I feel the need to respond to all the hype about Mascot team names, especially after reading Heather E. Lares' letter "Mascot names demeaning, ignorant" (Nov. 30).
First, and perhaps most importantly, are the poor cross-comparisons given when stating fictitious team names. The problem here is that names like "The Wild Rednecks," and even worse, "The Houston Honkies," are specifically thought up so we'll feel racially attacked so your supposed "point" will hit home. This is skewing the issue. You can't tell me teams like "The Indians" and "The Braves" create their mascots intending to insult American Indians. These teams are simply looking for catchy names. To be equal, then, we must compare current team names not with "The Rednecks" or "The Honkies", but rather with "The Southerners" or "The Whites." Now the names are, although stupid, noticeably less derogatory, and a comparison of names is valid.
Second, even the above stated point has another relevant issue along with it. It is really difficult to compare a name like "The Caucasians" or "The Jews" (as stated by the original American Indian speaker on the topic) to "The Indians," specifically because current team names aren't really about race Ÿ "The Indians" is associated with a little man with a big smile as a team logo, and I doubt that the rest of America, unless they have a desire to start a big controversy over nothing, thinks of it as anything more. This is simply not case with "The Jews" and such. Call it "a need to increase awareness," which is such a popular phrase today in the world of "P.C. thought," or even go so far as to say that I'm a product of, oh, what was it, "my white-bread education and cultural awareness," in the words of Ms. Lares, but what it really comes down to is this. People can choose to be insulted by even the simplest, most trivial issues and statements. However, what is, in the end, the most important is what exactly a person means when he/she said that statement, or what that issue is primarily concerned with, and not how another person decides to take it to build and argument. I don't feel team names are designed to be racial. If people decide to take them as such, so be it. As is demonstrated so often today, you'll never please everybody.
Lastly, to go along with this current trend of creating a controversy over nothing, let's at least be consistent, shall we? In taking up the crusade against racism in team names, Ms. Lares should also vehemently oppose "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers" for its stereotypical depiction of the sailors of the Spanish galleons (many Spanish-Americans in this country), as well as "The Minnesota Vikings" for its blatant racism against Americans of Norse heritage. Wait! Why stop there? "The Dallas Cowboys" (Texans might get pissed), "The 49ers" (respect gold-rushers from 1849) and, as a Christian, "The Saints" (don't mock Catholic tradition from Louisiana). The list goes on and on.
The scariest thing is the fact that new teams, to avoid the controversy of the modern day, are forced to pick ridiculous team names such as "The Raptors", as well as typical, uncreative, (but safe!) names such as "The Jaguars." Of course, I fear the day that animal rights activists attack these, as well as every other team name having to do with animals, and the NFL and other sports organizations all shut down due to individual teams' inability to select a suitable name for their teams. I guess that until then, "ignorance is bliss," just as Ms. Lares told us.
Chemical Engineering Sophomore
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