This past week, a photo snapped at an Alabama high school football game last Friday (15 November 2013) went viral on social media. It was the subject of countless blogs and mainstream media picked the story up within hours of the break through banner photo hitting the Internet. McAdory High School found itself at the center of a controversy, and the team they taunted at Pinson Valley High School found itself revictimized.
As offensive as that banner was, what’s even more unfortunate is the fact that another high school — Dyersburg High School in Tennessee — ran with the same idea that same night (15 November 2013) when their football team squared off against their rivals at Northside High School. It’s not that their banner wasn’t out there on the Internet. It was. In fact, it was right there on their Facebook page and marked PUBLIC so they could share their behavior with everyone on the wide world web.
Two high schools with the same idea: shame the other school’s team at all costs.
Now while people are busy taking McAdory High School and its school administrators and teachers to task for the break through banner, no one seems too terribly interested in taking Dyersburg High School and its school administrators and teachers to task for the banner. But worse yet, no one has taken either Pinson Valley High School or Northside High School and their respective school administrators and teachers to task for their role in all this.
Pinson Valley High School and Northside High School? Their respective school administrators and teachers? Why would anyone take them to task for what happened to them? Weren’t they the VICTIMS of these heinous acts?
If teams (both amateur and professional) didn’t insist on misappropriating First Nations cultures and steadfastly refusing to change those team names, the opportunity to insult, degrade, humiliate and otherwise demoralize First Nations peoples would be considerably lessened.
The fact of the matter is that McAdory High School and Pinson Valley High School were both responsible for the awful incident that took place last Friday night in Alabama just as Dyersburg High School and Northside High School were both responsible for the awful incident that took place last Friday in Tennessee.
November is Native American Heritage Month. Isn’t it about time that everyone got the message and realized that attacking people through other people’s cultures is absolutely unacceptable no matter how you slice and dice the situation? Yes, I thought so.