Take the evening of June 15, 2015, for example, when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Moments after the news hit, I received a blizzard of messages from a group chat to which I belonged warning its members: “If you’re in the Chicago area stay indoors. The Blackhawks just won the Cup.”
But the fear wasn’t about the possibility of wildly besotted hockey hooligans setting cars ablaze, vomiting on sidewalks from high rise apartments, or ripping down traffic lights in some mad display of team devotion. No, this message was solely for any Native American in Chicago who, unaware of the results of the game, might find themselves in middle of a group of Blackhawk fans who want to keep the name and mascot and might launch into a rage when they see a real Native and assume she or he was the one who wanted a fight.
Such fear isn’t just wild speculation: I lived in Washington D.C. in 2017 and quickly learned that there are certain sports bars into which Native Americans cannot go during football season without sending at least one fan of the city’s racist-themed football team into a vicious rage, barking things like, “Keep the name!” and “I’m a quarter Cherokee and I don’t have a problem with it, you P.C. libtard!”