Friday, December 17, 2010
We’re Not Racist, Just Brutally Insensitive
So they’re still going after those Indian mascots. This time, “they” are the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission, a group of stuffed shirts in Augusta who apparently have nothing better to do than try to expose and eliminate tacit and subconscious racism.
As usual, my highly advanced brain has dreamed up a perfect compromise to satisfy everyone. But first, some background:
Those who object to nicknames like “Indians,” “Warriors,” and “Redskins” say they are offensive, unnecessary references to racial stereotypes.
They seriously need to get over it. So what if genocide wiped out 99% of your ancestors, and the dominant culture sees your once-proud heritage as a blur of drumming circles and slot machines? You don’t have to be so sensitive. You should be happy that white people want to “honor” your disappearing heritage by naming a high school team after a slang term for your scalped great-grandfather.
Those who want to keep the nicknames understand that any sort of change - even changes to arbitrary pretend nicknames that no one will remember or care about in 20 years - is a threat to the very fabric of our society.
The Lincoln County News quoted Wiscasset resident Ginny Cooper’s objection to getting rid of the “Redskin” moniker at her local high school:: “[We need] to have sense of humor about these things," she said. "Blacks are now negroes, Japs aren't yellow anymore, and I'm sick of it."
Bingo! You see, it’s not that we’re racist; we just don’t care how non-white people feel about our funny names for them.
Look, we don’t need to put honest, hardworking, community-minded Mainers through the agony of having to abandon allegiance to one cartoon character in favor of another. The only torture I can imagine that would be worse than that is... hm, I don’t know... maybe watching your entire village get slaughtered and burned by invaders from another continent.
A couple of years ago, Old Town High School switched from the “Indians” to the “Coyotes.” I’ve been to Old Town a couple of times since then, and nothing is the same. For one thing, they moved the City Hall down to Main Street, and the Old Town Canoe outlet store is way the hell out on Route 43. It’s as if a pestilence of depression has settled over the whole area.
And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous names that replace the discarded Indian names. Can anyone from Scarborough please tell me: what the hell is a “Red Storm?” There is no such thing. How does one dress up as a “Red Storm?”
Anyway, these pinko, politically-correct types are not going away, so let’s implement this brilliant compromise: Terms like “Indians” and “Warriors” do not have to refer to Native Americans. Why not keep the nicknames, and just change the logo?
Teams named “Warriors” should change their colors to green and black camouflage to honor veterans and soldiers. Their mascots should become uniformed Marines. Don’t for a second think this would somehow cheapen or dishonor the sacrifices of our troops, not if you’re unwilling to think the same thing of Native Americans.
Schools with “Indian” nicknames should change their mascots to yogis or telemarketers. You know, people who don’t mind being called “Indians” because they’re actually from India.
If you cling to the “Redskin” name, you might as well abandon all pretense and rename your teams “The Lynchmob.”
There. Problem solved. In the words of comedian John Hodgman, “you’re welcome.”