Lawprof claims that Indian-themed mascots are illegal

Paul Finkelman paul-finkelman at UTULSA.EDU
Mon May 21 20:42:10 PDT 2001

I am in Japan right now, where these debates do seem distant.  But I want to
add one thought to Bryan's argument.  Booker T. Washington did urge
accommodation with segregation, but only as a short term tactic.  We now know
he secretly funded opponents of segregation, including his own critics, in
order to support the struggle against segregation.  He was not happy with
segregation, but understood (correctly I think) that under the circumstances
blacks had to make the best bargain the could while fighting the system.  He
did both; the first openly, the second less openly.

Paul Finkelman
University of Tulsa College of Law visting at Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan

Quoting Bryan Wildenthal <bryanw at TJSL.EDU>:

> Responding to both Michael Masinter's and Eugene Volokh's worthy points
> about exactly which or how many Indians are actually offended by which
> mascot names:
> I confess I don't know for certain, and I concede that one can find some
> Indians who approve of, or at least are indifferent to, some
> Indian-themed
> mascots (as I noted before, some of these mascots are much more
> offensive
> than others).  One can find gays and lesbians who are opposed to
> gay-rights
> legislation.  Booker T. Washington urged accommodation with segregation.
> But I am quite confident that not merely the "activists," but the vast
> majority of community leaders among Native Americans, share the general
> concerns that have been noted about mascot names.  The fact that I tend
> to
> encounter and deal with Indians who are lawyers or some other type of
> educated professional may doubtless skew my "sample" and my impressions.
> By the way, on "American Indian" vs. "Native American," Eugene is quite
> right that many Indians actually prefer the former (and this is true in
> the
> "elite" as well as the "rank and file").  I think the notion that
> "Indian"
> was offensive to Indians was always something of a myth.  As far as I
> know,
> it has always been viewed as at least an acceptable term among most
> American
> Indians, and currently is undergoing something of a revival in
> popularity,
> on the theory that it specifies more clearly the indigenous peoples of
> the
> lower 48 states of the US as opposed to other indigenous groups such as
> Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, Native Canadians, etc.  "Native
> American"
> is considered perfectly acceptable also as far as I know, though perhaps
> has
> a bit of a PC tinge, and is actually more commonly used by
> well-intentioned
> non-Indians than by Indians themselves.  Both terms are, of course,
> inaccurate in a literal sense.
> Bryan Wildenthal, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

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