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Native American Stereotypes

This is an essay on Native American Stereotypes. Stereotypes are generalizations, or assumptions that people make about the characteristics of members of a group who are not like them. Stereotypes may be positive or negative, such as when certain nationals are stereotyped as friendly or unfriendly. It can go around in circles-men stereotype women and women stereotype men. It is easier to stereotype where there is a clear visible and consistent attribute like people of color, police and women. People stereotyped feel disturbed as they feel treated unfairly. The Native Americans are the American Indians and there are many stereotypes of Native Americans presently in images, movies, videogames, and songs etcetera. The essay will indentify one type of this stereotyping and analyze it in detail.

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Native American Stereotype

Native Americans were portrayed as brave warriors and used extensively as images and mascots in sports and advertising. In sports, they often appeared in school sports teams' names like Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Baves, the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, the Cleveland Indians baseball team and the Washington Redskins football team. For example the Atlanta Braves fans use the "tomahawk chop" and a chant while the Cleveland Indians fans use the mascot Chief Wahoo and the University of Illinois used the mascot of Chief Illiniwek. All these were used to intimidate their competitors.

In advertising, Chief Crazy Horse appears on cans of liquor, a "redman" lends his heritage to packs of tobacco, as a Native American princess sells cartons of butter. Similarly, in the department of Agriculture, they use the image of a Native American on its posters. All these demonstrated racial stereotyping, intimidation and discrimination which left the minority feeling out of place and mistreated hence denied their rightful position in the society and their civil rights violated as the society would not tolerate equivalent symbols of other minorities. Notably is that, a large number of Native Americans and tribal chiefs would not concur with the idea that the use of Native American images and names (Chiefs, Warriors, Indians, Blackhawks and Braves) in sports and advertising was intimidating and racial stereotyped. Other terms like Brownman chewing tobacco and Martin Luther King .Jnr malt liquor used in advertising were clearly irritating and instigated racial discrimination.

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Relevant literature and research have shown that stereotype threat undermines the performance of members of a certain group and even disrupts performance of an individual who indentifies with that group. However, it was also noted that stereotype threat is more vulnerable to some compared to others in the same group and that continued exposure to stereotype threat can reduce the effect of the threat in some individuals. But in most cases, stereotyped teams ended up losing in competitions courtesy of this threat although it helped some win while facing an equally stereotyped team.

In contrast, the Native Americans would not agree to have the minority names used to be replaced with equivalents referring to other minorities which confirmed their racialism in this context. Though even those who were against stereotyping opted just to remain silent about it, there has been considerable efforts undertaken to curb this vice as a result of continued complaints and critics by the minorities.

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Considering that USA is one of the countries that adhere to civil rights and justice to the minorities and other groups, some action to eliminate this racial discrimination was a must. Many school team names have been revised to reflect sense and churn racial discrimination in the world of sport. Other Native American team mascots like Chief Illiniwek and Atlanta Braves have been discontinued in the spirit of observing civil rights for all in North America. This has significantly created a fair competition ground as well as restoring the civil rights of the minority.

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