POV – Racist Mascotry (Chiefs, but not just them)

Katie Eckert

It is awesome that the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, but there is an undeniable shadow cast on the team by some of the themes in their fan gear and cheers. While their new branding and mascots make it easy to forget, the Chiefs, along with hundreds of other sports teams in the United States, use racially-charged branding that specifically targets Native Americans. The severity of these references ranges anywhere from using elements of Native American culture in logos to using words often described as racial slurs as team names.

Advocacy for the removal of racist mascots and names has increased in the past few decades. According to the National Congress of American Indians’ website, the NCAA implemented policies to eliminate uses of detrimental Native American mascots in 2005, and over 2000 such references were removed. However, several still remain across collegiate and professional sports.

When it comes to big teams, it is hard to have serious discussions about removing racist references, due to how long they have been representations of the teams. Teams like the Chiefs and the Chicago Blackhawks are not the worst offenders, as a certain NFL Washington team has maintained a racial slur as their team name since their founding in 1932. Still, many fans look fondly upon names and logos, which teams often hold for decades, as what will forever symbolize their favorite teams. People balk at suggestions that teams remove traditional, time-honored branding.