One stereotype leads to the next

Times of Trenton Letters to the Editor on June 24, 2014 at 5:29 AM

“Redskins.” “Indians.” These appellations are offensive to both Native Americans and to those in youth education intent on reversing the harm that stereotypes cause. Three cheers for the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Patent Office strips Redskins of trademark,” June 19)! Native American mascot names should be abolished for ALL sports teams (schools, universities and professional sports). Why? Research led by psychology professor Chu Kim-Prieto of The College of New Jersey showed that exposure to Native American team mascots increases a person’s negative stereotyping of other races. When society condones stereotypes, youth and adults think it is OK to use other stereotypes — which ultimately leads to more bias and discrimination. Inspired by this research, the Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum created an evidence-based exhibit where youth and educators discuss the use of negative stereotypes. The exercise leads to attitude improvements in both empathy and stereotype knowledge for visiting elementary and middle school youth. Native Americans are represented as successful professionals—lawyers, doctors, etc.—not as persons with “red skin.”