[UPDATE: I now have confirmation from multiple sources that these obnoxious t-shirts exist. So you can ignore the tentativeness at the start of this post.] The title is in the form of a question, because I’d need to see more verification of this article. (Bad word trigger warning.) I’m not questioning the reporter’s work. I’m just uncomfortable re-posting, as settled fact, stuff from the Internet. (Not that it matters, but I always thought that symbol meant “up yours” as opposed to what is cited in the article.)
If true, it’s certainly an extra (repulsive) wrinkle in the story that ran yesterday. And what sort of “parent” would, in a parental capacity, introduce that kind of posturing into his or her kid’s school environment?
An oft-repeated canard in these debates: “Native Americans don’t care about this issue. Only PC white kids do. There’s a guy at work who’s 1/16 Lakota Sioux, and he’s fine with teams like the Redskins. He said so in our break area.”
That really won’t cut it. The NCAI, probably the largest and oldest organization of First Nations people, has waged a 50-year battle against these mascots. A tour of their site will introduce you to many publications and posts such as this one.
Another claim — you can see it in the comments on the Courant article — is that the whole argument is superficial. You can hear Native American activist Rochelle Ripley rebut this in a November 2015 interview with me here (the comment starts around 33:25).
It’s also not superficial because, if you can be flip, crude and reductive about Native Americans, you can transition pretty easily to Mexicans, Muslims, refugees. You have abandoned the position that all human beings deserve some kind of minimal respect. Even sadder, you sold that profound ideal for the sake of high school sports, the proverbial mess of pottage.
But please don’t take refuge in the idea that this doesn’t offend anyone. It does. If you don’t care, if you want to buy offensive, denigrating t-shirts because that’s the only way you can fully express your school spirit, at least own that.