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Ethics of Native American Mascots Essay

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Ethics of Native American mascots is a controversial topic and should not be argued against because they are used ethically, complementary, and respectfully. The Native American Mascot controversy is a topic that has presented itself in recent years all across the country. Though there have been some issues, complaints, and moral questions brought up about the Native American mascot dilemma by a minority group of people, there is no legitimate argument to why these mascots should be banned.

Ethically, there is nothing wrong with using Native American symbols as mascots.

Native American mascots are ethical. Ethics is defined as “a system of moral principles and rules, the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture, and also a branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions” (dictionary.


Native American mascots and logos for sports leagues has been a debate dating back as far as the late 1960s (Oguntoyinbo 2011). When talking about the ethics side of the argument, calling the images and logos unethical toward Native Americans is wrong because ethics, like the definition says, portrays to respect and class toward a group or culture. The purpose of mascots is to believe in something, to have a logo that brings teams and communities together for battle in sports, and to perform well and do your best so you stand tall and proud to be a part of your team and mascot.

To be a warrior on a football field and literally have the warrior symbol, to be a brave, or the chiefs and represent honor, courage, and bravery would be astonishing. Native American mascots are complementary. The use of logos as mascots is to honor Native Americans, they are not used to offend, and they are not misguiding (King 2002). Though there are two sides to every argument, when a mascot is called degrading or any negative term other than complementary, it must have something border line if not over the top offensive on it. There is no legitimate argument for why an arrowhead on the side of a

football helmet, a logo of a Native American chief’s head on the side of a school or even a tomahawk on a basketball jersey is being reverted to as degrading, but the controversy still continues. Some names can be offensive such as Redmen, Savages, etc. But if it is the name itself that offends, it needs to be argued that way and not toward the Native American mascot as a symbol. Arguing a mascot as degrading when really it is meant the name is disrespectful in itself because a mascot is a symbol of a team, not the name; it is also the strength and core of a team.

Mascots are purposely portrayed as being ethical, complementary, and respectful, in fact “tribal names find their way onto all kinds of consumer products, such as the Jeep Cherokee and the Dodge Dakota. For the same reason, Indian images appear on U. S. currency, such as the old Indian-head nickel and the new Sacajawea dollar. The Army even names its helicopters after tribes: the Apache Longbow, the Kiowa Warrior, the Comanche, and the Blackhawk. If we were” to let the minority side of this argument change Native American mascots, then “a number of cities (e.

g. , Chicago, Miami, and Milwaukee), plus about half the states, would have to be renamed (Miller 2001). Mascots are symbols, symbols of spirit, and symbols of strength. Native American mascots are respectful. The minority of people who argue this issue want these mascots to change because they believe that Native American mascots are disrespectful to Native Americans, they are portrayed disrespectfully, and everything about the mascot is portrayed disrespectful.

Some even say that teams with Native American mascots do what’s called a tomahawk chop that supposedly represent Indian culture and meant for honoring them but that’s not true (Pewewardy 2000). Doing a tomahawk chop is in no way disrespectful, in fact, a tomahawk chop is used to pump up the crowd, it’s used to respect the heritage of the Native American, and it’s used to continue tradition. Being a part of a Native American mascot team, chances are the intent is to want to represent that logo and be the upmost respectful possible toward the heritage that the symbol represents.

It is amazing how some can say that Native American mascots are disrespectful. A huge reason that Florida State University got to keep their symbol and logo the Seminoles is because the chief of the Seminole tribe in Florida strongly supports what Florida State does with the symbol and how it is respected. Disrespect is when a team of any name burns a mascot logo before a game, disrespect is when a sports game is not played by the rules, disrespect is when refusal to shake and opponents hand after a lost battle, not a logo that represents pride and respect for a team, school, and community.

Ethics of Native American mascots is a controversial topic and should not be argued against because again they are not being used unethically, they are not degrading, and they are not being used disrespectfully. Schools shouldn’t have to change their mascot because a few minority people give speeches, write letters to the NCAA, or even protest about it. It should come down to what the tribes themselves want; they are the ones with their image portrayed out there as mascots.

That would be the ethical and right way to go about this controversy. Ethics can play a big role when it comes to the Native American mascot issue. No matter which side is chosen to debate, ethics should always be considered one of, if not, the top motivation. Works Cited “Definition of ethics. ” Ethics definition. Dictionary. com. Web. 15 November 2011 King, Richard. “Defensive dialogues: Native American mascots, anit-Indianism, and educationalinstitutions.

” Academic Search Premier. Simile, February 2002. Web. 27 November 2011. Miller, John. “What’s in a (Team) Name? ” Academic Search Premier. National Review, 16 April 2001. Web. 15 November 2011. Oguntoyinbo, Lekan. “The Name Game. ” Academic Search Premier. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 28 April 2011. Web. 15 November 2011.. Pewewardy, Cornel. “Why Educators Should Not Ignore Indian Mascots. ” Academic Search Premier. Multicultural Perspectives, 2000. Web. 27 November 2011.

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