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Sports Teams and Crayon Names: What does it all mean?

This illustration is a photograph I took of my brother-in-law’s recent basketball game. While this is an excellent sports photograph; what I want to talk about with this illustration first, is an idea brought up in Roth’s article regarding the change of Crayola color names over time. It is so interesting on page 76 where he discusses the change in 1999 of “Indian” color to Chestnut. While I agree completely with his point that labeling colors, essentially based on what society views as the typical “color” of a particular ethnic group’s skin, is entirely mis-leading, especially to children. What I find interesting is that this photo depicts my brother-in-law playing for a high school team, the “Indians.” This is a common trend among high schools in the rural area that I live. My thoughts were, what would Roth say about this? Can this “label” that is still in place for high school sports teams today. In addition, what is this team name saying when, in fact, none of the students on the team are actually Native American. They are about 90% white. I would argue that a team name that is the “Indians” is almost if not equally offensive and potentially problematic.




I think that these types of pictures are very often photojournalism and a great example of the phenomena we read about. These images can have a very powerful impact at times, especially when coupled with “the body” aspect with injuries, fouls, etc.

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