Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Injuns

Today I received what will probably be my last issue of California Educator magazine, the mouthpiece rag of the California Teachers Associaton. This December 2005 issue deals with Native Americans.

There's nothing wrong with devoting an issue to Native Americans. There is something wrong with the paternalistic tone of the issue; here we go again with another oppressed group that needs protection from the evil white man.

There was much stupidity in this issue, including the usual crapola about school mascots. Note to lefties: not everyone wants to be represented by the Banana Slug (UC Santa Cruz). Stop getting your panties in a bunch about perceived slights that really don't exist. Have you seen the San Francisco 49ers 'mascot' at a game? Are you complaining that he looks like a fat, red-haired guy with a too-big mustache--and that's demeaning to red-haired guys with too-big mustaches? Nope, you're not. And if you are, you have other issues. Fighting Irish, anyone?

People choose mascots based on something they respect and/or like. Teams and schools call themselves the Eagles, the Bears, the Lions, the Mustangs, the Dragons, the Warriors--things that inspire respect and motivate their fans. I'll never understand how people take offense at that. Here's what California Educator says:

Imagine you are at a high school football game. The mascot, a Catholic priest, runs out onto the field to great applause. When he sprinles holy water on the field, spectators in the bleachers chant and make the sign of the cross.

Sound offensive? Of course it does. But to many Native Americans, having an Indian mascot for a school is equally insensitive.

Actually, it doesn't sound offensive. It sounds lame--and that is why no school calls itself The Fighting Priests. The article also identifies offensive-to-Native-American mascots here in California: Apaches, Redskins, Chiefs, Braves, Indians, and Warriors. I didn't know that only American Indians could be Warriors. Don't tell that to Colonel Seger back at West Point--"The man loves the word warrior more than he loves his own soul." Does San Diego still have the Padres?

Darn it! I swore I wasn't going to go off on the mascot tangent.

I gave up reading the articles. It's the usual paternalistic prattle that characterizes lefty publications. But some points did catch my eye. In a page 12 article which blames the No Child Left Behind Act for the cancellation of a Native American history course at Bishop High School, we get this sentence/paragraph: "The course began with looking at archaeological evidence from the years prior to the colonial period and worked through the conquest period, the formation of the United States, westward expansion and the effect on different groups of people throughout the country." On page 16, in Tips For Teaching Native Americans, we get this tidbit, amongst others: "Teach Native American history as a regular part of American history and avoid using loaded terms like 'massacre' and 'conquest', which may distort the facts or present a one-sided view." Gotta love consistency.

Should we teach Native American history with the same show-all-warts fanaticism with which lefties want to teach American history? Would we identify every human foible, would we blow out of proportion every act or utterance that doesn't comport to today's politically correct dogma? Or are Native Americans, as an "oppressed people", exempt from such scrutiny?

Based on all the page 16 "tips", I'm pretty sure I know the answer. Again, paternalistic. We're not to call them the "noble savages" but we sure treat them as if they are.

4 comments:

Lillian said...

Darren,
You are so right about the whole paternalistic tone. I noticed it, too. I wonder would the Lefties want to change the names of a few of our 50 States, i.e., Illinois, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, etc. After all, they're native names, too!

Kalroy said...

Chaco Canyon Cannibals...

Kalroy

Anonymous said...

Some school should totally take 'small-pox infected blankets' as their mascot.

Dan

Darren said...

Ok, mascots are chosen to reflect something you respect *or* something that would supposedly inspire fear in your opposition. Cannibals? I see all sorts of race-based arguments against that one, unless of course the mascots look strikingly similar to the Donner Party or perhaps the Chilean soccer team.

It was Chile, right? Or Argentina? Well, it was somewhere down there. I didn't even see the movie.

And Dan? One step too far, as usual!