Redskin mascot: racial slur

Redskin mascot: racial slur

By Emily Scott
Staff Writer

For years, there has been controversy over whether the Neshaminy Redskins mascot is racist and whether or not it should be changed. The Native American with a headdress has been displayed as school spirit for over fifty years and recently the topic was brought back into discussion. I consider the Redskin mascot to be racist, for the fact that it is a racial slur towards Native Americans.

Neshaminy High School has been the Redskins, or the shortened version ‘Skins, for fifty years now. It derives from Native American tribes, which are familiar to the Bucks County area.
The school is covered with images of the mascot as well as posters saying “Go ‘Skins” or “Everybody do the Redskin Rumble,” but there is more than meets the eye. A Redskin is just plain a derogatory term for Native Americans.

It is believed that the term originated from the collection of Native American body parts such as heads, scalps, and skins. The school’s mascot is proudly displayed as a Native American with a headdress. If the actual Redskin term was correctly displayed it would be horrifying image to the proud supporters of the Redskins.

Donna Boyle recently went to a school board meeting. Boyle is part Cherokee and Choctaw and spoke out against the Neshaminy mascot. “It has really bothered me for a while. The school has a policy of no racism. How is the Redskin mascot any different? It is giving the students the wrong message,” Boyle said. She finds the name to be offensive and is asking for the name to be changed. “This is inevitable. It is really all about the pressure from the community because of the long time tradition. The definition of a Redskin is ‘an offensive term for a Native American’. How could any school justify that?” Boyle stated. Having her own children who go to the school, Boyle does not want them exposed to such racism.

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, was born, raised, and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association.

“The name Redskin was never intended to be a word to honor Native Americans. It was word intended to insult and to put the Indian people in their place. The word made a clear distinction between the master race, the white people, and the inferior people, the Redskins,” Giago stated in his article ‘Mascots, Ignorance, and Racism’.
Neshaminy is also the only school in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area that uses a Native American mascot to call themselves the “Redskins”. It really does not matter whether someone is any part Native American, it can be agreed any racist slur is offensive and will be a controversy. It should not be considered just because it is a long-time tradition.

The Redskin mascot is not only a controversy in Bucks County but nationally as well. The football team, Washington Redskins, has stirred up much debate as well. It is all for the same reasons. The Washington Redskins are also the only NFL team with a racial slur for a mascot.

Others believe that the Redskin mascot is a positive reference to Native Americans, for their strength and courage. Whether positive or negative, a stereotype is still an obstacle for the advancement of any race. Using stereotypes or racial slurs against any race is contributing to the dehumanization of that ethnic group.

The Redskin mascot is an offensive term to the Native Americans who helped cultivate the area we now all know and live in. By using the pejorative slang it simply is a slap in the face to all Native Americans. The fact of the matter is that the mascot is a bloody display of heroes in our history and should be portrayed differently.