In her column, the public editor of the New York Times wrote about the cracks in integrity that have occurred in the paper. We believe SLANT is preventing them from recognizing a blatant chasm that damages their integrity and the integrity of indigenous peoples. They can right this wrong with just a little bit of editorial license and common sense. If not, protests and lawsuits will continue as will damage to an entire race.
To the Public Editor of the New York Times, Margaret Sullivan:
Mascots are a mainstay of the sporting world. They are the hypemen. They drive team spirit and keep the fans entertained. That isn’t all to the story however. Sometimes they can open old wounds and reinforce tired, one-dimensional stereotypes.
At Y Worlds, we attempt to approach everything in a manner that fosters a Nurturing environment and an Equality among people. These two components are mutual necessities. To Nurture someone else is a de facto acknowledgement of Equality.
As individuals, most of us make an attempt to prevent the suffering of those around us. We donate to charity, we hold doors, and we make every attempt to be moral actors. Morality is a tricky thing, though. Most would say that it isn’t possible to be ‘good’ and not act when given the opportunity to help another.
Almost none of this is exclusive to the issue of negative stereotypes in the world of sports mascots, and that’s because it doesn’t need to be. The issue of genuine representations of people is something that affects so many aspects of our lives. It can influence how we think and feel and what we believe without our knowledge or consent.
In advertising, for example, we see caricatures, mock-ups of real humans. This same mechanism drives negative stereotypes in sporting mascots as well as false representations in media- movies, television, and the news. They all have detrimental effects for every group of people imaginable.
If we adopt a Systemic perspective, respecting every facet of people- conscious, subconscious, and corporal- then the abolishment of these false representations naturally follows.
In the absence of knowledge, the only sources of information people receive become their baseline, their standard. Within the realm of educational institutions- grade schools and public universities especially- we cannot allow the persistence of depictions that devalue human life in what is ostensibly a mechanism specifically for Nurture. In private enterprise and personal life, however, we can exercise our agency through a lack of financial support, rather than through legislation or political force.
We ask members of the media and private citizens alike to strike the terms “Redskins” and “Indians” (and their associated mascot images) from the reporting vocabulary. We are not asking for a ban or a boycott, simply for media and communications organizations of all kinds to refuse to acknowledge the blatantly degrading language and images used by both the Cleveland baseball team and Washington’s NFL team. We urge you to make a simple editorial change that identifies the team names and their mascots by the host city name only, and when possible, by their colors rather than their mascots.
If you would not use similar words and images for other classes of people, why do you persist in using these specific words and these specific images when you have an option that is consistent with other editorial decisions about the short list of words and images that you consciously filter today. Your choice about what is “All the News That’s Fit to Print” should be made on principle alone, and your choice will begin the process of conscious reflection by other news and sports organizations regarding their own choices about adjusting coverage across all media – print, internet, television, radio.
We recognize the rights of individuals and private entities to use whatever names, symbols and speech they wish, but we also hope that everyone recognizes the unequal, derogatory, degrading and harmful nature of these teams’ names and mascots. So, to the media and to the public, to the team owners and their fans, I pose the following questions- are these symbols of inequality and degradation worth the cost to others? To ourselves?