Mukwonago Indians: Standing Up to the Politically Correct Bullies
The Mukwonago School Board decided they would not cave in to the bullies in the State Department of Public Instruction and change the nickname of their sports team, which has been “Indians” since 1911.
Claiming that Indian team names somehow disparage Native Americans is a silly notion that only a politically correct person could accept. Remember, to be politically correct means you never ever question any claim made on behalf of a politically correct victim group, no matter how silly.
People name things to pay tribute. There is no Benedict Arnold National Airport across the river from Washington, rather it’s the Reagan National Airport.
There is no John Wilkes Booth High School in this nation, nor any Lee Harvey Oswald Parkway.
Even when an athletic team is named after some rather disreputable group (“Pirates”) the name reflects admiration of some desirable attribute the group supposedly has (being fierce fighters).
Even modest nicknames reflect pride. Being in the meat packing industry or the brewing business are pretty mundane, but both are matters of pride in (respectively) Green Bay and Milwaukee.
But the activists, and their knee-jerk supporters in liberal circles, insist that Indian nicknames are offensive.
But to Whom?It’s been known for many years that Indian nicknames are not offensive to rank and file Native Americans. In 2002, Sports Illustrated commissioned a poll that included both American Indians and whites. The results:
. . . although Native American activists are virtually united in opposition to the use of Indian nicknames and mascots, the Native American population sees the issue far differently. Asked if high school and college teams should stop using Indian nicknames, 81% of Native American respondents said no. As for pro sports, 83% of Native American respondents said teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, characters and symbols.Of course, other polls show the same thing. In 2003 and 2004, the Annenberg School ran a large national survey, piling up a massive number of respondents. 768 were American Indians, and 90% of them said that the nickname “Redskins” was not offensive. Only 9% of the Indians found the name offensive.
Redskins, supposedly, is one of (and perhaps the most) offensive of Indian nicknames. But real world American Indians don’t mind it.
Then how do we explain the Indian activists and tribal leaders who are so adamant?
Representing Whom?It’s important to understand that the “leaders” of racial and ethnic minorities do not entirely, and perhaps not even primarily, represent the groups they supposedly represent.
Quite typically, they are in the business of pandering to white liberals.
Let’s take the example of “black leaders.” Who designated Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson the premier “black leaders” in America today? White liberals. Those in the media, politics, the interest group system, the bureaucracy and foundations.
It’s true that both men are fairly effective as rabble rousers, able to get out a fair sized crowd to demand that George Zimmerman be thrown in prison for life. But neither have done anything even approaching Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March.
So why are Sharpton and Jackson “black leaders,” and Farrakhan a rather marginal figure? Quite simply, because the attitudes and rhetoric of Sharpton and Jackson are close to what white liberals believe, and the views of Farrakhan are much less congruent with those of the left-leaning elites.
The same principle applies to Indian tribal leaders. White liberals have a lot of resources they need: lucrative gambling franchises, government grants, and favorable press. Liberals in the media can pretty much be depended on to not look too closely at the finances of Indian tribes, nor critically analyze the casino monopolies, nor question the political donations of the tribes. In other words, the liberals will stay on the reservation.
American Indians, like black people, face real problems. But an honest discussion of these problems would not serve the interests of white liberal elites. How generations of government oversight and bureaucratic supervision have created dependency among Indians doesn’t fit the liberal narrative. Talking about out of wedlock births in the black community or crime (the vast majority black-on-black) doesn’t fit the standard model of blacks as victims of white racism.
So let’s just convict George Zimmerman, that will improve conditions in the black community. Let’s just abolish Indian team names. That will make Native Americans better off.
When you can’t face the truth, you have to play an elaborate game of “let’s pretend.” That is what we have here.