The recent Oregon ban on high school sports team mascots, such as the “Braves” and “Chiefs,” is causing a lot of uproar. While Native American activists are calling the teams’ names racist, opponents are demanding we retain them. But their argument doesn’t seem to hold up against scrutiny. So far the argument to keep these team names boils down to, “they’ve always been the braves/chiefs/warriors and they should stay that way.” That it’s not racist, and Native Americans should see it as a source of pride. Well, they don’t. And that should really be the end of it. Sometimes your girlfriend thinks that little black dress is just a little too demeaning; no matter how much you like seeing her in it – you can’t always get what you want.
I once knew a boy from Philomath who thought that racism was no longer a problem, and hadn’t been since the 1950’s. Catching my drift? It’s not that it isn’t a problem, it’s just we don’t see it. We don’t experience blatant racism on a day to day basis. We need to remember that Oregon, for the most part, is a pretty Caucasian state, Corvallis is a perfect example of just how lily white this area is. And this can breed a very sheltered view of racism in America. We need to remember that sometimes there are things more important than our own nostalgia, or politics, or how much it’ll cost to change the damn sign. Just because it effect you doesn’t mean it’s not important.
By Magdalen O’Reilly