Published November 8, 2015
Just prior to the White House Tribal Nations Conference on this past Thursday, Adidas announced it will take the lead of a brand new initiative that will provide financial assistance to high schools across America that are willing to replace American Indian mascots and imagery with something that is not racial in tone.
Adidas just did it!
With that gracious support from Adidas, I wonder what brand of athletic shoes American Indians will be sporting when their old ones wear out. Or what brand will be on their shopping lists for sports clothing now with the holidays just around the corner during the busiest shopping time of the year.
“Sports have the power to change lives,” Adidas executive board member Eric Liedtke stated in a statement from Adidas. “Sports give young people limitless potential. Young athletes have hope, they have desire and they have a will to win. Importantly, sports must be inclusive. Today we are harnessing the influence of sports in our culture to lead change for our communities.”
The announcement caught the quick attention of tribal leaders in Washington attending the White House Tribal Nations Conference and President Obama, who praised Adidas for taking the lead of the initiative.
“They’ve really come up with a smart, creative approach, which is to say, all right, if we can’t get states to pass laws to prohibit these mascots then how can we incentivize schools to think differently,” stated President Obama while participating in a question and answer session with Native youth at the tribal conference late Thursday afternoon.
Adidas’ action is the proper and correct thing for a major corporation to do because the American Indian mascot issue is not about some mere cutesy political correctness. It is about doing away with racist attitudes towards and against millions of American Indians, who still exist in real lives in this country. American Indians are not romantic figures from the past who should be brought out during sports events at the convenience of those who claim to want to honor us. We live and exist, many times in the most adverse circumstances that rival third-world living conditions.
Studies have concluded that Native youths who are exposed to American Indian stereotypes and mascots have a reduced self-esteem that negatively impacts their academic achievement because of how they are treated by the school classmate peers. These negative attitudes lead to Native youths having the highest high school dropout rates among all other Americans. These negative attitudes lead to Native youths having the highest suicides rates of any racial or ethnic group in the United States.
Educational, corporate and governmental decision makers should pay attention and take corrective action to correct these social ills.
Adidas just did it.
It is a rare thing when a large corporation is willing to study an issue that is a social ill, such as the use of Indian mascots in sports, and decides to just do it!
Ironically, that slogan does not even belong to Adidas.
I know which brand of sneakers is now on my shopping list.