Regarding Athletic Team Names, Mascots, and Logos

by Jared Feldman

Jews for millennia have been subjected to racial and religious discrimination and know well the painful impact of spoken, written and pictorial epithets, caricatures, and stereotypes. One of the lessons of our history is that words do, indeed cause harm and that name-calling can lead directly or indirectly to acts of violence. Moreover, stereotyping affects not only how those discriminated against are treated by others, but also how they come to view themselves.

Hurtful and damaging racial stereotypes, epithets and rhetoric continue to plague the Native American community. Our own history requires us to pay particular attention to their concerns, including their battle to end the use of degrading images of Native people, their symbols, and cultural and religious traditions in the names and nicknames of sports teams, in logos, and mascots. These practices trivialize and demean American Indians, their religious beliefs and symbols, promote insulting and harmful racial and ethnic stereotypes, and perpetuate cultural bias and prejudice.

We call for an end to these practices. We call upon all professional sports teams, and public and private schools and universities currently using such names and images to reject them. The JCPA supports and joins with Native American people and their organizations in efforts to require professional and scholastic athletic teams to change their team names or mascots to names and identities which are not offensive to and do not represent stereotypes of any racial, religious, ethnic or other group.


About the Author


Jared Feldman