So you already don’t like the name Washington Redskins. The controversy over the name? Not really controversial at all. In your gut, you know it’s wrong.
Want some hard numbers to back up that gut feeling? A new study published by Chu Kim-Prieto, a psychologist with the College of New Jersey, provides them.
As this Indian Country Today story by Rob Capriccioso says, the study:
…. suggests stereotyping of American Indians is a psychological process that actually encourages a broader attitude that affects all minority communities, not just the ones being actively stereotyped.
“In other words, my stereotype is your stereotype, too,” Jenn Fang, an Asian American advocate, summarized in a recent blog post regarding the study.
Kim-Prieto said she began the research when she was a graduate student at the University of Illinois, which until 2007 featured the infamous Chief Illiniwek mascot. Like the Washington Redskins, many Native Americans decried the Illinois mascot, saying it degraded their culture, and was a racist misrepresentation.
After looking at a picture of Chief Illiniwek, or a generic Illinois logo, students were asked to rank statements about Asian Americans.
Those who looked at the Chief Illiniwek picture were more apt to agree with stereotypes.
How does this relate – beyond in the most generic sense – to the Redskins?
Capriccioso talked about Km-Prieto’s work with Philip Mause, a lawyer for a group of Indian plaintiffs suing to get the Redskins’ trademark revoked.
“I think this should be clear to the Redskins’ owners, based on this kind of research, that they are going to be facing litigation from a variety of people for a long, long time,” says Mause, of the Drinker Biddle law firm. “Simply put, they should just change the name.”