effects on the mental health of American Indians they are supposedly “modeled” after. A team of psychologists conducted a study with activists who speak out for the abolishment of Native American-referenced mascots, nicknames, and logos. According to WBUR, “those studies found that young Native Americans responded to exaggerated images like Chief Wahoo—grinning, red-faced mascot of the Cleveland Indians—with diminished self-esteem and less hope for the future (other studies suggest that those same images have the inverse effect on young Americans of European descent—they feel greater self-esteem after seeing them, and are more apt to use stereotypes even against other groups.)” Not only are harmful American Indian-based logos and other images disastrous to younger American Indians’, or American Indians of any age for that matter, self-esteem, but the use of them also teaches those of…show more content…
A study found that Native American-themed mascots diminish the self-esteem of the people they are representing and cause a feeling of less hope for the future among the younger American Indians. The study additionally observed that Native American mascots teach those of European descent that it is fine to use stereotypes against others. Furthermore, the mascots and nicknames are offensive and do not accurately depict the people they are supposed to represent; they are mockery. The use of American Indian mascots also violates nondiscrimination policies most schools have (or should have), vowing to protect students from discrimination, but the mascots themselves are discriminatory. Nevertheless, American Indians support mascots when they are portrayed in a tasteful manner and not offensively. To some it is an honor to have a mascot or nickname named modeled after Indian heritage. Despite that, next time you see a Native American mascot or nickname, put yourself in the Native peoples’ shoes. You never really know what someone is feeling unless you walk around in their skin for a
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