Poll Vault: Are American Indian team names racist?
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Billionaire NFL team owner Dan Snyder has so far resisted mounting pressure to rename the Washington Redskins to something more politically correct.
On the surface, the name is cringe-inducing. But ESPN's Rick Reilly wrote a thought-provoking column this week on whether American Indians are actually offended by "Redskins."
Here in the suburbs, Naperville Central and Huntley high schools replaced "Redskins" with other mascot names (the RedHawks and Red Raiders, respectively). Antioch High School's teams are known as the Sequoits and sport a logo with Indian feathers and an arrow, but there's no tribe by that name.
Chicago's Stanley Cup champion hockey team calls itself the Blackhawks, and fans proudly wear the Indian head logo.
There is definitely a fine line between a symbol and a caricature. I think Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland Indians logo, is offensive, but I staunchly defended the use of Chief Illiniwek by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, my alma mater.
Are all American Indian team names racist? Is it possible to have a mascot that honors Indians? Which do you approve of and which do you find offensive?
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