Letter: School name affirms stereotypes

I want to express my gratitude to the Morris Herald-News for ending its use of the racial slur currently being used by Morris High School. The fact is that any use of Native people, Native imagery or culture; particularly by schools and organizations that are clearly predominantly non-Native is a misappropriation that affirms stereotypes and promotes discrimination.

But Morris High School’s nickname is the worst. Even the belligerent Washington NFL franchise ultimately yielded to the call for change. To see schools dig in on this only demonstrate that blurry line between white privilege and white fragility. Often times the only thing worse than a school mocking Native people through their use of Native mascots is their response when you tell them it’s wrong.

For many of us engaged in the work to eradicate this practice, we know actions like the one taken here in this newspaper have a significant impact. We know the question is not if this school and others will drop their race-based mascot but when. Native voices like mine have had trouble in the past to be heard on the issue but both social media and now some of the mainstream media have given us space.

I thank the editors and management of the Morris Herald-News for taking a stand, hearing our voices and allowing us to be heard. We need more people to do more than claim they are not racist but rather take the opportunity to fight racism. Your actions make you more than an ally for change. You are an accomplice for change.

Thank you.

John Kane–Mohawk

Cattaraugus Territory of the Seneca Nation

Perrysburg New York