Seven-year-old Little Brother came home recently wearing a spiffy new Cleveland Indians baseball cap with a bright red Chief Wahoo embroidered on it. A gift.
He was so happy to have this special gift from special friends.
But Chief Wahoo? Seriously? Still?
I did not want to criticize the friends who gave it to him — nice, well-meaning folks who know nothing about the controversy surrounding the use of Native American caricatures as mascots.
Caught between the conflicting desires to honor this friendship and not perpetuate harmful stereotypes, I let Little Brother wear the cap around the house for a few days until the newness wore off and then let nature take its course — the cap got swallowed up and disappeared somewhere in the mess that is our house.
Then we went to the library and read about real Native Americans to gently supplant that stereotype in his young mind.
A week later, the message that Osama bin Laden had been killed came across the news, “Geronimo E-KIA” (“Enemy-Killed in Action”).
Again. Disbelief. Geronimo? Seriously? Today?
click on link for more Challenging stereotypes and defensiveness regarding the Geronimo codename and the Paper Tiger