Symbols And Symbols Of Mascots Essay

3794 Words Apr 30th, 2015 16 Pages
When we think of how to represent groups of people we tend to classify them by creating a name or symbol. According to D. Stanley Eitzen, “a symbol is anything (word, gesture, or object) that carries a particular meaning for the members of a group” (Eitzen pg 44). The functions of symbols are to bring individuals together into one group and to separate groups from one another. Schools use symbols in athletics as representation, these are better known as mascots. These chosen symbols are more than just words, gestures, or objects, rather they convey “the characteristics and attributes that define the institution” (Eitzen pg 45). A school’s mascot holds such valuable meaning for everyone including the students, staff, and local community; it signifies a united front. The symbols chosen tend to display ferocity or aggression in order to have a strong presence against other opponents. Mascots are typically seen as a positive and prideful representation of the school. Yet, one choice of mascot that is not seen in a positive light is the Native American. The use of the Native American has had the opposite effect that mascots are supposed to do. Rather than bring people together, it has separated people due to its ability to discriminate, degrade, and trivialize Native Americans. Before we dive into the stereotypes cast upon Native Americans, we must define and understand the significance of what stereotyping is. According to Merskin, “‘stereotyping puts people in…

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