Erasing and dehumanizing Natives to protect positive national identity: The Native mascot example

Juntao Doris Dai, Julisa J. Lopez, Laura M. Brady, Arianne E. Eason, Stephanie A. Fryberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

For individuals who view being American as central to their sense of self, the reality of Native oppression (e.g., genocide, police brutality) threatens their ability to maintain a positive national identity. We theorize that long-standing narratives in American culture erase and dehumanize Natives, enabling non-Natives to psychological distance and justify Native oppression as a means of protecting positive national identity. We illustrate this protective process using the example of Native mascots. We first demonstrate that Native mascots erase and dehumanize Natives and then illustrate how the use of Native mascots protects national identity. We conclude by calling for individual- and institutional-level changes to create a society free of harmful and toxic narratives and the practices that perpetuate these narratives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12632
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Volume15
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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