Johanna Halbeisen: Backs statewide ban on Native American mascots

Published: 6/22/2017 6:41:01 PM
Backs statewide ban on Native American mascots

Thank you, Amalia Fourhawks, for your clear response (“Native American mascot ban needed,” June 16) to the Gazette editorial (“Keep mascot decisions in local hands,” June 15) about a state ban on Native American mascots.

I was horrified to learn that Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said it should be a local decision. I wrote to him immediately to express my dismay.

I am a retired elementary school teacher. I had a unit each year I privately called “Unlearning Native American Stereotypes.” I would start by asking if a native person walked into the classroom, how they would know the person was Native American. The stereotypes would come pouring out (wearing feathers, paint on faces, carrying bows, arrows and hatchets).

Then we read stories about native children today. Each year in the course of the unit, I would learn about children in the class who were Native American, but I understood why they didn’t identify publicly that way. They would be dealing with the racist stereotypes their classmates (and many of their teachers) had about them.

The mascots reinforce stereotypes not only for children, but also for adults. They need to be banned.

Johanna Halbeisen

Northampton




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