Should Renton High change its mascot?

Rahjia Evans-Crockett, Staff Writer

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Many sophomores at Renton High are doing a unit in their Language Arts classes that involve deciding if Renton should keep its mascot “The Indians” or change the mascot to something less offensive. The name “Indian” is often times mistaken for people of Native American descent, which is why many people think it is offensive. Along with the name, the way Native Americans are represented in many different situations can be seen as offensive because of the stereotypes that take place.

Many non-native Americans aren’t educated on the different kinds of Native American Tribes there are, which is why it is easy for them to fall for believing stereotypes. If non-native Americans were able to educate themselves, their representation of Native American people wouldn’t be offensive at all.

Wearing feather decorated head wear, little to no clothing, and painting stripes on faces and arms, doesn’t represent the Native American race. Native American people are more than just the stereotypes built around them, and for those claiming mascots in relation to Native Americans should promote and teach others about Native American people and why they are significant.

Finding alternatives to come together with the Native American tribe our school represents and figuring out a way to make our mascot less offensive is one of the steps Renton High needs to make in order to better our understanding of Native American people and to help erase the stereotypes.

Replacing our mascot so that it is not a human, but an animal or symbol that is recognized in the Native American tribe will also help erase the stereotypes.

Our mascot is to be seen as aggressive, brave and many other words associated with being the best, but when you use people as mascots instead of animals or symbols, and you represent them by calling them “aggressive” or “fighters” then people tend to get the wrong idea.

Problems like these often times lead to discrimination against that group of people or person, which is why it is a safer alternative to refrain from using people as mascots, especially Native Americans because of how much their image is used and misunderstood.

If Renton High changes their mascot to something that better resembles the Native American tribe, people will better understand the tribe and their culture and a reduction of discrimination and stereotypes.