An Ohio high school in the Cincinnati area will retain its controversial mascot after a long and heated dispute.
Anderson High School’s mascot has been the Redskins for more than 80 years, according to The Associated Press. However, over time, complaints have rolled in arguing that the name is offensive and racist.
The term is an outdated, insensitive reference to Native Americans, and the mascot, itself, opens the floodgates for fans to mock and appropriate Native culture with costumes and paraphernalia.
Alas, those who advocated for keeping the name maintained that it’s a part of the school's tradition, and they insisted that having to re-brand all the school’s sports teams would be an expensive feat, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A committee that had the final say on the debate sided with the latter group on Tuesday and decided Anderson High will keep its mascot. Apparently, money and so-called tradition are more important than the respect and dignity of an entire marginalized ethnic group.
Alas, this debate has come to the forefront time and again in professional sports as the NFL’s Washington Redskins have also been urged to change their mascot along with the MLB’s Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo logo — which they finally decided to ditch earlier this year.
Additionally, one of the Kansas City Chief’s mascots, “Warpaint” — which was initially retired in 1989 and brought back in 2009 — is a horse that was previously ridden by a man wearing a full Native American chief headdress but is now ridden by a former Chiefs cheerleader.
While having an ex-cheerleader ride in on the horse during games is less offensive, the horse’s name and the sentiment behind the team ritual still alludes to Native American culture. It should be noted, though, that the team’s official mascot is “K.C. Wolf.” Still, "Warpaint" is a part of every home game.
If nothing else, the outcome of this battle at Anderson High School proves how deeply rooted racism is in this country. The idea that people can overlook how hurtful these customs are to Native Americans without a second thought speaks volumes about how far we actually haven't come in this country.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Keith Allison