Posted by: brian | November 26, 2007

But don’t name your sports team after us!

I totally appreciate the idea of a beauty pageant that involves meat. I love that the Miss Navajo Nation pageant embraces a broader range of skills than a typical pageant, where rubbing Vaseline on your teeth, talking about the Iraq, and dodging pepper spray are de rigueur. What I don’t get is how this fits into the “don’t use us as an icon of strength and physical prowess” attitude that pervades the anti-mascot crowd. I get that “they” don’t want to be reduced to a one-dimensional caricature, but can’t a mascot represent a particular dimension of your culture? I don’t hear this much fuss about mascots based on European characters. The Fighting Irish are a classic example – and the concept of the drunken, pugilistic Irishman is pervasive with or without the mascot.

Here’s a little test: write down everything, positive and negative, that comes to mind when you hear “Sioux,” and again when you hear “Irish.” I’m willing to bet that both terms are loaded with connotations both positive and negative. And I also bet that what comes to mind is unaffected by mascots.


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