Last weeks magical moment...
Last week, Paul Ehrlich, Ben’s dad, paid us a visit to share about a magical experience he had, a once in a lifetime invitation to meet the President of the United States. President Obama contacted Adidas, where Paul works, to help solve a problem that was brought to his attention by some Native American teenagers. These teenagers had asked the President how to help teachers and schools understand more deeply about racism and how using Native American Mascots can be offensive to native peoples.
President Obama holds a Tribal Nations Summit every year. This year, he invited representatives from Adidas to come and present their idea of how to help solve the mascot problem. Paul was one of those representatives. Adidas went to the White House and shared that they would like to help by offering any high school with a Native American mascot to work with Adidas to come up with a new mascot that represents their school community, all for free. Of 30,000 high schools in the US 2,000 have such mascots. So far, Adidas had only heard from 30 schools. They are hoping they will continue to hear from more.
Below is a link to the talk President Obama had with some of the tribal youth at the summit.
If you watch you may want to start at minute 10:53 and watch for about 5 to 10 minutes.
President Obama Talks with Tribal Youth
Our class watched a few sections of this talk. After it, we wrote and reflected on some of the questions that they asked the President as well as reflecting on using our power for good.
How can you make teachers and schools understand racism or that stereotype mascots are hurtful?
Why is it important to change things that seem small, like a stereotype mascot?
Why does our president think it is so important?
How were Adidas and Paul using their power for good?
Here are a few of the children's responses:
Here are some of the first draft projects the children have been working on to respond to stereotypes about Native Peoples.
Here are a few of the children's responses:
Catherine: I think it’s really important to change a mascot because if you want students to feel welcome they might be afraid of the people who support this mascot, especially if it’s this person’s first day of school. I also think that people should change thier mascot so everyone is happy. They should make sure that no one feels left out excluded or scared. Stereotype means to me that people spreading offensive and not true thoughts about someone from a different culture or family. Everyone deserves a good education that education should feel fun and exciting not scary and offensive. We can help that.
Charlotte: Maybe that person thinks that it is important and maybe they really don’t like the mascot? and I think that some things that seem small can feel big and you can care a lot more than people would think you do. and a lot of people probably do think that it is important and a lot of people think it is not important.
Victoria: Imagine, if you had different color skin, people made fun of you for who you are. A stereotype mascot would mean a lot to you.
Aaren: Why is it important to change a thing that seems small like a mascot? I think it is because if you play a sport your mascot might be really offensive to Native and African Americans, because some sports teams are making a stereotype about natives like it’s making fun of them also like being racist so Adidas is trying to help by offering to help schools change their mascots but go of the schools committed to it, because some schools are making assumptions about Natives.
Quinny: Why does our president think it is so important? Are president is part Hawaiian and part African American and if there are tribes in Africa and Hawaii he would tell stories to help his people and with the help of big companies it could work. But it hard to change NFL teams like Washington Redskins.
Native: I do not like that! (looking at a poster with a team mascot on it)
Boy: Why is it important to change our mascot?
Native: Because it is a stereotype!
Boy: But it is just a mascot!
Native: But it is hurtful!
Boy: Why is it hurtful?
Native: Because it is a stereotype to a tribe. Like when you make a stereotype that all girls like pink.
Boy: Oh I did not know that I should go tell my teacher.
10 Days later….
Adidas helped us to change our logo to a non stereotype and got new logoed shirts and other things.
Message: You should check if the thing is right before you make a stereotype. Contact Adidas today.
Soren: I think it is important to change a stereotype mascot to make your Native American students feel welcome because say, on the first day of school, a native american is thinking, Wow, it’s the first day of school. I’m scared. And Yeesh! Maybe they will not treat me like other students at the school
Jia: I think that a changing your mascot is a wonderful idea because they feel great about what they are doing now. Because the mascot can change how they can work together and agree what their mascot can be. Well I think how Paul is using his power for good is that he’s letting people…..(unfinished)
Ada: I think that the president cares about changing Native American mascots because it can be very offensive to the people that go to or work at that school. I think, the president cares about this problem because he and his nation are the people who make this country fair. You can help by donating money, awareness and more! My dad explained how sports can change lives in many different ways, especially through teamwork and helping each other.
Theo: Why is it important to change things that are small, like stereotype mascots? Because they can be very offensive and they can make people sad like native americans.
Uma: Because our president knows how it feels and doesn’t want kids to have to deal with segregation like how he did growing up. Because he didn’t like it and it is not a good thing he doesn’t want these kids walking into a school thinking it is not a good school and it is hurtful to Natives being bullied because of their culture. After much of these stereotypes are gone kids and adults feel better.
Peter: Maybe because he is an African American and he had experience with discrimination. He knows what segregation feels like, so he thinks what Adidas is doing is a well thought and he supports it.
Jonathan: It is important because the Native American people might feel bad that people are stereotyping them and very offensive like imagine how it feels to be a Native American. A person feels like we don’t all have red skin that just offensive and mean. I mean do you know how hurtful that is??
Lily: How can you make teachers and schools understand racism or that stereotype mascots are hurtful? Talk to a teacher or faculty and say “You are thinking about the past, not the present”. You are making a stereotype about our culture. The mascots usually have red skin and feathers in their hair and that we don’t look like this”. And then introduce them to what Adidas is doing and that they are not happy about their mascot.
Leoni: Well I think that is is very hurtful schema - if I was a native I know I would be hurt by the fact that 2,000 schools are 1. making the mascot red skinned 2. it can hurt to be making fun of or just because you are different. Evidence - I know - that it is unfair that they (2,000 schools) are making their mascots red skinned or making native looks weird or foolish. And with that, that is my point.
|James- This represents that not all Native Americans|
do what the stereotypes say.
|Soren- Not all Native Americans wear feathers except for special occasions.|
They probably wear necklaces and special things.
|Some of the children wrote letters to the President.|
|Some of the children are writing letters to schools in Oregon letting them know that Adidas can help.|
Ask Me Abouts:
-Ask your child what they are working on to respond to stereotypes.
-Ask them what ideas they have for our play.
-Ask them what questions they still need to research to get our facts right for our play.
-Ask them what adjective they had to add and act out with their name.
-Ask them what might happen if Mrs. Rheinghans, the children, and Emily Stone bring music and drama together in our play?