Research Mentor(s)

Glenn Tsunokai

Description

In November 2015, Western Washington University cancelled classes when a debate over changing the school’s mascot—an identifiably White Viking—resulted in hate speech and threats toward students of color. While some students held that the mascot could be offensive to non-White students who are unrepresented by the symbol of a White male, others felt the debate to be trivial. This event raises the question of how the university’s White mascot impacts its students. Scholars have recently begun to study views regarding Native American mascots, however there is an empirical gap concerning how mascots of other identifiable racial/ethnic groups are perceived. This research aims to bring awareness to how racialized mascots may impact students of different racial/ethnic groups by examining perceptions of the White mascot, Victor E. Viking. The present study examines the relationship between students’ racial identity and perceptions of an identifiably White university mascot. Additionally, campus involvement and views of Whites as an ethnic group are examined. I hypothesize that students of color will be more willing to change the university’s mascot, in addition to feeling less connected to the mascot. Logistic regression analysis revealed that White students exhibited greater odds of wanting to change the mascot in comparison to their non-White counterparts. However, students who are more involved in campus activities had greater odds of wanting to keep the university’s mascot. These results demonstrate the nuanced perceptions of White racialized mascots. Though Whites as a group are more open to changing the mascot, individual differences (such as campus involvement) also influence whether a student believes Western Washington University’s mascot should be changed.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

17-5-2018 12:00 PM

End Date

17-5-2018 3:00 PM

Location

Sociology

Keywords

Mascots, Race, Ethnicity

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 17th, 12:00 PM May 17th, 3:00 PM

Student perceptions of a White university mascot

Sociology

In November 2015, Western Washington University cancelled classes when a debate over changing the school’s mascot—an identifiably White Viking—resulted in hate speech and threats toward students of color. While some students held that the mascot could be offensive to non-White students who are unrepresented by the symbol of a White male, others felt the debate to be trivial. This event raises the question of how the university’s White mascot impacts its students. Scholars have recently begun to study views regarding Native American mascots, however there is an empirical gap concerning how mascots of other identifiable racial/ethnic groups are perceived. This research aims to bring awareness to how racialized mascots may impact students of different racial/ethnic groups by examining perceptions of the White mascot, Victor E. Viking. The present study examines the relationship between students’ racial identity and perceptions of an identifiably White university mascot. Additionally, campus involvement and views of Whites as an ethnic group are examined. I hypothesize that students of color will be more willing to change the university’s mascot, in addition to feeling less connected to the mascot. Logistic regression analysis revealed that White students exhibited greater odds of wanting to change the mascot in comparison to their non-White counterparts. However, students who are more involved in campus activities had greater odds of wanting to keep the university’s mascot. These results demonstrate the nuanced perceptions of White racialized mascots. Though Whites as a group are more open to changing the mascot, individual differences (such as campus involvement) also influence whether a student believes Western Washington University’s mascot should be changed.

 

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