Would you call an American Indian the r-word to his or her face?
WASHINGTON –The Change the Mascot campaign released a new study on November 20, 2014 that reveals that four in five Americans would be uncomfortable calling a Native American a “r*dskin.” The respondents also say they would not personally address a Native American using the term.
The Change the Mascot conducted the survey in partnership with goodness Mfg.
In the representative study conducted by business intelligence firm ORC International, Americans were polled about their opinion of “r*dskin” when referring to Native Americans. The survey also examined whether their responses were influenced by their age and if they identified themselves as a fan of the NFL.
Findings of the study are:
- There is a generational gap in terms of awareness and perception that the term “r*dskin” is an offensive name.
- Prior to being informed leading dictionaries describe “r*dskin” as offensive, 50 percent of Americans 18-34 found the term offensive compared to 34 percent of Americans 35 and older
- Nearly twice as milleninials (64 percent) compared to Americans 35 and older (35 percent) are aware the dictionary definition of “r*dskin” describes the term offensive.
- “Fan blindness” is a contributing factor to an NFL fan’s decision to favor the Washington team’s current mascot. Fans are clinging to the mascot because of blind loyalty even though they feel that “r*dskin” is an offensive term. This is evidenced by:
- 72 percent of NFL fans who want to keep the mascot would not use “r*dskin” when speaking with a Native American.
- Once Americans learn that leading dictionaries define “r*dskin” as offensive:
- 22 percent changed their mind and favored ending usage of the term in any context
- 13 percent changed their opinion to favor a new mascot for the Washington team
“Our study proves how important context is to behavior. On one hand, group mentality makes people think using the r-word is okay. But on the other hand, when a person comes face to face with a Native American, it’s not,” said D’nae Kingsley, Head of Integrated Strategy, goodness Mfg.
“This dichotomy can be explained by several factors including fan blindness and lack of awareness of the definition of the r-word.”
The study entitled “How Americans Feel About Using R*dskin to Describe Native Americans” is based on 1,020 interviews, conducted online from August 28-31, 2014 among a demographically representative U.S. sample.
The grassroots Change the Mascot campaign, led by the Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians, works to educate the public about the damaging use of the R-word on Native Americans. The group has reshaped the debate surrounding the Washington team’s name and brought the issue to the forefront of social consciousness over the past year. Since its launch, Change the Mascot’s civil and human rights movement has garnered support from a diverse coalition of prominent advocates including Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, Native American tribes, sports icons, top journalists and news publications, civil rights organizations and religious leaders.