Mascots are the pride and joy of a school. A symbol of school spirit in every way and something incorporated deeply into our teenage and even adult lives. At MacArthur, we see cardinals everywhere; on banners, bumper stickers, t-shirts and anything that can be produced and sold. When addressed by our principal as MacArthur Cardinals over the PA system, we even become the mascot in some ways. Our mascots are one the most memorable parts of our high school lives.
But where do we draw the line between mascot and minority group?
The main problem is people hear the words “minority group” and want to shy away from the topic. But it’s time. This civil discussion is long overdue and needs to be addressed deeply. Deeper than just saying you can’t name a football team a racial slur. There’s so much more going on underneath.
In recent years, the specific topic of removing “Redskins” from optional mascot names has been debated with ferocity. Many high schools have changed their mascot names since the controversy with the Washington Redskins began heating up around 2013.
The argument can be made that groups such as Vikings, Spartans,Cowboys and Pirates can be also placed in the same light as Native Americans. The problem with this argument is that these groups are not minorities who are looked down upon in modern America and therefore are not affected. They may be a minority but not one that is in danger.
Removing the offensive name is a step in the right direction. Being culturally sensitive to groups that are still discriminated against, exemplifies the fact that people are willing to change when given the right pressures and reasonings.
Truthfully, this is not something that, even as teenagers, we will probably ever see the end of. Maybe one day in the future, the name “Redskins” will no longer be accepted by anyone nor having a Native American as a mascot in the first place. Maybe all the fans, those who fought tooth and nail to grasp their “right” to call their team what they choose, will see the true effects.
In the end, it is not their name and culture that is being plastered all over the franchise of a sports team.