The Super Bowl Commercial You Probably Never Saw Is Still As Powerful As Ever
This commercial has been around since 2014 -- that's the year that the group Change the Mascot (a national campaign launched by the Oneida Nation), made it, and submitted it to the National Congress of American Indians to be aired just before the Super Bowl.
The message of course is for the NFL Washington football team to change its nickname.
As Super Bowl ad time was prohibitively expensive then as it is now, and the NFL would never allow it on TV anyway (due to their "activism" ad policy), it had no chance to air on TV during the game. But for three years running it's been featured online on Super Bowl Sunday, and more and more are seeing it.
It's still a powerful message. And if you have somehow missed it, you owe it to yourself to take a look.
As a child I knew nothing about real native American history other than what I saw on TV westerns -- that is until Kellogg's reprised its "Men Of The Wild West & Famous Indian Chiefs" cereal box series. On the back of every box was an artist's rendition of a notable native American chief and some history of their particular tribe -- and that's how I learned about men like Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and Chief Joseph. Because they weren't teaching us that history in school.
It made me want to learn more, and I sought it out. And gradually I began to understand how people might want to name a city, or a school or a library after a man or a tribe that helped determine how North America was settled. Native Americans are part of the fabric of our society and should be honored.
But history is most often written by the winners, and white Anglo-Saxons have chosen to "honor" our original inhabitants in the same fashion they honor animals and geographic features -- with sports nicknames. And the worst of all is the R-word, used through history in no other fashion than as racial slur.
And they're still hurting now -- many of our native people live in poverty and are struggling to find jobs. People deserve dignity, not silly caricatures on helmets.
So watch the ad above and think about it the next time you see Daniel Snyder defend the mascot in the name of profit, or Al Michaels gleefully spit out word in the name of keeping his job, or SportsCenter showing the helmet in the name of ratings.
The tide is turning, as 75 percent of high schools and colleges who have used the nickname have changed it, or are planning to. But the shameful fact is that our nation's capital still has a pro team that refuses to change it. And for that we are all culpable, because we're not putting on the pressure.
Look at the screenshot of the little girl in the ad, shown above, and think of yourself approaching her and calling her a "redskin." That's something you would never do, if you owned an ounce of humanity. So why do we tolerate it at all?
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