Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
alert top story

SKIPPER: The Shakespearean saga of the Mohawk name

  • 24

Silly me.

We are living in an era where many of us presume to know how other people feel about a particular situation – or how we think they should feel.

I’ve been thinking about this in regard to the Mason City School Board’s decision to drop the Mohawk name, mascot and imagery out of respect to the greater Mohawk Indian nation.

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, headquartered in Akwesasne, New York, recently wrote to School Superintendent Dave Versteeg requesting the name change, saying use of the Mohawk as a mascot was offensive and not in keeping with what an educational institution should be promoting.

Several questions come to mind.

Is the concern of the Mohawk Indian nation about a team nickname in Mason City, Iowa, in the words of a Shakespeare play, “much ado about nothing?”

John Skipper

Skipper

Was the School Board’s action an overreaction -- “much ado about nothing?”

Or is the emotional reaction of many Mohawk loyalists “much ado about nothing?”

One thing is for sure: The “cancel culture” arrived in Mason City with a thud Monday night.

The Mohawk loyalists will point out that no offense is intended by the use of the name and I’m sure that is true. But I’m a white guy who’s had a pretty good lot in life, as did my ancestors. I know little about the Mohawk culture and heritage and therefore should not presume to know how someone imbedded in that culture is supposed to feel.

Telling people of a different culture how they should feel, based on our white, uppercrust, safe-haven self-righteousness is at best inappropriate and at worst, racist.

I was struck by the words of School Board member Peterson St. Pierre, who happens to be Black, at last week’s board meeting. He said he understands what it is like to be misrepresented. He told those in attendance, “You don’t hold moral ground to say whether or not someone is being oversensitive or whatnot. But we do hold the moral ground to actually hear them and be understanding.”

So, where do we go from here? We will change the name because of the moral ground we have chosen to respect and because that’s what our elected officials have voted to do. And we’ll move on.

Is it a big deal? Today, yes, for many people. Ten years from now, I doubt it.

Incidentally, that Shakespere play, “Much Ado About Nothing,” was a comedy!

Silly me.

COLLECTION: The latest from John Skipper

Check out some of columnist John Skipper's most-read recent columns:

John Skipper retired from the Globe Gazette in February 2018 after 52 years in newspapers, most of that in Mason City covering North Iowa government and politics.

3
0
1
1
2

Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

What a seismic difference a trial has made to public and media perceptions of Kyle Rittenhouse. When he was charged at age 17 with shooting three men, two fatally, during racial unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, various media accounts described him as a rifle-toting white supremacist who drove across the border to shoot Black Lives Matters protesters in the racial unrest that followed ...

Kyle Rittenhouse is 18 years old. On Aug. 25, 2020, when Rittenhouse killed two men during a night of civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he was 17. But when he took the stand during his murder trial, he looked like he could be 13. Defendants in murder trials often do themselves no favors by testifying in their own defense, but Rittenhouse probably helped himself. He was soft-spoken and ...

What can sensible adults agree on regarding Kyle Rittenhouse, the latest young symbol on whom America can hang its devastating internal division and the newest tool for social media networks to monetize without regard to individual and societal hurt? Those who believe in the rule of law, which should be all of us, might start with the notion that a murder trial involving self-defense is no ...

Since 1984, the nationwide legal drinking age has been 21 for good reasons. Young people’s brains are still developing, which affects their judgment and cognitive abilities. That, along with raging hormones, boosts the chances of impulsive decision-making. It’s a dumb idea to add alcohol to an already unstable mix. It makes even less sense to add firearms to that unstable mix. Perhaps it’s ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News