Feb 26, 2014 - NFL Hypocrisy: $$$ Talks, By Danielle Miller
On Fox News, Megyn Kelly and Lauren Ashburn had the nerve to trivialize Native Americans who speak out against racist sports teams by saying that “Native communities have bigger issues to worry about.” That remark is a strategy often used to derail from acts of progress.
My rebuttal to every individual who uses this defense is “What are YOU doing to address these bigger issues?” and “Name several organizations who are working towards addressing bigger issues”.
If that individual doesn’t even have the ability to name positive organizations that are making progress for Native Americans then they have no right to tell us about our “bigger issues”. While Kelly and Ashburn and other white saviors have been on their high horses they have fail to see there are many Native movements and organizations addressing bigger issues. “Heating the Rez” is just one recent campaign that is still receiving funds. Within a matter of 20 days it raised ($55,555).
The same individuals who use our bigger causes to derail have no idea about great causes and are usually too selfish to even contribute to those causes when informed. If we do have so many bigger issues and the mainstream cares to “honor us” then why aren’t they making any effort to get educated about our causes and help promote progress? It seems Native American struggles are only significant to many as a justification for promoting racial slurs and other negative agendas.
People are still going to trivialize our causes, and use their historical amnesia as an excuse to tell us it’s not their problem and we should worry about our issues on our own. Let’s go ahead with that logic, and rather than focusing on us, let’s also address the “bigger issues” that the NFL is dealing with. Some of the issues vary from lawsuits involving concussions, violence and rape. The NFL is no stranger to exploitation, the documentary Pink Ribbon Inc. shows how the NFL kept majority of profits which were supposed to go to breast cancer research.
According to (Business Insider, 2013) only 8% of money spent on NFL pink merchandise went towards breast cancer research. When I watched Pink Ribbon Inc. I couldn’t help but sympathize with all the breast cancer survivors who felt their struggles were being used by NFL for profit. Native American identity continues to be mocked and used for the NFL to gain profit. My previous article spoke of how Sitting Bull and the Ghost Dancers were called redsk**s. Even my own ancestors the Dakota 38 were called redskins before they were executed.
It’s been made clear the slur is an honor. Native mascots as a whole are not an honor. They perpetuate violence by opposing teams and give fans an excuse to make a mockery of native cultures when they commit cultural appropriation and wear red face.
The NFL has shown great hypocrisy with what it chooses to prioritize. The NFL brought a lawsuit on MIA for holding up her middle finger during her performance, yet the whole Janet Jackson nudity publicity stunt seemed to result with no tangible repercussions. It becomes obvious from these occurrences that the NFL bases it priorities on the best interest of profit rather than for the general public. This could be why they feel no remorse for how slurs are affecting Native American communities.
The most recent act of hypocrisy is how NFL will likely adopt a rule penalizing players and others for using racial and gender-related slurs. How is it that the NFL is penalizing for other slurs such as the N-word but they are ignoring the use of the Rword? My previous articles made it clear that this word has been used as a slur historically, it is even presently defined as a slur. If they continue to create such rules in defense of other groups but ignore the marginalization of Natives that will be the ultimate proof of natives being treated as less than human.
The NFL treats Natives as less than human with the way they ignore our voices and existence. #NotYourMascot trended on Sunday during the Super Bowl. #NotYourMascot was tweeted over 18,000 times. Many made the effort to tweet to @nflcommish and other @NFL twitter handles to prove the point that the name needs to be changed. Hundreds of Native Americans participated and yet the NFL still continues to quote flawed surveys to support their racist name.
To anyone still believing that this country has the intentions to honor us with all these caricatures and stereotypes, let’s look at the state of relations that the US has with Native Americans. Ethical oil created an #IndianIgnorant hashtag on twitter to mock the Idle No More movement and all the native activist which fight against oil and fracking. L. Brooks Patterson said in an interview “Turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and the corn.” Meanwhile others joked and laughed on FOX news about the remark. We have clothing companies all over degrading our culture with their appropriation of the head dress and pushing of savage stereotypes. Nike recently has been criticized for its racist “FEAR THE SPEAR” campaign.
Just as I noted in previous articles, with dehumanization larger acts of racism and ultimately violence will escalate. How long will this country continue to perpetuate racism against natives? How long will Natives put up with it? It seems if this blatant racism continues tribal sovereignty will be essential for true survival or our nations. There are only so many different facts and articles we can reference and rephrase. It’s clear that this is not a debate of “whether these sports teams are actually racist” as the mainstream keeps questioning. This is an issue of Natives asserting how we want to be represented and the United States mainstream ignoring our voices.