I LOVE FOOTBALL. Pro and College–but not just any football team. I love my Seattle Seahawks and University of Washington Huskies. Never mind that both teams have been gutted and are now rebuilding with new coaches and last year’s astounding talent–except for the Huskies, who’re seriously fucked for a few seasons thanks to defections.
But I’m also an educated person on the current and past racism still very pervasive in our country.
What’s that have to do with football?
1. Colin Kaepernick. He was blackballed out of the NFL for peacefully protesting the racist National Anthem by taking a knee. He protested the ongoing racism and brutality by cops against African-Americans in this country by protesting a song penned by it’s slave-owning songwriter, Francis Scott Key. Wikipedia states that he freed several during his lifetime and always treated them humanely. How magnanimous of him. The utterly horrifying reaction by football fans and racist politicians was a perfect example of ongoing racism. The sentiment was, “How dare he step out of his place.” The still-pervasive epithet “Shut up and play” was the vocal response. Trump weighed in by saying he should be fired. And he was–at the end of the season, where I’m almost certain his contract was up. No other team would take him as a quarterback. It was sickening.
2. The San Francisco “49ers”. They need to change their mascot name. When “49ers” was coined in the late 19th century, it wasn’t a nod to the Gold Rush or to the men who wanted to make a living panning for it. People couldn’t make a living panning for gold. It was too rare. What earned them money was the scalps they took from native California tribes people. The governor of California was responsible, issuing bounty money to anyone who’d help “cull” the state from “barbarians.” They called themselves “49ers.” The Spanish were already committing genocide and the white Americans moving west were All-In on this atrocity.
3. The Kansas City Chiefs. They too need to change their mascot name and iconic chief’s headdress. And with it, that fucking “indian warrior” chant mindlessly (or not) shouted during games. With it, change the logo from an arrowhead and change the name of their stadium with it. Native Peoples are NOT mascots. They’re the survivors of a massive campaign of genocide & ethnic cleansings (moving them off their land to live in squalor on reservations).
4. The Florida Seminoles. Same charges as with Kansas City.
There are many other sports teams, from football to hockey, minor league and professional, who have Native American names and symbolism used as warrior chants and emblems while the closest “indian” reservation has people living in poverty. They are the sons and daughters of murdered families. The survivors of a people who were forcibly “whitened” to suit the racist pieces of shit who called them barbarians.
Native religious and spiritual beliefs and languages were actually outlawed in the 1930s.
And what has the American government done in reparations for such barbaric treatment?
They allowed the natives build casinos on their reservations.
They allowed the natives sell tobacco on their reservations. Side Note: Tobacco is a spiritual substance in some native cultures who cultivated the plant—and introduced it to the white people who invaded their lands.
Everywhere you look, we have waterways and mountains and states, cities, and towns named after the white-washed names of Native peoples. Not to honor them. To show “ownership.”
And they’re still treated as second-class citizens, forcing sovereignty on their isolated reservations so the US government can ignore them and let them starve–meanwhile they have to petition the government for shit like casinos and tobacco. It ain’t sovereign if you have an overlord.
Oh, and natives are still being hunted for their scalps.
The small part of me that is Comanche cries for the outrage, the racism, and I will NEVER forgive until full reparation is made.
And we still consider Native peoples barbarians thanks to the ongoing use of the phrase, “Off the Reservation.” There’s nothing oblique about the use of that epithet. Everyone knows what the fuck it means.