Robin Lopez wore a Stanford Indian shirt, and 15,000 people saw

In mascots, random appropriation, robin lopez, stanford indian by Adrienne K.3 Comments

 
(image via “Official Twitter feed for Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley” link here)
This is Phoenix Suns player and Stanford alum Robin Lopez…wearing a Stanford Indians shirt.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Stanford mascot history, in 1972, as a direct result of Stanford Native student activism, the university finally banned the use of that stereotypical image you see above. For the complete mascot timeline, see this article (by Denni Woodward, who all Stanford Natives know and love). Woodward paraphrases the anti- mascot petition put forth by the students, in which they stated:
 The mascot in all its manifestations was, the Indian group maintained, stereotypical, offensive, and a mockery of Indian cultures.  The group suggested that the “University would be renouncing a grotesque ignorance that it has previously condoned” by removing the Indian as Stanford’s symbol, and by “retracting its misuse of the Indian symbol” 

Every few years or so the mascot issue re-emerges on campus, and every time the administration re-affirms the commitment they made in 1972 that:

“any and all Stanford University use of the Indian Symbol should be immediately disavowed and permanently stopped.”

To further complicate the story, Robin and his twin brother Brooke are Native, or at least they were on the list of incoming Native frosh back in 2006. I saw you at that frybread social Robin!
Who knows, Robin could be trying to make a point, or something, but I have a feeling that wasn’t the case. I know he’s a good guy, we have lots of mutual friends, but I still don’t like it.

It makes me upset to see any Stanford alum wearing an the mascot–and I saw plenty of them every year at Big Game and homecoming–but I feel worse knowing that Robin is a public figure, and so many people are going to see that picture on Twitter. Jared Dudley has 15,784 followers. I’d feel redeemed if Robin would let Jared post a picture of him wearing one of these shirts, or something similar:

(image via http://demockratees.com/)
So Robin, I submit this challenge to you. One Stanford Native alum to another. Heck, I’ll even buy you the shirt–Demockratees is an amazing Native-owned company, and I may or may not own this shirt myself. 

Stanford Mascot History: http://nacc.stanford.edu/mascot.html
Retire Indian Mascots shirt: http://www.demockratees.com/retireindianmascots.html

(Thanks to Eric for the link! (though he probably won’t be happy I posted this))
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02320073281619089715 Kayla

    ROBIN!? Aw, you should know better!

    I wonder where he got the t-shirt… I am wondering if he sought it out, or if someone, an alum with an agenda maybe, sent it to him… in which case I am little less perturbed, another case of someone seriously not thinking about it… If he sought it out though and bought it himself somewhere, that to me is double ‘argh’…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15060077199338762375 Lanova

    Robin Lopez probably didn’t think about how other natives would feel by wearing this t-shirt. He may have thought it was okay, being that he’s native and a Stanford alum. I’m assuming he didn’t see tees like that while he was there. I’m just giving him the benefit of the doubt since I’m a fan of him and his team. I actually didn’t know he was Native prior to reading your blog. I would’ve been offended if he wasn’t Native. Double-standard? I also believe the Natives who didn’t grow up traditionally or around other Natives, have a harder time understanding offensive racial or social issues related to Natives.

  • Burl Toler

    Robin Lopez can wear whatever he wants, that’s freedom.

    I’m gonna get one of those T-shirts!