Mascot issue is revisited
In light of Larry Parsons’ recent blog post once again attempting to justify the use of Roseburg High School’s mascot, I feel it is time to reexamine what lessons we are imparting to Douglas County’s youth in this “teachable moment.” By pressing for the continued use of “Indians” without addressing the appropriation of a people group’s identity for a mascot, we are only furthering the trivialization of Native American heritage.
Reducing all Native American populations to an all-encompassing “Indian” mascot misrepresents the diversity of Native Americans and perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Although many (including Parsons himself) would argue that the current feather symbol is acceptable because it does not explicitly depict a Native American person, the name and the message remain the same. Perhaps this teachable moment could be used to educate ourselves and our youth about the history of colonization, stereotyping, and the vast array of issues Native American communities face today. Instead, the teachable moment Parsons puts forth does nothing more than maintain the current misguided status quo that lacks a critical analysis.
In order to encourage critical thinking and prepare students for work helping resolve the challenges Douglas County and Oregon face, we must set an example as responsible adults and informed citizens by saying “No” to dehumanizing mascots. As a graduate of Roseburg High School and lifelong resident of Roseburg, I am eager to see the community support an equitable, inclusive, and racially sensitive initiative to change Roseburg High School’s mascot.