LaBouff interviewed for BDN piece about Native American sports mascots
Jordan LaBouff, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Bangor Daily News article about Native American-themed sports mascots. LaBouff has studied the impact of such mascots with recent UMaine graduate Andrew Tomer, a member of Penobscot Nation. “I think this is really a challenging issue because I 100 percent understand and appreciate the importance of community identity, and that gets tied up with school district mascots,” said LaBouff. “Just because we can use speech that is harmful for others, just because speech is protected, doesn’t mean it’s valuable.” Tomer said the mascots are fundamentally racist because they present a group in a way that’s beneath a majority group and only in one particular way. ”We’re reduced down to these stereotypes of being vicious and bloodthirsty or aggressive. [The headdress represents] peace, and it’s meant to be worn by a leader, and it’s not something that is worn every day with regular clothing; it’s a very special item,” he said in the article.