Fightin' Whities Mascot Draws Attention to Racist Caricature

March 17, 2002

Source: The Denver Post

On March 17, 2002, The Denver Post featured an article on the Fightin' Whities, the new satirical mascot of an intramural basketball team at the Univeristy of Northen Colorado. The mascot was designed to aid the protest against a local high school mascot. "Dan Ninham, a member of the Oneida Nation... formed a multiethnic committee to oppose the Fightin' Reds mascot at Eaton High School - a caricature of a defiant Indian with a misshapen nose, eagle feather and loincloth. Ninham has called it 'one of the most blatantly racist mascots in the country,' but school officials... have refused to meet with the committee to discuss concerns... The basketball team, made up of American Indians, Hispanics and Anglos, took the name Fightin' Whities as a jab at the nearby high school... Mascot protesters estimate that 3,000 high schools, colleges and professional sports teams use Native American nicknames and caricatures - including the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, with their grinning Chief Wahoo mascot... About 600 schools and teams nationwide have changed names and dropped Indian imagery, and the list is growing."