Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy Over American Indian Mascots

Dancing at Halftime Sports and the Controversy Over American Indian Mascots Sports fans love to don paint and feathers to cheer on the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians the Atlanta Braves the Florida State Seminoles and the Warriors and Chiefs of their hometown

  • Title: Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy Over American Indian Mascots
  • Author: Carol Spindel
  • ISBN: 9780814781272
  • Page: 308
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sports fans love to don paint and feathers to cheer on the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves, the Florida State Seminoles, and the Warriors and Chiefs of their hometown high schools But outside the stadiums, American Indians aren t cheering they re yelling racism.School boards and colleges are bombarded with emotional demands from both sidSports fans love to don paint and feathers to cheer on the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves, the Florida State Seminoles, and the Warriors and Chiefs of their hometown high schools But outside the stadiums, American Indians aren t cheering they re yelling racism.School boards and colleges are bombarded with emotional demands from both sides, while professional teams find themselves in court defending the right to trademark their Indian names and logos In the face of opposition by a national anti mascot movement, why are fans so determined to retain the fictional chiefs who plant flaming spears and dance on the fifty yard line To answer this question, Dancing at Halftime takes the reader on a journey through the American imagination where our thinking about American Indians has been, and is still being, shaped Dancing at Halftime is the story of Carol Spindel s determination to understand why her adopted town is so passionately attached to Chief Illiniwek, the American Indian mascot of the University of Illinois She rummages through our national attic, holding dusty souvenirs from world s fairs and wild west shows, Edward Curtis photographs, Boy Scout handbooks, and faded football programs up to the light Outside stadiums, while American Indian Movement protestors burn effigies, she listens to both activists and the fans who resent their attacks Inside hearing rooms and high schools, she poses questions to linguists, lawyers, and university alumni.A work of both persuasion and compassion, Dancing at Halftime reminds us that in America, where Pontiac is a car and Tecumseh a summer camp, Indians are often our symbolic servants, functioning as mascots and metaphors that express our longings to become native Americans, and to feel at home in our own land.

    One thought on “Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy Over American Indian Mascots”

    1. This book recently came to mind as I was thinking about the ongoing controversy regarding the disgraceful adherence to the racist name/logo of the Washington Redskins by its unrepentant owner and rabid fanbase. While the Cleveland Indians may still have Chief Wahoo, and he's even worse, that's Cleveland and I don't have very high expectations for the state of Ohio, anyway. I do, however, expect more from my nation's capital.Signs of progress appeared earlier this summer when the U.S. Patent Offi [...]

    2. It has often been noted that the problem with stereotypes is not that they are wrong, but that they are incomplete: while that is true, in the case of Native American sports teams names and mascots the stereotypes become caricatures that demean and insult. I am often surprised (although I shouldn't be) at how pervasive the derogation of indigenous peoples is, and how immune to that derogation many people are (as I was reading this book – in November 2009 – my favoured UK newspaper, the liber [...]

    3. If anyone has any question of why mascots are so offensive, I couldn't recommend this book highly enough. It does a great job of explaining the arguments for and against. Just wonderful.

    4. This book gave a fairly good overview of the mascot controversy (the main focus the re-incarnation of the 1990s). I suppose I was expecting more of an academic historical book, and while there was history there was a lot of first person point of view. Still good, not what I was expecting. The main reason it got 3 stars rather than 4 was that it overwhelmingly focused on Chief Illiniwek of the University of Illinois. Expected, given that he was the impetus behind Ms. Spindel writing the book, a b [...]

    5. Interesting look at the controversy surrounding sports mascots and their negative portrayal of various cultures, particularly the Native American Indians.

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