Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Westhem: Bring back the Indians?

I grew up playing sports in a league in which the mascots included the Arabs, the Aztecs, and the Rajahs. I myself was an Indian at Palm Springs High School and a Viking at La Jolla High School. Never was there any animosity towards the mascot from either of the groups represented by it.
            I found it interesting that Pres. Hennessy was a very strong proponent of not bringing the Indian mascot back any time soon unless the Indian/Native American students and faculty give the okay. However, I have a hunch that their approval hasn’t even been really sought out, so I doubt that it will even happen. I think it was wrong to change the mascot in the first place because it went against the tradition of the school that started in 1930. Until 1970 it wasn’t an issue. Interesting how the Native American started to have issues with it and find it offensive during the whole activism, counterculture time period sweeping across college campuses. Why not before?
            I went through many of the archives of the Stanford Daily last year and I remember reading editorial after editorial arguing to keep the Indian mascot. And I would have to say that I would have written one myself if I were around during that time. I would have voiced sympathies with the Native Americans for taking offense by it, but contended that it wasn’t meant as an insult, but merely a symbol of school pride. I think it should be taken as a compliment to the Native Americans that the Indian is the face of a major university.
            It’s a bummer for the alumni who no longer have a mascot to associate their time at Stanford with.
            But at the same time I understand that it can be construed as dehumanizing. I just grew up with it not being a big deal and so to me, it is just another mascot. Florida still remains the Seminoles, right? But I realize this will probably never be open to a vote any time soon.

No comments: