C. Richard King
C. Richard King

This event has been postponed owing to Hurricane Sandy.

Professor C. Richard King (critical culture, gender, and race studies) will join other commentators, authors, and representatives from sports organizations for a live broadcast from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on Thursday, November 1, from 7:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. PDT. The event will include a series of panel discussions on racist stereotypes and cultural appropriation in American sports. King will be part of a panel discussion that begins at 7:15 a.m. and will participate in the webcast throughout the day.

The discussions will explore the mythology and psychology of sports stereotypes and mascots and examine collegiate retirement of “Native American” sports references and some efforts to revive them despite the NCAA’s policy against “hostile and abusive” names and symbols, according to the museum website.

“My role will be to present reflections on the mascot controversy,” King said.

Some alumni from Ivy League and prominent schools like Dartmouth and Stanford are pursuing the revival of racist stereotypes in their sports programs, King said. Eastern Michigan University recently restored their “Huron” moniker to appeal to alumni while retaining the eagle, the mascot that had replaced it. The unique compromise and how it side-stepped NCAA policy is bound to generate lively debate.

“For me, Eastern Michigan University reminds us, on the one hand, how crucial school symbols are to individual and institutional identities and, on the other hand, how resilient stereotypes are long after analysis demonstrates how they misconstrue and hurt those they represent,” King said.

“More broadly, it may set a troubling precedent for other colleges and universities that long ago retired a mascot and thought they had put this divisive issue behind them.”

The panel will also include a “community conversation about the name and logo of the Washington, D.C., professional football organization,” according to the museum website.

“To date, there have been no actions by any professional league to modify, revise or ban the use of American Indian imagery,” King said.

The National Museum of the American Indian regularly hosts intellectual and cultural events and symposia that include a select group of scholars and advocates, King said, most of whom have long studied or endeavored to retire American Indian imagery in sports.

For more information, contact NMAI-SSP@si.edu.

Webcast: http://nmai.si.edu/multimedia/webcasts/

Click here for a schedule of topics and panel members.